2018 TCR UK Series: Brands Hatch

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship moved on to Brands Hatch for its third weekend of racing and saw an increased entry list as well as some interested observers who just failed to make the entry in time…

The biggest news was that between Knockhill and Brands Hatch Laser Tools Racing decided to leaves the series, which left a question on the participation of the Alfa Romeo’s. This was soon answered with DPE Motorsport (who originally purchased the Alfa’s and announced their participation) confirming the cars would be a season long entry with Robert Gilmour brought in to race the second car.

There was also a provisional entry list that alluded to a potential 17 car entry, however due to a lack of funds/time/resources, these entries did not make it to the grid. One of the provisional entries was for BTCC runner up Sam Tordoff…

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Brands Hatch:

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Daniel Lloyd secures pole position for the opening TCR UK Series race at Brands Hatch.

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Saturday---2018 UK Brands Hatch, 23 Daniel Lloyd_2

A quickest time of 48.483 seconds around the 1.2 mile Indy Circuit configuration on his final run meant the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR racer and championship leader headed up the front row alongside Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor, who enjoyed a strong start to life with the Honda Civic Type R FK7 in second, three tenths adrift.

Strong performances from Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman put the sister WestCoast Racing machines into third and fifth respectively, with Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR separating the pair as he chases a season-best result from fourth.

BMR Autoglym Academy’s Josh Price was another to improve in the second half of the session and will start the FK2 model from sixth, whilst the second Pyro-run FK7 of Finlay Crocker and championship newcomer Robert Gilmour (DPE Motorsport) share the fourth row behind in close company.

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Saturday---2018 UK Brands Hatch, 76 Robert Gilmour_2

Row five was an all-CUPRA and Maximum Motorsport affair, with Stewart Lines heading Carl Swift, both of whom have now made the switch to a sequential gearbox from a DSG unit, and the latter will start the second race from a reverse-grid pole position.

Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Howard Fuller marked his racing return to Brands Hatch with eleventh, half a second clear of Alex Morgan as the Renault Mégane TCR makes its competitive debut in the UK.

Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra lines up in thirteenth, a further tenth of a second behind, with Derek Palmer set to round out the field after a mechanical issue prevented his Alfa Romeo Giulietta from setting a fast lap.

Lloyd fights back to win fifth consecutive TCR UK race

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Race 1---2018 UK Brands Hatch R1, 32 Oliver Taylor_1

WestCoast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd claimed victory in the opening TCR UK championship race at Brands Hatch after recovering to edge out a fast-starting Ollie Taylor.

The Pyro Motorsport racer made the better start from the front row and edged ahead in the Honda Civic Type R FK7 on the outside line heading into Paddock Hill Bend. Drama ensued behind the pair as Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) moved up to third and then made light contact with Lloyd’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR at Druids, before sliding a little wide at Graham Hill Bend and allowing the top two to escape up the road.

Though Taylor held firm in his defence of the lead, Lloyd would not be denied and pounced on an opening at Clearways to reclaim top spot and then extended his advantage to 1.8 seconds before the end. The result increases his advantage in the championship to 80 points, whilst second for Taylor means he moves up to the same position in the standings.

Josh Price (BMR Autoglym Academy) looked to have held onto fourth after an absorbing race-long contest with Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing), but disaster struck on the run to the chequered flag and the Honda Civic FK2 slowed, allowing the TCR Scandinavia racer to seize a strong result on her debut at the 1.2 mile Indy circuit.

Another drama struck the CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) on the formation lap as an issue with the air jacks forced him to a halt, but swift work by his mechanics allowed him to make the start, and he recovered in composed fashion to post a season-best result of fifth. Jessica’s sibling Andreas survived a sideways moment after contact at Surtees to put all three WestCoast Racing machines in the top six, ahead of the Pyro Motorsport machine of Finlay Crocker.

Carl Swift claimed eighth and looked to capitalise on pole position in the reverse-grid race as he chases a maiden victory in the series, with Price eventually crossing the line ninth and Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) rounding out the top ten after edging out a thrilling scrap with Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra.

Alex Morgan was forced to retire the Renault Megane TCR on its competitive debut on domestic shores, but gathered valuable data on the car and will look for a better turn of luck in the second contest later today.

Daniel Lloyd and Jessica Bäckman give WestCoast a 1-2 finish

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Race 2---2018 UK Brands Hatch R2, 65 Howard Fuller_1

WestCoast Racing secured a 1-2 finish in the final TCR UK Touring Car Championship contest at Brands Hatch, with championship leader Daniel Lloyd taking a sixth victory in a row to extend his lead in the standings.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR started on the fifth row of the grid but made a strong start and cut through the field in sublime fashion, eventually besting a stoic defence from the CUPRA of Carl Swift to seize the advantage into Graham Hill Bend. The result extends Lloyd’s advantage at the top of the table to 99 points.

Team-mate Jessica Bäckman followed Lloyd through to complete a strong result for the Swedish outfit – her first podium in the championship – with Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) emerging on top of a duel for the final spot on the rostrum with the sister Maximum Motorsport machine of Stewart Lines.

Swift drove valiantly but was unfortunate to pull off at Surtees in the closing stages with a suspected front-right suspension problem, whilst contact between Lines and Andreas Bäckman on the exit of Druids similarly prevented the latter from challenging for silverware.

Ollie Taylor saw out a strong weekend with fifth in the Pyro Motorsport-run Honda Civic Type R FK7, though team-mate Finlay Crocker’s obvious pace went unrewarded and a spin at McLarens forced the Scottish racer into the pits and out of contention.

Darelle Wilson put in a season-best showing in the Vauxhall Astra, claiming sixth ahead of Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR, which started well but fell back and eventually took seventh via a trip to the pit lane for a tyre change.

In a race of high attrition Swift came next ahead of Backman, with Crocker, Josh Price’s Honda Civic FK2 after a suspected recurring fuel surge and the Renault Megane TCR of Alex Morgan rounding out the field after continued mechanical struggles.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Saturday---2018 UK Brands Hatch, cars_1

Brands Hatch offered some great racing from the TCR UK Series and it also confirmed that the interest from Knockhill wasn’t just a one off. Whilst Laser Tools Racing decided to return to the BTCC, the cars remained in the series with DPE Motorsport, putting to bed the many rumours that the series was in trouble without the cars or team being involved.

Dont. Be. So. Bloody. Ridiculous!!!

With the arrival of Alex Morgan and the Renault Megane being developed by Wolf Power Racing for their ADAC TCR Germany campaign (the car is in its first year of development) and also the signal of intent from both Sam Tordoff and BMR Team Principal Warren Scott about wanting to take part, this showed that there are others out there watching with interest.

14 cars is a great entry list and even with the two Alfa Romeo’s not competing due to engine issues, 12 cars on track is still a good sign. I maintain that unless the series reaches the lows of TCR Italy in its first year (2 full season entries, 7 part time entries that did not race at every TCR Italy event…) then there is still a lot of hope for TCR UK.

Lets give it a bloody chance eh?

Finally I felt for Carl Swift. The Maximum Motorsport driver led the most laps of the year so far before Lloyd found a way past. It was great to see Swift holding and defending his line and retirement for the CUPRA driver was a poor reward for a podium that was waiting for him. Looking forward to more positive performances!

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Race 1---2018 UK Brands Hatch R1, 32 Oliver Taylor_2

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 Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

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