So after a winter that has seen many changes in the TCR landscape, one of the last few TCR series gets underway this weekend: The 2018 TCR Europe Series.
As keen fans of TCR Europe will recall, the event has been a one of Cup event last season and before that, it was a series made up of different scoring rounds from different TCR Domestic Series in and around Europe.
So whats changed for 2018? Well, instead of a one of event, we now have seven rounds that takes in some of the best and well known tracks in Europe. With the introduction of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), TCR Europe now becomes the next level of TCR competition as a regional series for drivers looking to move up the ladder.
With the creation of WTCR for 2018, TCR Europe visits quite a few tracks that last year or in previous years have seen TCR action and often provided some great race and overtaking action. Something that TCR is well known for providing and something thats often missing in a lot of Touring Car Series.
The 2018 TCR Europe Series Calendar:
The 2018 TCR Europe Series Entry:
So, with an expanded calendar, comes a 26 strong driver/team entry…and wow what a list of names we have looking to contest the series and become the 2018 Champion!
However with there being 25 cars and 26 drivers locked in for the 2018 WTCR Season (not sure how that meets the full 26 cars grid expected but anyway..) this has meant that there are drivers who were in either the TCR International Series or the former FIA European Touring Car Cup who will be front runners in this years series.
Josh Files, Jean-Karl Vernay, Dusan Borkovic, Attilla Tassi, Kris Richard….oh and a certain two time TCR International Series Champion known as the fan favourite Stefano Comini to name a few!!!
Something that rings true with me about this years series is the fact that there a quite a few TCR Champions competing in TCR Europe this year, be they reigning champions or previous champions:
Josh Files: Two time ADAC TCR Germany Champion and TCR Middle East Champion
Stefano Comini: Two Time TCR International Series Champion
Jean-Karl Vernay: Reigning TCR International Series Champion
Nicola Baldan: Reigning TCR Italy Champion
Francisco Mora: TCR Portugal Champion
Francisco Abreu: Reigning TCR Iberico
Kris Richard: 2016 FIA European Touring Car Cup Champion
These top drivers have made their way to becoming a Champion in either Domestic Series or Internationally and the idea of TCR is that drivers can make their way up the ladder from Domestic to Regional TCR Competition. I’d say its working quite nicely.
The 2018 TCR Europe Series Entry List For Paul Ricard:
As you’ll agree, Paul Ricard is looking good already!
Talking of the Circuit, the drivers will be using the full layout. Fast, flowing and with penty of chicanes to use for overtaking. However a good grid position from Qualifying will make life a lot easier on racedays!
This weekend, TCR action returns to both TCR TV on YouTube and also on Motorsport TV (In the UK). The essence of TCR’s success is online streaming and with TCR Europe being run by Marcello Lotti’s WSC company in 2018 (The same people that ran the TCR International Series) you can expect the same high quality service that fans have seen before the introductio of the Eurosport Evnts run WTCR.
Race One can be found here for Saturday: YouTube
Race Two can be found here for Sunday: YouTube
Fans will recognise the lead commetator for TCR Europe as Mark James, the man who has done a lot of TCR International Series commentary and also has been working bhind the brand new TCR UK Series. Mark loves his TCR action and expect more excietment to test his skills as the drivers and teams go all out to get te best start they can in France at Paul Ricard
I’ll be using the TCR Guru blog to cover TCR Europe only in 2018, however I know that its going to be an amaing and exciting season ahead and one I recommend to anyone who enjoys their Touring Car racing and is looking for something new to enjoy or is a returning fan.
As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started in 2018.
All images are used courtesy of WSC / TCR Europe Series
Until next time, all the best!