Aiming to mirror the rest of the world’s major TCR championships, the TCR UK Series will adjust its qualifying and race formats for the 2019 season.
Starting with qualifying, the championship will ditch its single 30-minute sessions from 2018 in favour of a two-part knockout format this year. Similar to what we’ve seen in many other series, the TCR UK competitors will now have to progress from Q1 (which shall last 20 minutes) into Q2 (which is scheduled to last for only 10 minutes) in order to battle for pole position.
The combined result from both qualifying sessions will form the starting grid for the first race of the weekend. However, Race 2’s grid will be formed by reversing the order of the top ten qualifiers. This simplifies the system which was used last year, as the 2018 reversed grids were decided by reversing each driver’s second-fastest lap times. The new way of doing things can undoubtedly be seen as an improvement as it will surely be far easier to follow.
We also saw many front-running drivers exploit the previous system by only setting one flying lap, and therefore grabbing the front-row grid slots for both races. With this rule change, that is no longer possible.
In addition, there will also be adjustments made to the championship’s race lengths too. Previously, each race lasted half an hour, but that length has been reduced to 23 minutes + 1 lap for 2019, equal to what you will see in the TCR Europe Series. The suggestion is that shorter races will entice drivers to be more attack-minded instead of having to conserve the car. Time will tell if this proves to be the case.
Newly-appointed C.O.O of TCR UK, David Sonenscher, said: “The changes we’re announcing today will mean TCR UK will run to the same format as other TCR championships and series. Reducing the race durations should ensure closer and more exciting racing for the drivers and fans to enjoy while the changes to Qualifying are aimed at simplifying the system. We’ll be making further announcements in the coming days about other changes to the championship in readiness for the 2019 season.”