The UK’s newest touring car championship, the TCR UK Series, heads north this weekend to Knockhill in Scotland. Fans of the British Touring Car championship will no doubt be familiar with the fantastic Scottish track, however it’ll appear in a different guise to what most people are used to this time out. Rather unusually, the racers will have to tackle the circuit’s reverse layout; something which very few (if any) of them would’ve done before.
After doubt, Lloyd returns:
Having won both races during the season-opening event at Silverstone, Daniel Lloyd will enter the weekend as the championship leader, twenty-five points ahead of the impressive Ollie Taylor. There was speculation as to whether Lloyd would even make it to Knockhill at all though due to a lack of sponsorship, but luckily, WestCoast Racing have pulled together and found a way to field three cars once again this weekend. Fresh from their debuts in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC), Andreas & Jessica Backman will look to build on what has been a relatively promising start to their touring car careers. It remains unclear how long the Swedish siblings will continue to compete in TCR UK alongside Lloyd, but with Andreas currently third in the championship standings after Silverstone, they could certainly add to the entertainment of a championship battle.
WestCoast Racing Team Manager, James Nixon, clarified some more details about their presence at Knockhill, “Whilst the team’s focus is on TCR Scandinavia this year, we all agreed that we couldn’t just walk away from TCR UK after the first round. Both Andreas and Jessica are keen to repeat the kind of results they had at Silverstone and the extra seat time is a massive bonus for both of them. Dan is still looking for sponsorship to enable him to compete in further rounds, but we felt we really had to be in Knockhill to defend our lead in both championships”
There are plenty of Scottish drivers amongst the TCR UK Series field, all of whom will want to impress in front of their home crowd. Of the bunch, current BTCC star Aiden Moffat is arguably the most fancied to challenge Lloyd for victory. Had it not been for a retirement in the second race, Moffat would’ve walked away from Silverstone with two podium finishes. It was a race meeting tinged with a slight feeling of ‘what could’ve been’ for the Laser Tools Racing Alfa Romeo sqaud, as Moffat’s team-mate Derek Palmer jr was also plagued by mechanical woes despite showing some strong pace at times. That said, as we are still only in the early stages of the season, both drivers remain strong contenders for the championship honours, so will be looking to maximise their results on home soil.
The other Scotsman on the grid is Finlay Crocker. The 47 year-old showed glimpses of good pace at Silverstone, and proved that he’s not afraid to overtake either. Whether or not he can improve in qualifying may hold the answer to how competitive Crocker will be this weekend though.
Two new drivers will make their debut in TCR UK this weekend. Experienced GT racer, Sean Walkinshaw, has stepped into the driving seat of the SWR Honda Civic. The reason being is that the team’s regular driver, Howard Fuller, is unable to race at Knockhill. Typically driving a much more powerful BMW M6 GT3 in the Japanese Super GT series, Walkinshaw may have to adjust his driving style somewhat to get the most out of the less powerful, front-wheel drive touring car. He’s a class act however, and it shouldn’t take him long to get to grips with the car – expect to see Walkinshaw towards the front at some stage this weekend. Howard Fuller is expected to return to the team for the next round at Brands Hatch.
The second arrival into the series is Josh Price. Currently in his second year of competing in the British Touring Car Championship, Price will make his TCR UK debut at Knockhill with Team BMR Autoglym Academy; also in a Honda Civic FK2 TCR. The 19 year-old tested the car over winter, but did not compete at Silverstone. It’s unknown whether he’ll be a permanent fixture in the remaining TCR UK events this year, but for now at least, Josh Price is another injection of quality into the field.
Unfortunately, three drivers who appeared at Silverstone have not returned for the Knockhill event. Olli Kangas‘ departure comes as no surprise; his presence at Silverstone was only ever a warm-up session for his campaign in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship this year.
The other two missing drivers are Stewart Lines and Carl Swift. Having competed with DSG gearboxes last time out, both decided afterwards to upgrade to a sequential system instead. Sadly, neither have been able to make the change in time for Knockhill, so will have to wait until round three at Brands Hatch to go racing once again.
Saturday 12th May:
- Free Practice – 09:55
- Qualifying – 14:55
Sunday 13th May:
- Race One – 10:05
- Race Two – 14:05
Both races will be live-streamed from the TCR UK YouTube channel, free of charge. We will also have reports of qualifying and both races right here at TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk. so you won’t miss any of the action.