Darelle Wilson competed in one of the most recognisable cars of the first ever season of the TCR UK Series, where he drove the family-run Vauxhall Astra TCR in its bright green livery.
Whilst preparations are underway to compete in the 2019 season, Wilson himself has opened up about how his journey to joining the TCR UK Series took place. The TCR Talk Blog will be sharing this journey on a regular basis.
In this second part of the story, the Vauxhall driver explains how he secured funding to buy the Opel Astra TCR and was able to finally get to grips with the car during the first weekend of the TCR UK Series.
Having tested the Opel Astra TCR in Germany, it was already clear that Darelle wanted to race the car in the UK. However, as always, to go racing you first need some funding…
“On returning from Germany I was buzzing with the excitement of racing in TCR for the inaugural season. But the reality of it was, that after working out the minimum budget to do the series we were a long way off being able to raise that sort of money,” explains Wilson.
“Stefan from Kissling Motorsport came up with a payment plan which would involve an initial deposit, another payment before the car was delivered and a final payment before June.”
In order to raise the money to buy the car, tough decisions had to made and this process involved the Volkswagen Scirocco that Darelle had driven to end the 2017 season on a high note.
“We decided to sell the VW Scirocco however this would mean we had nothing to fall back on should the TCR plan not come to fruition. With the decision made I sent the deposit to Kissling & they set about building the car.”
With the Astra being built in Germany, there was still the matter of getting funds together to racing in the full season of TCR UK. Fortunately, a familiar Saviour was about to save the day…
“At this stage, we had secured a few small promises of sponsorship but nothing major. Then I had a phone call from Martin Depper to ask could we run a car in the VW for him,” explained Darelle.
“I suggested that we use the Scirocco and a test day at Donington was quickly arranged. Thankfully everything went well and Martin agreed on a package to race our car for the season!”
And just like that, the funds were secured!
With the funds in place, Darelle contacted Kissling Motorsport and confirmed that they would make the second payment before the Official press day for TCR UK. His only request was to have the car delivered to Silverstone when it was ready.
After a great effort from Kissling Motorsport, the car arrived at Silverstone on Thursday 29th March, which was the day before the Official test.
Taylex Display & Exhibition arrived a little later to wrap the car and apply graphics so the car would appear in the familiar DW Racing team colours for Friday’s running of the cars.
Come Friday and the team were informed not to start the car until the technicians arrived from Germany as this would be the official hand over of the car to them. Unfortunately, their flight to the UK was delayed and the team could do nothing but wait.
Once Darelle was in the car, it was a realisation of all of the hard work put in so far.
“During the day we managed to get 2 laps behind the camera car with the other cars which was both a relief and a pain at the same time,” he explains.
“Yes we had made it !! but I wanted to go FASTER!!”
At this stage, Darelle and the team had managed to get the car to Silverstone but they were also broke…
“The car had arrived with Hankook tyres that were used in the ADAC TCR Germany Series and the championship organisers would not let us do the morning warm-up on them as TCR UK uses Yokohama’s.”
“At this stage, We could only afford 1 set of slick tyres & 1 set of wet tyres so we chose to wait until the start of qualifying to use them.”
With the car setup at Silverstone and only having tyres for both Qualifying and the two races (Where the conditions were very mixed!) the next challenge was how would Darelle fair in a brand new car on tyres he’d never tried against a field of debutants in the Opening races of TCR UK?
To Be Continued…
Darelle has made it very clear that without the support from Martin Depper, Taylex Display & Exhibition and his other backers that it wouldn’t have been possible for him and the family to run the car in 2018. To everyone involved, he passes on his heartfelt thanks and gratitude.
My thanks to Darelle for sharing this journey with me and opening up on how difficult it can be to go racing in any series with a new car.
I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started in 2018.
Until next time, all the best!