As the build-up to the 2016 TCR Season comes continues, here’s a Round-up of all the news so far in 2016…
The first TCR winners of the 2016 season
A SEAT León run by Lebanon’s Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing took the first victory of the 2016 TCR season.
The Spanish car emerged as the winner of the TCR class in the 24 Hours of Dubai, opening event of the 24H Series. Four drivers shared the wheel during the long distance race: Phil Quaife from England and the Moutran brothers, Ramzi, Sami and Nabil.
The quartet covered 524 laps of the Dubai International Autodrome and was classified 32nd overall amongst the 100 competitors. They also finished best of the touring cars, ahead of more powerful machines such as BMW M3 and Ford V8.
Two other SEAT cars were classified second and third in the TCR class: that of Zest Racecar Engineering driven by Hack-Wheeler-Astin-Orrock and the NKPP Racing’s of Bassem-Hilders-Grouwels-de Heus.
The next round of the series – the Mugello 12 Hours – will take place on March 19th.
2016 TCR International Series’ Technical & Sporting regulations unveiled
The Technical and Sporting regulations of the 2016 TCR International Series have been unveiled. Compared to last year’s successful inaugural season, only a few minor changes have been introduced.
The Technical Regulations now explicitly ban driving aid systems such as ABS, ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and TCS (Traction Control System). The minimum weight of the cars has been reduced by 10 kilograms, from 1260 to 1250 kg for the cars fitted with a production gearbox and from 1295 to 1285 kg for those fitted with a racing gearbox (all weights include the driver). The use of a 100-litre fuel tank is now allowed.
The Balance of Performance may now be adjusted only by changing the minimum weight in a range between +70 kg and -20 kg or by implementing the engine performance level by monitored electronic components. The ride height and engine restrictors are no longer adjustable elements of the Balance of Performance.
The Sporting Regulations retain the event format, with one Qualifying session split into Q1 and Q2, the top-ten reverse grid for the second race and the race distance of 60 kilometres. That format is subject to adjustments when the series is part of a Formula One event. As in 2015, 30, 20 and 10 kilos of success ballast will be imposed on the first three drivers classified in each event by taking into account the sum of the points scored.
New for this season is the introduction of a ‘Car Model of the Year’ title that will be awarded by adding the points scored by the best two cars of each model in each qualifying session and race.
Italian Championship for TCR cars launched in Monza
The 2016 Italian Touring Car Championship (CIT) was successfully launched yesterday during a crowded press conference in the Media Centre of the Monza circuit. From this year the championship adopts the TCR technical regulations for its main category, with the addition of a second ‘entry-level’ class for the new TCS cars.
A several cars of both classes were exhibited in the paddock, while representatives of many tuners, teams and dealers attended the conference together with members of the press.
Roberto Marazzi of ACI Sport Italia commented: “There is a lot of enthusiasm as it was proved by today’s attendance. We have already seen a number of cars that have been built and are ready to race, while others are currently being completed in the workshops. This is the reason why we have elected to fix the opening event of the championship at Monza, on May 21, together with the TCR International Series.”
The 2016 CIT will be run on seven race meetings: Monza (21 May) Misano (12 June), Magione (3 July), Mugello (17 July), Vallelunga (4 September), Imola (25 September) and Adria (9 October).
Mat’o Homola joins the TCR International Series
Mat’o Homola, one of the most talented and successful Slovak race drivers, twice European vice champion, will join the TCR International Series for 2016 with a SEAT León run by Hungary’s B3 Racing Team. B3Racing have already confirmed Serbian Driver Dusan Borkovic for the 2016 season, giving the team a strong lineup.
Homola – still only 21 years old despite a long career in motorsport already – is extremely excited: “I’m very happy that we succeeded in setting up this programme. At the end of the last season we evaluated the options for 2016, as I wanted to move to a global series. Eventually the TCR International Series proved an easy choice: it has grown up consistently in its first season, provides races on great circuits and high-level competition. And on top of this, it permits me to keep on driving the SEAT León that will be updated to 2016 specifications, so I can build on my experience with this car. This is an enormous challenge for me and my goals are to show my skills and to successfully represent Slovakia. Even though I will be a newcomer to the championship, I want to win as much as I can.”
WestCoast Racing calls for high-calibre drivers for 2016 TCR International Series
WestCoast Racing will enter the 2016 TCR International Series with a trio of JAS Motorsport-built ‘Step 2’ Honda Civic TCRs and the team is actively searching for the highest calibre drivers who have the ability to improve on its winning record during the forthcoming season.
The Swedish outfit was the most polished team in the TCR International paddock at the end of last year, but, with a higher level of competition and more manufacturers entering the fray, it is stepping up its game in every respect.
Despite notching up several race wins, podium finishes and pole positions during its maiden international foray in the new-for-2015 TCR International Series, WestCoast Racing and JAS Motorsport haven’t been resting on their laurels and all concerned have been mightily impressed by the latter’s push to bridge the gap to the leading SEAT contingent during an intense winter testing programme.
“JAS Motorsport has racked up thousands of kilometres over the winter months in a valiant attempt to bridge the gap to SEAT, which began development of its TCR car more than a year in advance,” said WestCoast Racing/Sportpromotion Team Manager, James Nixon. “The results we achieved on-track in 2015 speak volumes about the Honda Civic TCR’s inherent speed, but JAS Motorsport has been trying hard to pull back SEAT’s advantage in terms of reliability and testing has been hugely positive in that regard.”
WestCoast Racing is firmly established as the leading Swedish touring car team having accumulated several championship titles over the course of two decades in the STCC and, in addition to its TCR programme, a collaboration with Volvo, co-managed by Cyan Racing will build on its strength and further enhance its reputation in Scandinavian motorsport.
“We are delighted to support Cyan Racing in its STCC programme and we look forward to the 2016 season,” said WestCoast Racing CEO, Dick Jönsson-Wigroth. “This is a cooperation that we hope to evolve for the future.”
Bas Koeten Racing Reveals 2016 TCR Plans
Since the beginning of 2015 offers Bas Koeten Racing already has three SEAT Leon Cup Racers who were used in, among other TCR International Series and 24h Series last season.
Bas Koeten: “We made a lot of mileage on more than 10 different circuits in Europe. This has given us a lot of experience in running the cars. We have a lot of adjustment data and data so that we are able together with the drivers to get the maximum from the car. Moreover, we have already invested a lot in the beginning of 2015 in a large amount of spare parts, allowing us to offer a high degree of continuity with our drivers. We have good experience with the SEAT Leon Cup Racers, both in terms of performance and in terms of reliability and cost. The support we will issue SEAT Sport is no longer good. In a few weeks we add a new SEAT Leon Cup Racer to the fleet, the fourth in total. “
On the line-up for next season is currently underway by the crew of Bas Koeten Racing.
Jelle Coots: “We are in discussions with several riders from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg on cooperation in the coming season. Bas Schouten, last year our competitor in some matches of the TCR International Series, we want to come in TCR Benelux. In addition, we also look to him for opportunities to expand this with the TCR European Trophy. Our goal is to put two cars in TCR Benelux. We are convinced that we can offer an interesting package by our scale and experience to our riders for a real budget. Our team works like a well oiled machine: crew, logistics, fleet, knowledge, hospitality, we have everything lined up. Moreover, we have already ready the cars for TCR Benelux, so we can switch quickly if riders are seriously interested. “
Thai star Sritrai enters in the TCR Asia Series
After a stunning debut in the 2015 TCR Asia Series at home in Thailand, local hero Tin Sritrai has confirmed his entry in the 2016 TCR Asia Series at the wheel of a Honda Civic TCR run by Team Thailand.
Debuting for the Asia Racing Team in a Seat León at the penultimate round of the 2015 TCR Asia Series, Sritrai immediately impressed, the 26 year-old mixing it with the established international stars, before claiming a second place and a victory in the two Buriram races.
“It was the first time for me in a car like that at Buriram, but it was an experience I enjoyed very much,”Sritrai said.
David Sonenscher, the promoter of the TCR Asia Series commented: “To see Sritrai and Team Thailand already confirm their entry for this season amongst some of the top teams in Asia, proves the benefit of the internationally-linked series for rising young stars in the Asian region.”
The series will kick off at the Korea International Circuit on 15 May and then will visit Buriram, Sepang, Singapore, Zhejiang and Macau. In the rounds of Singapore and Macau the TCR Asia competitors will race together with their fellow colleagues of the TCR International Series.
The Giulietta TCR was successfully tested at Mugello
The Romeo Ferraris-built Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR is undergoing an intensive test programme. After visiting the Tazio Nuvolari circuit last week, the Italian car spent the last weekend at Mugello.
Despite unfavorable weather conditions, the Giulietta completed a great deal of laps while the team focused on engine set-up and mapping.
“The car has proved to be very quick. Its speed even exceeded our expectations. On top of this, the Giulietta is very balanced, which resulted in respectable lap times despite the wet track and the low temperatures, “said the company’s CEO Mario Ferraris who was at the wheel during the test.
Liqui Moly Team Engstler confirms Mikhail Grachev
The partnership between Liqui Moly Team Engstler and Mikhail Grachev will continue in the 2016 TCR International Series. The German team has confirmed that the Russian will drive a second Volkswagen Golf TCR, alongside newly signed Davit Kajaia from Georgia.
Grachev had started the 2015 season at the wheel of an Audi TT before switching to a SEAT León and finally to the VW Golf with which he claimed two podium results by finishing third in his home event at Sochi and at Macau. Eventually the Russian ranked a brilliant eighth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Team Manager Kurt Treml said: “We are happy to continue with Mikhail as we feel that in his second year he will use the advantage of knowing the tracks and the car. Last year he was forced to change three different cars, which did not help to get confidence, but he always gave his best. We trust our driver setup and will start testing soon.”
And Grachev echoed: “Last season was not an easy one, neither for me nor for the team, but together we worked hard and achieved pretty good results! We have great atmosphere inside the team: mechanics and engineers are professionals, the VW Golf TCR improves day by day thanks to the development by Volkswagen Motorsport and I have more experience in such a competitive championship. We have everything to make a huge step forward this season and to fight for the very top positions.”
Josh Files Joins Team Target Competition for ADAC TCR Germany
Former UK Clio Cup Champion Josh Files has confirmed on Twitter that he has signed for 2015 TCR International Series Teams Champions, Team Target Competition to take part in the first ever season of ADAC TCR Germany, at the wheel of the new Opel Astra TCR.
Files took part in the 2015 TCR International Series Finale held at Macau last year, at the wheel of the Campos Racing run Opel Astra. However, despite a lack of track time and a big accident just after the Mandarin Corner, the young Brit still impressed on his debut.
The move also seems to confirm that Team Target Competition will be using the brand new Opel Astra TCR car for 2016.
No doubt there will be many more announcements to come and I will try to share as many as possible both on here and in the TCR Talk Facebook Group.
All the best!!