2015 TCR International Series Update No.4

Here are the latest news articles from the world of the TCR International Series…

INTEREST GROWS AS TCR BENELUX GETS READY TO START

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Promoter Kronos Events is working flat towards the inaugural event of the TCR Benelux that will go underway on October 25 in Belgium, at Mettet’s Circuit Jules Tacheny.
The interest is growing as Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourgeois teams are busy at fixing their programmes.

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Italian Engineering JAS Motorsport that develops and builds the Honda Civic TCR, plans to have one car ready to race at Mettet. “Our goal is to have a car taking part in the series opener, run by a Belgian team with which we have close relations,” revealed Mads Fischer who is in charge of Customer Racing.

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A likely candidate to drive the Civic is Pierre-Yves Corthals, who had raced in a JAS Honda Accord in WTCC years ago. “I’m currently working on a programme to take part in TCR Benelux plus some outings in the TCR International Series. I am considering different cars, but Honda is the more likely,” said Corthals.

Bas Schouten, who took part in a couple of events of the TCR International Series echoed: “It was an important experience. A TCR car is a good investment, as you may run it without changes in Sprint and Endurance races, which gives the team the opportunity to be active on different fronts.”

DVB Racing principal, Frank Thuriaux, added: “We have been contacted by some young drivers who want to take part in the TCR Benelux and in some events of the TCR International Series. We are in touch with SEAT Sport and Volkswagen Motorsport and will soon decide whether to buy one or two cars. TCR is the ideal category to expand our activity.”  

ASIA RACING TEAM JOINS TCR ASIA SERIES

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One of the most successful teams in Asian motorsport, Macau’s Asia Racing Team [ART], announced they will be on the grid with a two-car team for the opening round of the new TCR Asia Series at Sepang in early September.
Owned by a group of successful South China entrepreneurs, ART has been successful across a variety of GT and open-wheel categories over 15 years.
The team will line up with a pair of SEAT Léon TCR cars for the season-opener, with a yet-to-be-confirmed driver line-up.

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“We can see the huge benefits of being involved with the TCR Series in Asia,” Team Manager Phillipe Descombes explained. “Touring car racing has a huge heritage in Asia but we have been more than a decade waiting for of a new, professional category to step in. The TCR global concept and the Asian series package offered includes a strong calendar, good-looking cars, close racing and affordable budgets – they were key factors in our decision to take part in the series.”

The TCR Asia series will kick off at Sepang on September 6 and then will race together with the TCR International Series at Singapore, Buriram and Macau.

TCR CARS’ DOMINATION CONTINUES IN RUSSIA

The three TCR cars run by the Lukoil Racing Team continue their domination in the Russian Circuit Racing Series.
The championship’s fourth race meeting took place last weekend at the Kazan Ring, where Rustam Akiniyazov and Aleksey Dudukalo shared victory in the two races of the 2-litre class.
On Saturday, the three SEAT León cars of Akiniyazov, Dudukalo and Roman Golikov finished 1-2-3 in the first race, benefiting from a mistake of Vitaly Larionov, who spun off on the wet track in his Super 2000 BMW 320 TC.
Race 2 was held on Sunday in dry conditions. Dudukalo emerged as the winner ahead of Akiniyazov after a safety car period; Larionov beat Golikov for the third place.

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Dudukalo has further stretched is advantage in the standings of the Touring class. He has collected 184 points so far, against Akiniyazov’s 119 and Larionov’s 114.

VW GOLF TCR TO BE TESTED UNDER RACING CONDITIONS

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Volkswagen Motorsport announced that the Golf TCR car they are developing in accordance with TCR regulations, will make its maiden appearance this weekend in the TCR International Series at the Red Bull Ring.
Volkswagen is currently evaluating a potential customer racing programme from the 2016 season onwards and in order to accelerate the development of the car decided to test the new Golf under competitive conditions in the four remaining events of the TCR International Series. As cooperation partner, the Liqui Moly Team Engstler will run two cars this weekend in Austria and will take responsibility for running the car during the remaining test phase.

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“The newly created TCR category provides a promising platform for customer racing – on a national and international level. With exciting races, production-based technology and reasonable costs, it offers a new outlook for private racing teams,”said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “When developing the Golf-based concept car, we are able to fall back on the resources at Volkswagen. This reduces both development time and costs. We will also use the rest of the season to test the car under competitive conditions and evaluate a possible customer racing project from 2016.”

TCR promoter Marcello Lotti commented: “We are obviously very pleased to welcome the Golf TCR. I’m sure that the cooperation between Volkswagen Motosport and the Liqui Moly Team Engstler will result in a successful technical development of the car.”

TCR THAILAND IS MOVING TOWARDS REALITY

Racing Spirit Co. Ltd., organiser of the Thailand Super Series was among the promoters who first saw the potential of the TCR concept and announced that a TCR Thailand championship will take place in 2016.

The Thai series was presented to the local media in a forum held during the opening round of TSS 2015, in Buriram, where Preeda Tantemsapya, Vice President of TSS, and Paritat Bulbon, Managing Director of Racing Spirit, were joined by David Sonenscher, Chief Executive Officer of Motorsport Asia, the promoter of the new TCR Asia Series.

“Motorsport Asia has a strong working relationship with Racing Spirit, so it was logical that the two sides came together quickly over TCR and with a working relationship having already been well established the implementation of the new series, despite being a big challenge, should be relatively smooth,”said Sonenscher, who added: “We are looking into doing joint races together. So there will be a whole load of cooperation.”

The clock is ticking down fast and in three months the TCR International Series and TCR Asia Series will jointly head to Buriram.

“In October we will bring both championships here, so were planning to do promotions around that in partnership with Racing Spirit,”Sonenscher revealed. “So I think we can offer very good opportunities for people to get up close and touch and feel and drive and do whatever they need to do.”

TOP RUN WORKING FLAT OUT ON SUBARU WRX STI CARS

The Top Run team is working flat out to build the TCR-spec Subaru WRX STi in time to make its maiden appearance in the TCR International Series event at Singapore on September 20. The first two cars were delivered to the workshop of the Italian team last week.

“We are working on the first car to prepare the shell and fit the roll-cage, while the second one is being used to fix the aerodynamics,”explained Team Principal Antonio Agnello, who added: “We haven’t waited for the cars to start working. We have made headway by building the gearbox, the braking system and most of the aerodynamic kit. We have already received the dampers and the wheels. Now we must check which pieces of the original parts of the suspension may be retained and which ones need to be re-designed. The most difficult task is to convert the car to front-wheel drive, which also implies a complete re-distribution of weight.”

The agreement between Top Run and Subaru provides for delivery of two further cars per month. The next step will be to start track testing.

Agnello revealed: “We aim to start testing by the first week of August and, if everything goes according to plan, we will apply for the homologation immediately afterwards. To race in Singapore is a priority goal. We are aware that we have a great deal of work to do, but in our rally years we have built a lot of experience in this respect. And this makes us confident!”

CRAFT-BAMBOO RACING TO TAKE PART IN TCR ASIA

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Hong Kong’s Craft-Bamboo Racing announced its entry into the inaugural 2015 TCR Asia Series. Thanks to the continued success of Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil in this year’s maiden TCR International Series with their trio of SEAT León cars, the team has confirmed to enter the Asian sister series under the Craft-Bamboo Racing banner. They will be aiming to recreate the same winning results when the series begins in August.

Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil is currently locked in a fierce battle for the top of both the drivers’ and teams’ championship, with Spanish teammates Pepe Oriola and Jordi Gene currently third and fourth respectively.  
The team recognizes the direct benefits for their TCR Asia squad, which will get a strong start due to the knowledge gained from Craft-Bamboo Racing’s extensive test and race schedule during the first half of this year.

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing said: “Craft-Bamboo Racing is a firm believer in the TCR platform, with the International Series producing some fantastic racing that is adored by drivers and fans alike. We hope that the TCR Asia series can follow in its footsteps and give Asia’s motorsport fans an exciting new race series that will help promote the sport of touring car racing in Asia.”

David Sonenscher, CEO of Motorsport Asia, echoed: “It is great to have Craft-Bamboo Racing involved in the inaugural TCR Asia Series season as they bring with them their solid background from the international series. Having yet another high calibre Asian team added to the championship is fantastic and this will provide even more competition, which means even greater racing for motorsport fans.”

ENGSTRÖM TO RACE FOR ENGSTLER IN RUSSIA AND ASIA

Liqui Moly Team Engstler announced that Tomas Engström will race for them in the next event of the TCR International Series at Sochi and, afterwards, in the inaugural season of the TCR Asia Series.

The Swede has a long standing experience in touring car competition as he was a race winner in the Swedish and Scandinavian Touring Car Championships and a podium finisher in the FIA European Touring Car Cup (second in 2007, third in 2006, 2010 and 2011).

“From the first time I heard about the TCR regulations, I knew it would be successful and I was looking for an opportunity to be part of it. Therefore I am very happy and honoured that I was given the opportunity by an experienced and well known team such as the Liqui Moly Team Engstler,”said Engström who will race at Sochi in the place of Lorenzo Veglia who is committed to take his school-leaving examination.

The name of Engström’s team-mate in the TCR Asia Series will be announced in due course.

As the next bunch of TCR related news comes out, I will publish another update…

All the best!!

Phil!!!

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