The new for­mula that’s shak­ing up the world of in­ter­na­tional tour­ing cars

Motor Sport News - - Profile: Josh Files -

Just what is TCR? The brain­child of ex-world Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship boss Mar­cello Lotti, TCR was born as a con­cept in 2014 af­ter Lotti’s de­par­ture from the WTCC and was ini­tially launched as TC3 – a tour­ing car for­mula “in­spired” by the prin­ci­ple of af­ford­abil­ity pro­moted by GT3 reg­u­la­tions that were first in­tro­duced some nine years ear­lier.

Come the World Mo­tor Sport Coun­cil meet­ing of December 2014, TC3 had ap­proval to run as an in­ter­na­tional series from 2015, though the ‘3’ be­came an ‘R’ to, in the words of Lotti, “cre­ate a strong and per­sonal iden­tity for the new series” – while also avoid­ing any sug­ges­tion of in­fe­ri­or­ity to ex­ist­ing tour­ing car cham­pi­onships.

Boy, has it boomed since. Af­ter a suc­cess­ful first In­ter­na­tional cam­paign, the for­mula has ex­panded into re­gional mar­kets, to the ex­tent where there are five na­tional series, a fur­ther six or­gan­i­sa­tions us­ing the reg­u­la­tions as a class and plenty more planned on the hori­zon. The speed isn’t too far off ex­ist­ing na­tional cham­pi­onships, ei­ther.

The real ace up its sleeve, though, is cost. With reg­u­la­tions cen­tred around hatch­backs, it makes TCRspec cars easy for man­u­fac­tur­ers to mass-pro­duce, and drives in na­tional series cost­ing no more than £200,000. Plus, with more man­u­fac­tur­ers get­ting in­volved – Kia be­ing the latest – op­por­tu­ni­ties to se­cure fac­tory drives are read­ily avail­able.

In terms of star driv­ers, TCR falls short of its tin top com­peti­tors – though it has names like in­au­gu­ral cham­pion Ste­fano Co­mini, for­mer F1 driver Gianni Mor­bidelli, plus es­tab­lished tour­ing car rac­ers Du­san Borkovic and Pepe Ori­ola. It also has BTCC and WTCC In­de­pen­dents’ cham­pion James Nash, who heads to Ma­cau with the chance to clinch the In­ter­na­tional crown, so there’s enough tal­ent bol­ster­ing the ranks.

Nash can claim In­ter­na­tional ti­tle

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