With the recent appointment of David Sonenscher as Chief Operating Officer for the TCR UK Series, there is a lot of expectation ahead of the 2019 season as the championship looks to stabilise its product in the UK.
With the experience of turning the TCR Asia Series into one of the biggest regional series in the TCR family, The Checkered Flag spoke to Sonenscher at the 2019 Autosport International Show.
The TCR UK Series completed its first season with a maximum of fourteen cars entered at one event during last year. With other series such as Germany and Italy witnessing entries of over 20 cars in recent seasons, how do you see entry growth taking place with the UK this year?
“To be honest, it’s early for me to try and answer this question. What I would like to see are around fifteen full-time entries with additional entries appearing on a round by round basis during the season,” explained David Sonenscher.
“If we can achieve that then I see that as a success story for this season. However, this year is about getting stability to the series and to improve the show for the drivers, teams and fans to enjoy further.”
With TCR UK coming into its second season this year, what changes do you have in store to try and improve the show?
“This year we’re offering a revised calendar that gives competitors the chance to race at some of the best circuits in the UK as well as a chance to race at Spa-Francorchamps. This also offers them an opportunity to see how they rate against the TCR Europe competitors in the same conditions at Spa-Francorchamps,” said Sonenscher.
“I wanted to bring something to the existing teams and drivers who can be a part of a series that gives confidence to them after the first year to return and have another go. I’m also offering something cost-effective and new to competitors who want to join the series and be a part of this new championship.”
“I’ve spoken with several TV companies about how we can spread the TV product further this year as well as using Social Media more to promote the series further. We’re also engaging with the manufacturers as well to get them more involved.”
With the TCR Regulations announced in mid-2014 and the first ever edition of the TCR International Series getting underway in 2015, this is the fifth year of the TCR concept in action. What are your thoughts on its progress so far?
“Its expanded much faster than we ever expected! Marcello Lotti and I talked about this concept back in Macau in 2014 and we expected it to grow but not as fast as it has,” explained Sonenscher.
“The number of cars that have been sold worldwide and that are in competition today, it’s beyond our expectations and it’s a true testament to the concept that it works.”
With both the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) and the TCR Europe Series being seen as the highest tiers of the TCR Ladder, are there countries that you feel would benefit from having a national TCR competition?
“I believe that there are quite a few countries that could benefit from the TCR concept and the beauty of this is that the concept can be applied anywhere. I know that there are further opportunities in Asia and Europe,” said Sonenscher.
“The first aim was to establish TCR as a platform and that’s been accomplished really well. Now we’re looking at being more selective about where we start new championships and that these new series add quality and longevity to the TCR network.”
The Checkered Flag sends its thanks to David Sonenscher for taking the time to speak with us at the NEC.