TCR Series Roundup – 24th February 2019

by Phil Kinch

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 Europe Touring Car Series, The TCR Italy Series, The TCR Malaysia Series and The TCR Australia Series.

Here’s a look at all of the action and announcements from the last seven days.

Enrico Bettera stays with Pit Lane Competizioni for 2019

Enrico Bettera returns to TCR Italy for Pit lane Competizioni for 2019. Credit: ACI Sport / TCR Italy Series

Pit Lane Competizioni have announced Enrico Bettera as the team’s first driver for the 2019 TCR Italy Series.

Switching to an Audi RS 3 LMS in 2017, Bettera scored a race win last year at Imola and finished the season in fourth position. He has also made occasional appearances in the 2017 TCR International Series and the 2018 TCR Europe Touring Car Series. Team principal Roberto Remelli commented on the first driver to be confirmed for the team.

We have cemented a friendly relationship with Enrico and therefore we are delighted to retain him as part of the team for the new season. Last year we have achieved important results and the victory at Imola was the icing on the cake. We wish to repeat ourselves and possibly improve. Bettera has grown up a lot in previous years and we are confident he has the potential to fight for the title.”

The team will unveil the names of its other drivers for the 2019 TCR Italy Series in due course.

2019 Balance of Performance tests complete at Valencia

The 2019 TCR Balance of Performance tests were completed at Valencia this week. Credit: WSC Ltd / Jordi Rierola

The final part of the TCR Balance of Performance process was held at Valencia’s Circuito Ricardo Tormo where the TCR technical staff worked together with the appointed tester Daniel Lloyd and the FIA Technical Delegate Carlos Barros.

Only the new models to be certified by TCR were tested: the Hyundai Veloster N, Lynk&Co 03, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce, LADA Vesta Sport and Renault Mégane, while a CUPRA was used as the reference car.

The initial BoP list will be issued in early March and must be adopted by all the series and championships regulated by the TCR Technical Regulations. According to on-track-performance, the BoP will be adjusted during the season by the common Compensation Weight System and the Sporting Regulations of each championship.

Wall Racing to race a second Honda Civic in TCR Australia

Wall Racing have added a second Honda to their TCR Australia squad. Credit: WSC Ltd / Jordi Rierola

Wall Racing has reaffirmed its commitment to TCR Australia by securing a second Honda Civic Type R for the inaugural championship this year.

The Sydney-based team will soon receive a brand-new Civic, adding to the car that was originally delivered to Australia for the launch event held at Sydney Motorsport Park in November last year.

As well as the new car, Wall Racing has also secured a deal with JAS Motorsport to become the Australian agent for the Honda TCR vehicles in Australia. Team owner David Wall was delighted with the move to add another Honda to the lineup.

“We’re pleased to have secured a second Honda Civic Type R. TCR Australia is an exciting new championship and we are getting closer to locking down drivers to fill the seats. At the moment, we’ll start the season by running two cars ourselves, but we have the capabilities of running up to five, so we’ll just see what the interest levels are like in the coming weeks,” said Wall.

“We’re happy to run multiple cars and service other Hondas at the events. I’m working on getting some ‘professional’ drivers in the cars. I feel that it is important to have a strong line-up of drivers, but we’re also open to amateur racers too. The category is user-friendly and cost-effective, and now with the TV deal on SBS in place, there’s even more reason to compete.”

Engstler becomes first ever TCR Malaysia champion

Luca Engstler secured the TCR Malaysia Series title in race one at Sepang. Credit: Hussein Zain

Luca Engstler secured the TCR Malaysia Series drivers title in the first race at Sepang on the final weekend of the series. The Hyundai Team Engstler driver held a strong points lead over Liqui-Moly Team Engstler driver Kai Jordan coming into the final weekend, whilst 2018 TCR Asia Series runner up Mitchell Cheah joined the series in another Volkswagen Golf TCR GTi.

Despite missing out on pole position for race one to Cheah, Engstler was able to stay in touch with the Volkswagen driver, who set a faster pole position time than Rob Huff in the Teamwork Motorsport entry back in the first round in January. KCMG Honda driver Paul Ip completed the podium for the first race.

In race two, Engstler made a storming start from the fourth row of the gird to take the lead and build a comfortable cushion to take the final race win of the season. Cheah made his way from eighth on the grid to finish second whilst 2015 TCR Asia Series Champion Michael Choi completed the podium.

Details for the next season of the series will be announced in the coming days.

Santiago Urrutia switches from single seaters for 2019 TCE Europe Debut

Santiago Urrutia will join Team WRT’s campaign in the 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series. Credit: Vanuf Art Design

Uruguay’s Santiago Urrutia will join Maxime Potty for Team WRT’s campaign in the 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series. Urrutia, 22 years old, is facing his Touring Car debut after earning very solid credentials with single-seaters.

After racing in Europe in Euroformula Open and GP3, Santi has shone in the USA, taking the Pro Mazda Championship title in 2015 and finishing twice a runner-up and once third in Indy Lights with a total of eight race wins.

He will drive an Audi RS 3 LMS supported by Audi Uruguay.

“There are great expectations ahead of this TCR Europe campaign and it can’t be otherwise when you know the level of the Audi RS 3 and Team WRT. For me, it is going to be an entirely new experience, as I never competed in front wheel-drive cars, but I am excited by the challenge and by racing again in Europe after four years,” Urrutia said. 

“It’s a new chapter in my career and I feel honoured to join such a great squad as Team WRT and to drive an Audi. I’m really looking forward to representing Uruguay on the international racing scene.”

Teamwork Motorsport evaluating 2019 TCR UK Entry

Teamwork Motorsport are investigating joining the 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship. Credit: Teamwork Motorsport

Hong Kong-based Teamwork Motorsport has revealed that the team is considering an entry in the second season of the TCR UK Touring Car Championship.

Reigning TCR China champion Alex Hui attended the Oulton Park round of the TCR UK Touring Car Championship last year and, as the team’s technical staff includes engineers who work with front-running teams such as WestCoast Racing, Craft-Bamboo Engineering and Cyan Racing, they expect to be able to put together a competitive package.

The news follows the success of Swedish outfit WestCoast Racing in the 2018 championship, in which it secured both the Drivers’ and Teams’ titles, and underlines the ease with which teams can enter TCR championships around the world.

So far in 2019, the team entered the opening round of the new TCR Malaysia series, in which Rob Huff finished second in the first race at Sepang in a Volkswagen Golf GTI. In addition, the team’s Audi RS3 LMS car finished sixth in the TCE class at the 24H Dubai race in January, which marked Teamwork’s debut in Endurance racing.

SWR investigating two car 2019 TCR UK Entry

SWR are looking to return to TCR UK with a two car team in 2019. Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK Series

Sean Walkinshaw Racing has expressed a desire to expand its entry in the TCR UK Touring Car Championship to two cars for 2019 after running a single car last season.

The team’s distinctive blue and black Honda Civic FK2 contested five of the seven events in 2018, with Andreas Bäckman recording a dominant victory in Race 1 at Croft under the WestCoast Racing banner. The car also recorded podium finishes for team owner Sean Walkinshaw (Race 2 at Knockhill) and Howard Fuller (Race 2 at Brands Hatch).

“A successful first year in TCR UK meant we learned a lot about the championship and particularly the car. It would be a logical move for us to add another Honda Civic FK2 if we are asked to do so and the sheer number of TCR championships around the world means that we can source a car quite easily if we need to,” said SWR Team Principal Ken Page.

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