During 2019, The Checkered Flag is rounding up the news and results from the various TCR Series around the world on a weekly basis.
This weeks review includes The 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Series, The 2019 Canadian Touring Car Championship, The 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series, The 2019 Super Taikyu Endurance Championship, The 2019 VLN Endurance Championship, The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series and The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).
Here’s a look at all of the action and announcements from the last seven days.
The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series begins in Hungary
The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series has confirmed a second season that will see thirty-one entries compete over fourteen rounds in six different countries.
Last year was the debut for the series where it revealed a season regular entry list of twenty-four drivers before seeing a season-best entry in the finale that took place in Barcelona of thirty-one.
Quite simply, the chance to be Europe’s top TCR Champion has gathered many of Europe’s best and also seen many drivers change teams and model in the effort to give them a better chance of securing the number one spot.
The Entry List for the 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series can be found here.
Zengő Motorsport return to WTCR as Wildcard entry
Zengő Motorsport was unable to join the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) on a full-time basis in 2019, however, the popular Hungarian outfit will return as a wildcard entry this weekend at their home track; the Hungaroring.
The Hungarian crowd is arguably the most passionate set of touring car fans out there, and while most of the attention will be on Norbert Michelisz and Attila Tassi, Zengő Motorsport will give the fans another contender to cheer about.
Tamás Tenke isn’t a complete rookie, however. Coming from a successful sim-racing background, he swapped virtual racing cars for real ones at the beginning of the year. Tenke most recently took part in the TCR Middle East Series with Zengő Motorsport, where he finished fourth in the standings.
The Hungarian is also set for a campaign in the TCR Europe Series this year, again with the support of Zoltan Zengo‘s team.
Girolami and Michelisz lead the WTCR way in Hungary
The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) moved on to Hungary for the next three races in the season, which has so far seen three different race winners from the opening round in Morocco three weeks ago.
With Thed Bjork already holding a slim lead in the Drivers Championship, the series raced the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest in very mixed conditions over the two days of on-track action. Both Nestor Girolami and Gabriele Tarquini took the wins over the weekend, with Girolami leaving Hungary with the Drivers Championship lead.
The Canadian Touring Car Championship adds a TCR class
Canada is the latest country to join the TCR family. WSC Ltd and Corner 2 Inc. have signed a one-year agreement to include a TCR class in the Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Pirelli (CTCC).
From 2019, the TCR cars will compete in the CTCC events, sharing the grid with the series’ three other classes: Touring, GT Sport and GT Cup.
The 2019 CTCC calendar consists of five events, each of them featuring two sprint races; two TCR titles for Drivers and Teams will be awarded at the end of the season. So far, seven competitors have already entered in the class.
2019 CTCC calendar
May 17-19: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville
June 1-2: Calabogie Motorsports Park
June 29-30: Shannonville Motorsport Park
August 9-11: Grand Prix Trois Rivières
August 23-25: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville
James Moffat joins Garry Rogers Motorsport
James Moffat will drive a Renault Mégane RS car in the inaugural 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series with Garry Rogers Motorsport. The 34-year-old Victorian joins New Zealander Chris Pither, making for one of the fastest and most experienced team pairings in the field.
Moffat, the son of legendary Touring Car driver Allan, is a highly accomplished driver in his own right, having competed as a full-time Supercars driver from 2011 to 2017. He has driven for a range of teams including Dick Johnson Racing, Nissan Motorsport and, most recently, GRM.
His career highlights include two Supercars victories, one with Nissan in 2013 and one with Tickford Racing at last year’s Gold Coast race. He also finished second in the Bathurst 1000 in 2014 alongside Taz Douglas.
Halder and Burri share the spoils in Oschersleben
Mike Halder won the opening race of the 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Series at Oschersleben, beating the two Hyundai i30 N cars of Max Hesse and reigning champion Harald Proczyk.
Halder was right behind race leader Hesse and the Honda driver’s intentions were clear. Sure enough, Halder took the lead at the end of lap four when he dived up the inside of Hesse and so had the line for the sprint up the start/finish straight.
Bradley Burns, meanwhile, had started from twelfth on the grid but thanks to a great start had climbed to seventh and the Honda was battling with Theo Coicaud’s Hyundai for sixth place in the early part of the race. There was contact between the pair on lap six and Burns succeeded in passing on lap nine. Thanks to Dominik Fugel’s penalty, Burns would go on to finish fifth and so claim the trophy for the best Rookie driver.
Antti Buri, in the LMS Racing Audi RS 3 LMS, took victory in Race two at Oschersleben. The Finn took no prisoners and built his success from the start. He beat race one winner Halder, who is still leading the championship standings, and reigning champion Proczyk.
It was a perfect start from Buri, who passed the two cars on the front row, Guido Naumann and Michelle Halder, to take the lead straight away. Coicaud climbed quickly to third ahead of Halder, Burns, Hesse and Proczyk.
Halder managed to overtake Coicaud for second, with a perfect move and started chasing Buri. One lap later Proczyk overtook Hesse for fourth and then he began fighting with Coicaud for the third position. Eventually, the reigning champion managed to take third, while Coicaud dropped to sixth behind Hesse and Burns.
Mathilda Racing returns to victory on a rainy day
The weather on the Avus mountains changed from sunshine in the morning to heavy rain in the afternoon, plaguing the competitors of the 2019 VLN Endurance Championship’s third round.
Andreas Gülden, alone in the Max Kruse Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI because his usual teammate Benjamin Leuchter was racing in WTCR, set pole position. However, Gülden retired after five laps and this launched the Mathilda Racing CUPRA of Heiko Hammel, Frederic Yerly and Matthias Wasel towards the second win of the season in the TCR class.
They beat the Møller Bill Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS shared by the Norwegian trio of Håkon Schjærin, Atle Gulbrandsen and Kenneth Østvold by three minutes and thirty-nine seconds. The FEV Racing CUPRA of Benedikt Gentgen, Lukas Thiele and André Gies completed the podium a further forty seconds adrift.
The series will now take a long break before round 4 that will be held on July 13. Before then, the Nordschleife will host the 24H Nürburgring on June 22-23 that will be preceded by the 4-hour Qualifying race on May 19.
McCann wins in a thrilling finish to TC America race
Michael McCann jr took his first victory of the season in Race one at the Virginia International Raceway, with an all Audi podium denied at the very last minute when Michael Hurczyn’s Volkswagen dramatically snatched second place.
McCann’s teammate Britt Casey jr led for much of the forty-minute race, with Hurczyn initially fighting for the lead with Casey until he ran wide and dropped four places on lap seven. Following a visit to the pits to clear grass away from the car’s air intakes, the FCP Euro driver then started a fightback that ended in thrilling fashion in a last-gasp sprint for the line.
Hurczyn’s mishap had elevated McCann into second place behind Casey and the two Audi RS 3 LMS cars then ran first and second until lap eighteen. McCann had been steadily catching his teammate and took the lead with around five minutes of the race remaining.
It then looked as though it would be an all-McCann Racing top three, with Christian Cole having passed Victor Gonzalez to move into third place in the team’s other car on lap fourteen. Hurczyn clearly had other ideas and stormed around the final lap to set the fastest lap of the race and pass Gonzalez, Cole and Casey jr to dramatically snatch second place in the dying seconds, beating Casey by thirty-thousandths of a second.
Britt Casey jr takes second win for McCann Racing
After McCann jr took a thrilling victory in the first TC America race at Virginia International Raceway, his McCann Racing teammate Britt Casey jr claimed a dominant win in race two.
At the start, Michael Hurczyn took the lead in the FCP Euro Volkswagen Golf GTI, while Victor Gonzales sprinted from fourth on the grid to second ahead of Bryan Putt and Nate Vincent.
Casey, who was sitting outside on the front row, found himself at the bottom of the field and began to recover.
In a few laps, Vincent and Casey joined Gonzales in a close fight for the second position and, after a few skirmishes, they both went through. Later on, Casey overtook Vincent for second and began to close in on Hurczyn.
Midway through the forty-minute race the silver Audi caught up the Golf and managed to overtake it. However, Hurczyn didn’t lose contact and continued to follow at a striking distance. Despite this threat, Casey scored his first victory in TC America from Hurczyn and Vincent.
The BRP Audi RS 3 LMS wins Super Taikyu at Sugo
The second round of the 2019 Super Taikyu Endurance Championship was a three-hour race at Sugo, where the Audi RS 3 LMS cars took another 1-2 finish.
The BRP car of Yuya Ota, Takeshi Matsumoto and Takuro Shinohara took a second consecutive pole position and this time converted it into a win, making up for the disappointing season’s opening race at Suzuka where it finished second after having led for three hours out of four.
It was a close competition with the sister car of Team DreamDrive shared by Takuya Shirasaka, Shozo Tagahara and Naoto Takeda that crossed the line less than seven seconds behind the winners.
The podium was completed by the Honda Civic of Team Noah, driven by Toshiro Tsukada, Yoshikazu Sobu and Tatsuya Okahara; they beat the RFC Racing Civic by only four-tenths of a second. The Team Mars Audi was classified fifth one further minute adrift. The victory also meant that the BRP team took the lead in the championship classification, eleven points clear of Team Mars.
Daniel Lloyd joins Dongfeng Honda Racing for TCR China
Reigning TCR UK Champion Daniel Lloyd will contest the 2019 TCR China Touring Car Championship this season with the Dongfeng Honda Racing Team, operated by MacPro Racing Team.
Lloyd makes his TCR China debut this coming weekend, piloting one of the squad’s Civic Type R FK8 machines alongside new team-mate Martin Xie as the championship gets underway at Zhuhai International Circuit.
The Yorkshireman last raced on the Guangdong Province circuit in 2017, where he claimed a maiden podium on his CTCC debut with a second-place finish and is relishing the chance of returning to racing in Asia.
“I’m delighted to heading back to China. I have really happy memories of racing in the CTCC and GT Asia Series. The Dongfeng Honda Racing Team have a great set-up, and are championship winners so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do together this season,” commented Lloyd.
“I’ve raced at four of the five circuits on the calendar before, so I’m familiar with most of the tracks. Hopefully, this will put me in good stead. TCR has been great for me and led to lots of new opportunities. Fingers crossed, this deal will lead to even more doors opening up in some of the other TCR series around the world.”