TCR Talk – The Brits Abroad: Howson and KCMG prepare for TCR Japan Series debut

During 2019, TCR Talk will be following the progress of the various British drivers racing in TCR Series abroad. We start this series off with Matt Howson, who is competing in the new for 2019 TCR Japan Touring Car Series for KCMG Honda…

The 2019 TCR Japan Touring Car Series

The TCR Japan Touring Car Series gets underway this weekend at the Autopolis circuit, heralding a new era of Touring Car competition in the land of the rising sun.

Its been a very long time since there have been 2-litre touring cars racing in Japan, with the All Japan Touring Car Championship being home to SuperTouring regulations back in the late 1990s.

This weekend the sound of 2 litre turbocharged Touring cars returns as Japan enjoys the thrill of TCR racing on home soil with a 17 car entry list confirmed representing four different brands.

With the TCR Concept reaching its fifth year of active competition, TCR Japan is one of several new series to get underway this year and for the British TCR fans, we have a driver in action this weekend to follow and cheer on: Matt Howson

Matt Howson. Credit: KCMG / TCR Japan

Matt Howson is joined in the team this weekend by former WTCC racer Yukinori ‘Yuke’ Taniguchi with both men driving the Honda Civic Type R TCR for the KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG).

That’s right, the very same team that are also running both Attila Tassi and Tiago Monteiro in the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) and the reigning TCR Europe Touring Car Series teams champions.

So this weekend is both a start for TCR Japan and for Howson and Taniguchi to get some touring car mileage under their belts.

Howson, who is the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 winner, is looking forward to getting to grips with the sprint format of TCR after recently contesting the first two rounds of the 2019 Super Taikyu Endurance Championship.

Matt Howson. Credit: KCMG / Super Taikyu Series

“I’m extremely excited to get the TCR Japan season started at Autopolis, a circuit I haven’t driven but always wanted to! Pre-season testing has shown the KCMG Honda Civic Type R has real pace and we expect to be contenders all year,” said Howson.

“It’s a weekend of firsts, as KCMG and I are new to touring car racing, so I’m hoping for a solid start to set us up nicely for a championship challenge.”

Taniguchi contested the World Touring Car Championship on-and-off from 2008 to 2014, with a best result of seventh at the 2011 Race of Japan at Suzuka. He will drive KCMG’s #72 Honda Civic.

“I am very excited to return to touring car racing in my home country. TCR Japan is a great concept and I’m sure it will be very successful,” explained Taniguchi

“KCMG are an experienced outfit and the Honda Civic Type R is a very quick car, so I feel I’m in the right place to compete at a good level this weekend. Thank you to everyone at the team for the opportunity, I’m looking forward to getting out on track.”

Matt Howson. Credit: KCMG / Super Taikyu Series

TCR Talk will be following Matt Howson with great interest as he competes in one of the newest TCR Series launching this year as well as continuing with his Super Taikyu program for the same team.

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 The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

All images are used in this blog are courtesy of KCMG / TCR Japan unless otherwise credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

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