“What’s the sta­tus of TCR UK?”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - JACK BENYON

TCR UK. There wasn’t half an up­roar about the in­tro­duc­tion of the cham­pi­onship and what it could mean for the land­scape of UK mo­tor­sport and its fu­ture.

Things started off well; a num­ber of ma­jor UK teams, pre­dictably many from the Bri­tish Touring Car Cham­pi­onship, looked at or bought cars. It looked like it was a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for them to earn a bit of ex­tra cash to pump back into touring car pro­grammes and to di­ver­sify. A win-win.

It also looked like a good place for grad­u­ates from the TOCA sup­port series like the Re­nault UK Clio Cup and Ginetta Ju­nior. To get a bit of tin-top prac­tice in be­fore mak­ing the step up to the ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive BTCC, where many can be over­pow­ered by the level of com­pe­ti­tion and don’t get the chance to hang around as long as they po­ten­tially de­serve.

How­ever, post-christ­mas the mo­men­tum has taken a bit of a knock. While Novem­ber chat­ter was about how many grids it would have to run to ac­com­mo­date cars, the cur­rent gos­sip is cen­tred on if the cham­pi­onship will reach dou­ble fig­ures. Or even run at all.

Read to the left and you’ll see the or­gan­is­ers have con­firmed with­out he­si­ta­tion that it’s business as usual and the cham­pi­onship will run. Yoko­hama and Oh­lins are on­board and fur­ther de­tails – al­though there could be even more ex­cit­ing news in this depart­ment in the fu­ture – on TV deals have been forth­com­ing in re­cent weeks. The cham­pi­onship bosses are work­ing hard to make sure the series is at­tract­ing the right teams.

There’s a lot more work to do. But on the whole TCR UK, speak­ing from a per­sonal point of view and still with­out bias, can surely only be a good thing. It’s a step on the lad­der that fits in be­tween cham­pi­onships at a rea­son­able bud­get.

The op­tion re­mains to rent or com­pete in the car abroad. The lat­ter needs some work as there’s not cur­rently a sub­sidy for driv­ers who have paid an en­try in the UK and then have to pay again in Ger­many, or Asia for ex­am­ple. If you want to en­cour­age com­peti­tors to com­pete in var­i­ous cham­pi­onships, that will need look­ing at.

And speak­ing of the en­try fee, it’s not out­ra­geous, al­though £15,000 looks it on the out­side. It’s around £1000 less that Clios, al­though that does have ITV cov­er­age.

There’s def­i­nitely a gap for TCR UK, it ap­pears a few peo­ple have for­got­ten so. That’s their pre­rog­a­tive. It is sad though that some feel the need to stir up ru­mours and at­tempt to taint the rep­u­ta­tion of the cham­pi­onship.

There’s still work to be done, but all is not lost. There’s cars on order ac­cord­ing to the or­gan­iser, and there’s nowhere like the UK for peo­ple to leave en­ter­ing cham­pi­onships late.

The proof is well and truly in the pud­ding, but in­stead of spec­u­la­tion with­out foun­da­tions, maybe it’s time to let the cham­pi­onship set­tle.

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