Back in July 2014 there was talk of a new Touring Car series to be launched in 2015 by former FIA World Touring Car Championship boss Marciello Lotti called The TCR International Series.
Since the announcement of the series’ website launch in September 2014, there are confirmed Regulations, Sporting Regulations and Calendar. To add to the International series, there will be a TCR Asia series and at least 10 domestic series run to the TCR regulations around the world. This is the sixth weekend of action taking place with the series having visited Malaysia, China, Valencia, Portimao and Monza so far in 2015.
TCR is based on the idea of the GT3 catergory used in sportscar racing where a set of regulations is in place to allow different types of cars to compete on a level playing field, using a system that balances out any advantages that different cars have using success ballast. The regulations are also designed to allow the championship to be an entry level series with the aim being that TCR can be the next step up on the ladder from domestic Touring Car Championships to then move on to either the FIA European Touring Car Cup or the FIA World Touring Car Championship, hence its appeal.
WSC list for 4/5 door saloons:
Body shell: Reinforced production shell with wheel arch modifications allowed to accommodate tyres.
Minimum length: 4200 mm.
Maximum width:1950 mm.
Engine: Turbocharged petrol or diesel engine up to 2.0 litres. Only one engine is allowed for an entire season and use of more than one engine will result in grid penalties.
Torque: Circa 410 Nm.
Power: Circa 320 bhp.
Traction: Two-wheel drive only. Front Wheel Drive and Rear Wheel Drive are eligible.
Gearbox: Production or TCR International Series sequential, production paddle shift also accepted.
Front suspension: Production lay-out, parts free design.
Rear suspension: Original design of production car with reinforced components.
Front Brakes: Maximum of six-piston calipers with a maximum diameter of 380 mm.
Rear Brakes: Maximum of two-piston calipers.
Front splitter: 2014 SEAT Leon Eurocup. Rear wing: FIA Appendix J Article 263 2014.
Ground clearance: Minimum 80 mm.
Power-to-weight ratio: Subject to the WSC Balance of Performance.
Eligible cars for the TCR series:
Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG
SEAT León Cup Racer
Volkswagen Golf R GTi
Ford Focus ST
Honda Civic Type-R
Opel Astra OPC
Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
Nissan Pulsar GTI-R
Renault Mégane R
Audi S3 and others
Regular Touring Car fans will be familiar with Audi, Honda and Ford models already used in NGTC guise in the BTCC whilst the UK-based Volkswagen cup already sees capacity grids that include the VW Golf. So the series is designed to attract cars that can be easily modified to the regulations and allow people to go racing on an international level.
The TCR International series has also confirmed its Sporting Regulations:
The series will feature a qualifying format split into two parts. Q1 will be 20 minutes (or 30 on street circuits) open to all competitors, whilst Q2 will be 10 minutes (or 15 on street circuits) where the top twelve from Q1 are allowed to compete.
The grid for race one is based on the combined Q1 and Q2 results, whilst the grid for race two is to be determined based on the reverse order of the top ten in Q2.
Each event will consist of two races of 60 km in length, both of which will feature a standing start.
Success ballast will be apportioned to the top three drivers from the previous meeting in the order of 30kg, 20kg and 10kg respectively.
The Points System:
Championship points will be awarded to the top ten drivers in each race in the following format:
1st: 25 points
3rd: 15 points
4th: 12 points
5th: 10 points
6th: 8 points
7th: 6 points
8th: 4 points
9th: 2 points
10th: 1 point
Points will also be given to the top five drivers after qualifying:
Pole Position: 5 points
2nd Position: 4 points
3rd Position: 3 points
4th Position: 2 points
5th Position: 1 point
Now seasoned fans of the WTCC will recognise the FIA points system, the Qualifying points system, Qualifying format and race length from last year’s format. Now all this has led to several well known and topline touring car teams competing in the 2015 series such as Team Target Competition, Craft-Bamboo Racing, WestCoast Racing, Liqui-Moly Engstler Motorsport, Zengo Motorsport, Proteam Motorsport with some of these teams running up to three cars.
All this confirms that teams who are serious about their tintop racing see TCR as an alternative option to the current TC1 WTCC regulations, adding in the entry level, cheap build regulations on offer to allow drivers and teams to make a start on the Touring Car ladder and progress up into other championships.
2015 TCR International Calendar
29 March: Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
19 April: Shanghai International Circuit, China
3 May: Valencia Ricardo Tormo, Spain
10 May: Portimao, Portugal
24 May: Monza, Italy
31 May: Salzburgring, Austria
21 June: Sochi, Russia
26 July: Buenos Aires, Argentina
20 September: Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore
25 October: Buriram, Thailand
TBA November – TBA
The TBA date in November is to be at Macau, which has confirmed it will hold two Touring Car races on 22 November open to TCR Regulation cars. Five of the venues are active Grand Prix tracks with three events of those taking place on actual Grand Prix weekends, giving the series good exposure alongside GP2, GP3 and the Porsche Supercup support package. However the racing so far this season speaks for itself.