So, there’s been quite a bit of news over the past four weeks regarding the TCR International Series and also the crucial TCR Balance of Performance test that takes place at the Adria circuit in Italy.
Here’s the round up of the recent news and activities…
Hyundai Motorsport announces its TCR project
Hyundai Motorsport has chosen to develop a TCR car for its first steps into circuit racing. The project, built to compete in the growing number of TCR championships around the world, continues the growth of Hyundai Motorsport. The company was established in 2012, and consists of the rally-winning WRC team and the Customer Racing department.
The new car will be based on the New Generation i30, which was launched last year. The racing version is designed to take advantage of the best qualities of the road-going model, which went through its own rigorous testing plan, including mileage on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit.
In line with current TCR regulations the car will be powered by a two-litre turbocharged engine from within the Hyundai range, and fitted with a six-speed gearbox and 100-litre fuel tank.
Work on the design began at Hyundai Motorsport in September 2016. The building and development of the cars will also be completed at the company’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany.
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “The beginning of our first project specifically for circuit racing is a very important step for Hyundai Motorsport. The TCR regulations have proven incredibly successful, and are being embraced by a growing number of series around the world. By representing Hyundai in these championships our TCR car will promote the manufacturer in motorsport, together with our WRC and R5 projects. The coming months will be very busy for the Customer Racing department, with the TCR development running alongside the continuing support of our existing customers. I know, though, that we will create a strong car for an increasingly competitive category. Let’s look forward to seeing it on TCR starting grids.”
TCR Promoter Marcello Lotti said: “We are delighted to welcome Hyundai into the ever-growing TCR family. The arrival of the Korean manufacturer adds even more prestige to a long list of famous brands that have decided to embrace the TCR concept and compete with their production models in an expanding number of racing series worldwide. We can’t wait to see them join the International Series where we believe that they will be competitive straight away.”
The i30 TCR is scheduled to begin testing in early spring, while the first deliveries to customers are planned for December.
Adria hosts the Balance of Performance two-day test
The test will be concluded in the Pininfarina wind tunnel
Ten different brands will take part in the TCR Balance of Performance test next week. The test, aimed at finalising the BoP for the upcoming season, will take place on March 1st and 2nd at the Adria International Raceway in Italy.
The models to be tested in Adria are: Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Audi RS 3 LMS, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, KIA c’eed, Opel Astra, Peugeot 308, SEAT León, Subaru WRX STi and Volkswagen Golf GTi. Audi, SEAT and Volkswagen will run two cars, with the DSG and the sequential gearboxes.
Drivers Nicola Larini and Andrea Belicchi have been appointed to test all the cars according to the programme prepared by the TCR Technical Bureau.
“We have confirmed Nicola for the third consecutive year, as his vast experience and speed have already proved instrumental in supplying our technicians with all the information they need. This year we have added another Touring Car expert in Belicchi, because we have so many cars that it would be an impossible task for only one man to test them all,” explained promoter Marcello Lotti.
After the track test, all cars will be transported to Grugliasco, near Turin, where their drag and lift coefficients will be measured in the Pininfarina wind tunnel on Friday, 3 March.
The results of the three-day test will be unveiled by the middle of March and they will dictate the BoP for all the TCR series worldwide.
On the day before the test – Tuesday 28th February – the technical delegates of the different TCR regional and national series will take part in a Technical Seminar during which they will be briefed by Andreas Bellu, Chief of the TCR Technical Bureau, and Umberto Fasolo, TCR Technical Delegate, about the regulations and scrutineering procedures.
WestCoast confirms drivers and a switch to Volkswagen for 2017 TCR campaign
Swedish Touring car specialists WestCoast Racing are pleased to announce that they will campaign Volkswagen Golf TCR machinery in the 2017 TCR International Series with Gianni Morbidelli returning for his third season with the team and will be joined by promising 16-year-old Giancomo Altoè.
WestCoast Racing have been front-runners in the series since its inception in 2015, taking an unprecedented 14 wins in the first two seasons and putting themselves on top in the outright victory statistics.
Italian Superstars champion and ex F1 ace Morbidelli is keen to expand on his 14 podium visits, while Altoè makes the jump from the Middle East Series after a debut podium finish in the Abu Dhabi round.
Moving from single seaters in 2017, Altoè will partake his first full season in Touring Cars with WestCoast Racing, while Morbidelli is a known quantity to the team and will be pivotal in adapting to the new Golf TCR.
“I’m really happy and excited to do another season with WestCoast Racing,” said Morbidelli. “For this year, we have big expectations and the pressure that comes with that. We’re running a new car and we all have to get up to speed as soon as possible. I’m glad to be back, after two seasons I know the potential and the guys. Overall I’m looking forward to it!”
Altoè is also looking forward to his new challenge. “The team has a lot of experience in Touring Cars. I really like the atmosphere in team, everyone is very professional and friendly, so I’m really happy to join WestCoast Racing. It’s a big change from the Middle East Series with the Volkswagen Golf but I really enjoy the TCR category and I’m looking forward to it.
“My goal for the season is to learn as much as possible. I know Gianni very well, he’s very experienced and I hope with him as a teammate in WestCoast we can make of my first year in Touring Cars a success!”
Team Principal Dick Jönsson Wigroth explained the thinking behind the switch of manufacturer for the coming season.
“We decided the time was right to take the opportunity to make the switch to Volkswagen which took the Championship in 2016,” he explained. “We had a number of options and thought long and hard about which manufacturer would offer the best chance of a WestCoast Championship and chose the Volkswagen as we believe it offers the best overall package.”
WestCoast Racing will be making further exciting announcements ahead of the 2017 TCR International Series which gets underway in Georgia on April 2.
The BoP test took place at Adria and Grugliasco
The test to establish the Balance of Performance for the upcoming season of all the TCR series worldwide took place last week in Italy, first at the Adria International Raceway and then in the Pininfarina wind tunnel at Grugliasco.
Nine brands of car manufacturers were represented; each one had appointed its own test driver to set up the cars before the official TCR testers Nicola Larini and Andrea Belicchi took over to go through the BoP programme.
The list of test drivers included:
Mario Ferraris in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Swiss lady Rahel Frey in both the Audi RS3 LMS DSG and SEQ cars, Roberto Colciago in the Honda Civic, Mike Halder and Janis Baumanis in the KIA C’eed, Pierre-Yves Corthals in the Opel Astra, Aurélien Comte in the Peugeot 308, Miguel Molina in the SEAT León DSG, Jordi Gené in the SEAT León SEQ, Luigi Ferrara in the Subaru WRX STi and Dieter Depping in both the Volkswagen Golf GTi DSG and SEQ cars.
The FRD Motorsport-built Ford Focus that was also due to join the test did not show up as it still stuck in Amsterdam because of a problem with custom clearance.
In a sunny Adria Larini and Belicchi worked hard while testing the twelve cars.
The first day was dedicated to the performance test that consisted of a five-lap timed stint on the track, with all the cars running on the minimum weight of 1285 kilos, except for the 1.6-litre Peugeot 308 that benefited from a 100-kg reduction.
On the second day the TCR technical department focused on the coast down tests for evaluating the cars’ aerodynamics and fluency; in this case the cars accelerated and were left rolling in neutral, back and forth on the pit straight.
During both days the cars were placed in turns on the rollers of the dynamometer bench to measure dissipation of power, shaft-power, shaft-torque and boost pressure.
At the end of the second day the racing cars where trucked to Grugliasco, where drag and lift coefficients were measured in the Pininfarina wind tunnel on Friday.
The BoP results will be unveiled by the middle of March and they will dictate the BoP for all the TCR series worldwide.
TCR promoters from all over the world met in Italy
Promoters of fifteen TCR championships and series gathered for a general meeting in view of the upcoming season, at the Adria International Raceway, on the eve of the BoP test.
The following TCR series were represented: International, Asia, Baltic, Benelux, China, Germany, Ibérico, Italy, Middle East, Portugal, Russia, Scandinavia and Spain; the promoters of 24H Series/24H TCE Series and VLN attended as well. The TCR Thailand promoter was linked by video conference.
Different topics were discussed; it was agreed to freeze car homologations for three years – until the end of 2019 – and to limit the number of engines to one per season. However, one engine change will be allowed with a reduced penalty (a five-place drop on the grid), while further changes will be penalised with a drop to the back of the grid.
It was also agreed that cars running under temporary homologation will not be eligible to score points in any championship.
TCR promoter Marcello Lotti commented: “It has been a very constructive meeting and it proved even further that all the members of the TCR global community share the same views and work together to strengthen the worldwide alliance.”
Technical delegates attended seminar at Adria
The first ever TCR Technical Seminar was also held at the Adria International Raceway in Italy.
Technical delegates from twelve TCR championships and series worldwide attended a meeting that was hosted by Umberto Fasolo, the Technical Delegate of the International Series.
The first part of the meeting was devoted to analysing details of the TCR Technical Regulations and Technical Form. Later, Fasolo briefed his fellow technicians on the procedures for inspecting and scrutineering the cars.
Finally, electronics engineer Florian Eich explained the use of the Smart Data Logger that has been developed by Ingenieurbüro Krug and has been adopted in order to control the boost pressure limits that will be fixed for each model after the Balance of Performance test.
After the meeting the delegates had the opportunity to visit the garages and have a close look at the cars.
The BAPRO dynamometer hard at work in the BoP test
The Balance of Performance test inaugurated a collaboration between TCR and BAPRO, an Italian company specialising in the development and production of chassis dynamometers for cars and motorbikes.
BAPRO Export Manager Mauro Sgarbi said: “Our company has developed a long standing experience with customers like Magneti Marelli, Maserati and Ducati, but the cooperation with TCR marks our very first step into motor sports. This will help us to develop a series of products dedicated to racing cars that will combine affordable costs with accuracy in measurements.”
Chief engineer Mattia Serafin explained: “The bench that we are using in Adria is based on rollers inertia and performs power tests. We place the car on the rollers and, after a brief warm up, we launch it in a controlled acceleration. This enables us to measure dissipation of power, shaft-power, shaft-torque and the boost pressure.”
TCR promoter Marcello Lotti commented: “We are very pleased with this cooperation. BAPRO offers high technology products at an affordable cost. We are confident that their dynamometer will prove to be an efficient scrutineering tool on site, during some events of all the TCR series worldwide.”
As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as the members of the TCR Talk Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from the series.
Until next time, all the best!