A worldwide category, one set of rules and regulations with a global value. The Touring Car Racing (TCR) category represents great value for competitors and teams. It makes is easy to race anywhere in the world that hosts the category. It makes sense to have such a global category here in New Zealand and a five round series will get underway in January 2020 over five consecutive weekends.
“It’s looking really good,” commented TCR NZ category manager Grant Smith. “At this stage we have got ten cars that are either on the ground or arriving shortly which will be New Zealand based. We have got three to four cars we are negotiating with to potentially come out of Europe and maybe half a dozen cars out of Australia, so working towards a grid of 20 at the first round at Highands Motorsport Park (Cromwell) in January which is a great start.”
First introduced in 2014, there are now a multitude of series throughout the world and well over 600 TCR specific cars already built. All cars are based on a four or five door production vehicle, powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine. All vehicle are subject to a Balance of Performnace (BoP) adjustment to ensure close racing across the different marque.
Starting in January, NZ will see five quick rounds taking place alongside the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Highlands Motorsport Park (Cromwell), Teretonga Park (Invercargill), Hampton Downs (North Waikato), Pukekohe Park (Auckland), and at the NZ Grand Prix weekend at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon (Feilding).
“The idea is to syncronise our calendar with the Aussies, so we’ll do our five rounds over consecutive weekends then go over to Australia for two quite special rounds – The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, then a round at Easter at the Bathurst 6 Hour, where there will be a specific TCR race.
“These are iconic events that Kiwi competitors could participate in as part of TCR Australia.”
Currently underway is the Carter’s Tyres South Island Endurance Series with several TCR cars competing including the Rhys Gould/Gene Rollinson Hyundai i30TCR (currently leading Class B in Three Hour series), Jordon Michels Honda Civic FK7 TCR (currently leading Class B in One Hour series), Dennis and Debbie Chapman Audi RS3 LMS TCR, Tim Mackersy/Barry Moore VW Golf Gti TCR and the Michael Driver/Phil Hood VW Gold Gti TCR. Proof that TCR cars can also compete outside the actual series that has been set up for the category.
“We are also going to put together an endurance series for TCR New Zealand. There will be two rounds as part of he North Island Endurance Series and two rounds as part of the South Island Endurance Series (four rounds).
“The thing I find exciting about TCR for me is that it is an international category. It is going to be well run in terms of the management of the category as part of the Australia Racing Group. From our perspective we want to deliver a high quality product to competitors.
“From a competitors perspective, you own a global commodity which has a global value, so from a depreciation thing there is value retained in the car. You buy a car on the global market and it has a global value.
“From a developmental perspective, you have the opportunity to race in TCR NZ, TCR Australia, TCR Asia, the World Touring Car Champs and so on. It is an ideal category for those coming out of TR 86.
“You can take your car and run it anywhere in any TCR series in the world. You can run at the Nurburgring, at Spa and lots of other options.
“It is a controlled category and that is one thing we will manage for the integrity of the series. We are planning to bring over the technical people who have been running with the Australian series this season. The cars have a data logging system that we can manage to see that there has been no manipulation or cheating. We make sure everyone is competing on a level playing field and ultimately preserve the integrity of the series and the value of the cars.
“The thing for us is that we are looking for drivers. We want to grow the series and we are confident that it will be an amazing product. It’s a great opportunity to grow the touring car sport in New Zealand and give drivers the opportunity to grow and develop their skills through a world wide category.
“ARG are a very professional group and well funded. They would like to see that trans-Tasman competition develop. They are certainly well experienced people, great supporters of the series.”
With the prospect of World Rally Championship driver Hayden Paddon competing in several rounds in his own Hyundai i30N TCR car the summer series is looking superb.
“That would be the icing on the cake, to have someone of his caliber involved in the series,” commented Smith.
TCR New Zealand Calendar
Round 1: Highlands 17-19 Jan 2020
Round 2: Teretonga 24-26 Jan 2020
Round 3: Hampton Downs 31 Jan – 2 Feb 2020
Round 4: Pukekohe 7-9 Feb 2020
Round 5: Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon 14-16 Feb 2020