With the season now three weekends old and nearing the halfway point, TCR Talk has decided to review the first six round of the year…
The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship got underway over the Easter weekend with a three day weekend planned for the opening event at Silverstone. TCR Talk reviews the first two races of the season.
Good Friday was a test day for the thirteen competitors as they took the chance to get more seat time with the TCR Machinery as well as learning about the cars during the changing conditions.
The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Silverstone:
Three drivers top the timesheets during Media Day test at Silverstone.
Inclement conditions prevented the field from finding the true limit of all six marques set to compete in the series opener, but Finlay Crocker cemented the potential of his new-for-2018 Honda Civic Type R FK7 by topping the timesheets in a damp opening session, setting a best time of 1:03.314, a mere seven thousandths of a second clear of the Laser Tools Racing duo of Aiden Moffat and Derek Palmer Jnr.
Moffat, who confirmed his deal to run in the eye-catching Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR in the week preceding the event, set the pace in a drier middle session on a 59.187, edging out Ollie Taylor’s Honda Civic TCR and guest entry Andreas Bäckman’s Volkswagen Golf GTi (WestCoast Racing).
Taylor (Pyro Motorsport) continued his form from the championships first official test day at the same venue earlier in March, setting a best time of 1:04.808 in the final session amid the inclement conditions at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’.
The combined 105 minutes of track time also provided a valuable opportunity for the sister WestCoast Racing VWs of Dan Lloyd and Bäckman’s sibling Jessica to clock up testing mileage, as was the case for Howard Fuller (SWR), Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) and the DSG Trophy pairing of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) and Carl Swift (Endurance Financial Racing).
Both Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) and guest entry Olli Kangas (LMS Racing) will joined the fray on Saturday behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra and CUPRA TCR respectively.
Daniel Lloyd claims inaugural TCR UK Series pole position at Silverstone,
Posting a late effort of 1:00.845 to end a dramatic session atop the timesheets, Lloyd secured his first Pole Position of the year, but it would be a close session as well.
The new-for-2018 championship was cemented with six brands represented in the top seven grid slots, split by less than a second and a half on the track. A drying line began to emerge in the final minutes of the session, with a flurry of late times turning the starting order on its head.
Aiden Moffat completed the front row after the Laser Tools Racing driver narrowly missed out by two tenths of a second behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR, with Howard Fuller’s SWR-run Honda Civic TCR similarly denied by Lloyd’s last-gasp achievement.
With less than thirty seconds on the clock, it was Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N that looked to have navigated the tricky conditions on-circuit and secured top spot, but the 18-year old was forced to settle for fourth, just under half a second from pole.
Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor headed up the third row ahead of Carl Swift, who also secured the DSG Trophy bragging rights in the CUPRA TCR courtesy of a sixth-place start.
In only his third outing in the Vauxhall Astra, Darrelle Wilson (DW Racing) was classified seventh in front of guest entries Andreas Bӓckman (WestCoast Racing) and Olli Kangas (LMS Racing). Andreas’ sibling Jessica rounds out the top ten starters in the third Volkswagen Golf GTi, with Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 and the final CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) completing the field.
Lines started the second race of the weekend from pole position courtesy of a reversed top ten on the grid, which was initially formed from drivers’ second quickest lap times in qualifying.
Recurring mechanical problems on the second Laser Tools Racing machine of Derek Palmer Jnr prevented the Alfa Romeo driver from setting a lap time, but the team are expected to field both cars as normal in the season-opening double header tomorrow.
Lloyd converts pole position into his first TCR UK race victory at Silverstone
Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat and the Pyro Motorsport-run Honda Civic TCR of Ollie Taylor completing the first podium of the season alongside the WestCoast Racing driver.
The highly-competitive nature of the category had already been made apparent during Qualifying with six brands represented in the top seven positions, and the first race of the 2018 season cemented that trend.
Lloyd made the perfect start from pole position and eased ahead of Moffat’s Alfa Romeo Guilietta on the run down to Copse, whilst further back a slow start for the SWR-run Honda Civic TCR of Howard Fuller enabled Taylor and the Hyundai i30 N of Lewis Kent to get the jump into third and fourth on the road respectively.
Though Moffat put pressure on Lloyd throughout, the experienced TCR driver was able to hold on ahead of the Laser Tools Racing racer to earn himself a trip to the top step of the podium.
Moffat was initially given a five-second penalty for infringing track limits by the stewards, but this was rescinded after evaluation post-race and the Laser Tools Racing driver was handed back the runner-up spot.
Fuller would then entertain the crowd with a closely-fought battle for fifth with Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7, the two making contact under braking on several occasions before the former eventually came out on top.
Andreas Bӓckman’s pace was evident as he scythed his way through the field from eighth on the grid, before matching the lap times of the race leaders once up into fourth.
Sibling Jessica was equally competitive, sustaining a thrilling contest for seventh with LMS Racing’s Olli Kangas for the near-duration of the race, but ultimately had to settle for eighth.
Stewart Lines capitalised on an early spin at Brooklands for Carl Swift to claim the bragging rights in the DSG Trophy stakes, and will start the second race from pole position courtesy of the top ten having their second-fastest qualifying times reversed.
Kent and Darelle Wilson (Vauxhall Astra) made contact under braking at Beckett’s whilst disputing position, sending the latter into the gravel and out of the race. Kent would continue and eventually round out the field in eleventh.
Derek Palmer was hit once again with a mechanical fault on the second Alfa Romeo Giulietta and retired at half distance, but will look to bounce back in the series’ second contest, scheduled for 16:05 this afternoon.
Lloyd cements his advantage atop the TCR UK standings after reverse-grid victory.
Team mate Andreas Bӓckman had initially lost out to the Laser Tools Racing-run Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Aiden Moffat on the outside of Becketts with around a third of the race gone, but a late mechanical problem saw the latter pull off in the dying embers of the race.
Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor completed the podium for the second successive race after following the pairing of Lloyd and Moffat through the field, with Howard Fuller rounding out his first competitive action in three seasons with a solid fourth place finish in the SWR Honda Civic TCR.
Front-row starter Olli Kangas completed his preparations for the start of the TCR Scandinavia series with fifth on the road, with another competitive showing from Jessica Bӓckman behind earning her sixth place.
Darelle Wilson re-asserted himself after an incident in Race one, putting in a fine move on Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N into Becketts en route to seventh.
Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) doubled up in the DSG Trophy stakes in eighth, using his reverse-grid pole position to stay clear of Carl Swift’s fellow CUPRA TCR, though the pairing were split on the road by Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7. A turbo issue plagued Lewis Kent’s season-opener and he again struggled, rounding out the field in eleventh.
Derek Palmer Jnr suffered from another frustrating mechanical malady in the second Alfa Romeo, pitting to retire in the closing stages after demonstrating good pace to keep up with the leaders despite being a lap down.
Lloyd will carry a 25-point lead into the second meeting of the season on the reverse layout at Knockhill [12-13 May], with the Volkswagen Golf GTI racer keen to extend his one-off appearance at Silverstone into a full-season assault on the UK’s first TCR title.
The Guru’s Thoughts…
The first weekend of the 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship got off to a good start with 13 entries and some good racing on the Silverstone National Circuit, despite the challenging Easter weather conditions.
The circuit crowds were treated to two good races with action in each one, however one criticism about those races was the fact that they are 30 mins long. This is something that will crop up again each weekend.
However the longer races introduce the tyre wear strategy into the mix as well. Otherwise the series had a good opening weekend and also a good support act as well. Lessons have been learned and will be put in place for next year.
One other downside was the changing of the Test Day date however this was delayed due to Drivers and Teams wanting to get final deals and liveries in place. Understandable from their point of view, but a frustration for the fans who were hopeful of a similar BTCC- like experience of a Media Day.
For me, the best part is where the public are given access to the race one grid before the races gets underway. That’s a good move and will continue as part of the TCR / TCR UK tradition.
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 & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.
All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Championship
Until next time, all the best!