Having been unable to secure a drive in the World Touring Car Cup this season, Stefano Comini has revealed plans to enter the TCR Europe Series on a full-time basis. The double TCR International champion will join up with a brand new team, Race Republic, for the 2018 season. To add to the excitement of their programme, the team has decided to compete with a Subaru WRX STi TCR.
The iconic car has yet to really flourish in its TCR guise, largely due to a limited amount of testing after having been developed independently. That said, Top Run Motorsport (who first built the Subaru to TCR specifications) have put in the hard work to create a platform with plenty of potential. Now, with the car being run for a full season for the first time in its history, we should perhaps expect it to finally make the steps forward in its development that it needs.
In order to make the competition fair, the TCR governing body has attempted to equalise the pace of the Subaru with the other cars through their Balance of Performance scheme. As part of the Subaru’s homologation, it will run a ballast of -20 kilograms in order to offset its lack of development compared to other, mass-produced TCR cars.
Despite its relative infancy as a TCR racing package, Comini is no stranger to the Japanese icon. On two occasions last year, Comini competed in the Subaru for Top Run Motorsport in the TCR Italian Touring Car Championship. His outings included an overtaking masterclass at Imola, and a podium finish at the championship finale at Monza. Clearly, the potential of the car and driver combination is there for all to see.
Comini’s transition to the newly-formed Race Republic team signals his fourth different team and car combination in four consecutive years. After a particularly tough winter, the Swiss maverick is keen to avoid moving again any time soon, and hopes to form a strong partnership with his new colleagues.
Referring to his struggles in pre-season, Comini commented, “It was the longest winter of my racing career. We have worked a lot and have met with a series of issues that delayed the plan until last week. I am very grateful to Race Republic as they were finally able to put this programme together”