During 2019, The Checkered Flag will be rounding up the news and results from the various TCR Series around the world on a weekly basis. This weeks review includes The TCR UK Touring Car Championship, The TCR Scandinavia Championship, The TCR Europe Touring Car Series and the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).
Here’s a look at all of the action and announcements from the last seven days.
Lloyd confirmed as TCR Balance of Performance Test Driver
With the annual TCR Balance of Performance session set to get underway on February 18th, reigning TCR UK champion Dan Lloyd has been unveiled as the official test driver for all cars involved.
Lloyd will return to the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia for a second time, after impressing TCR technical staff in the same role last year. In particular, his dedication, professionalism and communication skills have been praised in the wake of this announcement.
He’ll first be tasked with setting a benchmark level of performance in an unnamed already-homologated TCR car from past seasons. Then, his main job will be to extract the most out of five new cars which await official TCR homologation which include the Lynk & Co 03, Hyundai Veloster N and new evolutions of the Renault Megane, Lada Vesta and Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Lewis Kent returns for second TCR UK campaign
Following a year of learning curves and promising performances, 19-year-old Lewis Kent will get back behind the wheel of his Hyundai i30N TCR for a second season in the TCR UK Touring Car Championship.
In 2019, the young driver will again be backed by the Essex & Kent Motorsport squad; a combination which saw him achieve fifth place in the overall drivers’ championship standings last year.
Kent’s best results over the course of the season were a pair of third place finishes at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, but a race victory certainly seems attainable ahead of the 2019 campaign.
After a successful Winter test at Portimao circuit with the Hyundai Motorsport engineers, Essex & Kent Motorsport are currently undergoing a rebuild of the car prior to the opening round of the TCR UK Touring Car Championship at Snetterton in April.
Panis swaps Audi for Cupra at Comtoyou Racing for 2019 WTCR
Aurelien Panis is set to return to the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) grid in 2019, with Comtoyou Racing having retained the young Frenchman for a second season.
Although Panis remains in the same team environment from last year, he will have to get used to the characteristics of a new car in the coming season. As a result of the updated four-cars-per-brand entry restrictions, Panis will swap his Audi RS3 for a Cupra TCR in 2019.
The announcement also means that Comtoyou Racing will have to split their resources between two separate teams, with one team leading the new project with Cupra, and the other running the Audis for Vervisch and Langeveld.
WTCR Sepang finale set for Mid-December
After a long-running tradition of the FIA World Touring Car (WTCR) season finale being held on the streets of Macau, 2019 will see the title-deciding weekend take place in Malaysia instead.
Although WTCR will still head to the famous Guia circuit in November, the championship is now set to continue further into the winter months with the world’s premier touring car competition concluding at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday the 15th December.
WTCR will share the track that weekend with another Eurosport Events series, the FIM World Endurance Championship. As such, the venue will host an 8-hour superbike race on Saturday before the cars take to the track on Sunday.
A particular highlight of the event shall be the final of the three WTCR races scheduled to take place that weekend. Race Three, which is set to begin at 19:00 local time, will be the first race to be held under floodlights in the darkness of night.
Cheah rewarded with WTCR Wildcard entry at Sepang
Promising Malaysian driver, Mitchell Cheah, is set to compete in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) this year as a wildcard.
The WTCR wildcard system, which permits two local drivers to join the grid per event, will allow Cheah to take part as a one-off entry during the season finale at his home event in Sepang.
Last year, Cheah was placed in a Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR run by Liqui Moly Team Engstler in the TCR Asia Series, where he was coached by ex-F1 driver and GT racing ace, Alex Yoong.
Cheah has developed a respectable reputation in his first year racing at an international level. Cheah was runner-up in the 2018 overall drivers’ championship for the TCR Asia Series and emerged as the regional South-East Asian champion.
Davidovski confirmed for TCR Europe return
Viktor Davidovski has confirmed that he will embark on a second season of TCR competition as he returns to the TCR Europe Touring Car Series this year.
The Macedonian driver, who made his debut in the series last year at the wheel of the PSS Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7, has aimed to improve on his overall finishing position of thirty-sixth place in the Drivers Championship.
The Honda driver is looking forward to another season in the highly competitive series, where he hopes to builds on the lessons learnt and close the gap to the bigger teams and drivers.
Potty announces second TCR Europe campaign with WRT
Maxime Potty is the latest driver to confirm his return to the TCR Europe Touring Car Series for the 2019 season, having switched outfits to the Belgian W Racing Team (WRT).
Last season Potty drove for Comtoyou Racing in a Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR where he fought for both the TCR Europe Touring Car Series title and the TCR Benelux Series title. Potty will continue with the Golf GTi this season.
The Belgian driver finished in eighth place overall last season, enjoying his best weekend on home turf, where he took a second place finish and a third place finish at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Potty will be fighting for both the TCR Europe Touring Car Series title and the TCR Benelux Series title
Wilson returns to TCR UK with iconic green Astra
DW Racing have announced that they will stick with their bright green Vauxhall Astra for a fresh assault on the TCR UK Touring Car Championship in 2019. Darelle Wilson will be back behind the wheel of the eye-catching car, and will no doubt be hoping for better luck during this campaign.
Despite difficulties with the Astra last year, Wilson still managed to secure a best result of 4th place at Knockhill, suggesting that there is plenty of untapped potential within the team for an exciting 2019 campaign.
Following the unfortunate demise of long-time Opel racing partner, Kissling Motorsport, a new customer racing support network has been set-up by Lubner Motorsport and VMax Engineering. This new alliance will support both new and existing Opel/Vauxhall TCR competitors.
STCC becomes TCR Scandinavia Championship for 2019
Following the declaration of bankruptcy by the organising body of the series formerly known as the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, the new governing body has announced that the series will continue in 2019 as the TCR Scandinavia Championship.
The three operations running the championship this year consist of the Swedish Motorsport Federation, TCR Scandinavian Series AB and the circuit owners involved in the calendar.
As a consequence of this, Brink Motorsport have confirmed that they have lodged a two-car entry for the new season, running two Audi RS3 LMS TCR cars.