MEDIA RELEASE/TCR Australia - Photos: Velocity Magazine THE SUPERCHEAP Auto TCR Australia Series has confirmed…
Yesterday saw the launch of the brand new (to Australia) TCR Racing category at Sydney Motorsport Park, our own John Morris was invited along to take a look and shoot some images of the brand new cars. Here is his report.
TCR, or the Touring Car Racing Championship was launched at Sydney Motorsport Park on Monday 19th November 2018. Mark that day in your diary, because there are those who sense that perhaps a shift may be coming.
Matt Braid, Director of the Australian Racing Group or ARG, is the man charged with bringing the category to Australian shores in 2019. The seven round championship was announced two weeks earlier, though Braid provided more insight into the category and their expectations for the 2019 season.
While Braid was quick to assert that TCR was not seen as a competitor to Australia’s much loved Virgin Australia Supercars, the facts put forwards by Braid provided some compelling statistics on the phenomenon that is TCR
“There are currently seventeen countries running TCR Championships, though that number increases on an almost daily basis. TCR is the only category of its type to run in national, regional and world guises, with the World Touring Car Championship now moving towards the TCR homologations. There are at least ten different models from a variety of manufacturers already homologated to race in TCR and that number is also growing with Fiat, Mazda, Toyota and Ford amongst those who are either completing evaluations or in the process of a new model homologation.”
Braid admitted that the future for TCR certainly looked rosy on paper, though he was not willing to make any rash predictions about the categories future in Australia. He did, however, point out that the seven round championship would be run with three sprint races over the course of the weekend. Braid stated that there had been thoughts of running with the Supercars, though decided for a more subdued debut season on the Shannons program in 2019. Indeed the presence of a number of Supercars representatives, drivers and team owners suggested that there was already a healthy relationship between the two.
There were four cars present for the launch and drive day, with the likes of Chaz Mostert, James Moffat and Andre Heimgartner suited up for a drive alongside Nathan Morcom, Charlotte Poynting. Tony d’Alberto, Garth Walden, Ash Samardi, Jayden Ojeda and Shane Smollen, to name just a few. Brad Jones was also on hand to see Macauley get behind the wheel of the MPC Audi in a moment that brought back memories of Brad’s Super Tourer Championship.
Matt Braid set an expectation of a twenty car grid for 2019, with a preference for no more than five cars entered from each of the marques with a homologated car. He is confident that the championship will grow to the point of capacity grids at most circuits across the country. Braid and the management of ARG have already met with representatives from the Australian importers of those marques not yet represented in Australia, but stated that it was not all plain sailing.
“All of these people have been made aware of the presence of TCR word wide,” Braid stated, “Which means that they are positive with regards to TCR,” he added. “However, as they have not been closely associated with Australian motorsport, they are largely unaware of the advertising and promotional benefits that the category has to offer. Then there are those who want to take a little time to see how the first year pans out before they make a commitment.”
TCR makes its debut in May 2019 at Sydney Motorsport Park, with fellow ARG category, S5000 also set to debut on the same weekend.
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