Australian Touring Car Racing fans could not be more excited when the seven-round calendar of events was released in November of 2018.
Now that the 2019 TCR race season is underway, we will be able to experience the turbocharged high-speed world-class racing events live and in person.
Whether you are already an avid racing fan or learning more about touring car racing, we promise you that this first season in Australia is going to gather the world’s best teams for an incredible season.
It is a man and mechanical muscle, on some of the most challenging tracks on the planet.
What is the Touring Car Racing Series?
There is an interesting backstory to how TCR regulations were created.
If you are a racing fan, you are familiar with Marcello Lotti, a legend and former FIA World Touring Car Championship Manager.
Prior to FIA TCC, Mr. Lotti was also the Manager of the European Touring Car Championship; he was released from the contract in 2014 for having a ‘difference of opinion’ regarding how the Championship event would be coordinated.
For many experienced racing fans, it means that the Touring Car Racing Series will be a true measure of quality design, engineer and race car driver skill. That promises each race will be pure competition, and unforgettable to watch.
The Touring Car Racing Series was quietly developed starting in 2015, as the ultimate on-track international performance vehicle competition.
The manufacturers themselves are not permitted to submit entries, but they may support the professional and private teams that competitively drive their vehicles with sponsorship.
This helps to level the playing field and track, for all teams in TCR racing.
Qualifying High-Performance TCR Cars
The touring car specifications were first introduced in 2014, and the standards are now used in a variety of performance racing series around the globe.
All TCR cars must be 4 or 5 door production vehicles, or essentially, they must start as the kind of car that could be purchased by a consumer and non-professional driver.
The TCR car is powered by2.0-liter turbocharged engines, and each vehicle must pass an evaluation called the Balance of Performance (BoP), to ensure that any adjustments are within regulations without unpermitted technical enhancements.
These guidelines help ensure that each vehicle is almost precisely matched to other competitors in the race, which means that the teams must rely on skill, experience, and strategy to place in the top ranks of each TCR series event.
Average torque for most TCR vehicles can exceed 300 pound-feet at 3,800 rpm, with maximum power at 6,200 rpm.
The steering for these vehicles is usually rack and pinion, with electrical power supplementing for tight turns. The engine runs hot on the track!
Each car typically relies on a homologated catalytic converter exhaust, which must also be built from standard production parts.
The professional vehicles are valued anywhere from $150,000 to over $300,000. We know you are dying to ask, so we’ll just tell you; the average TCR vehicle on track can reach speeds of over 160 kilometers.
As you can imagine, the spoiler on the back of each TCR car is mandatory, for stability and safety at ludicrous speed.
Each TCR car must also meet standard production guidelines and restrictions, including a production model gearbox for shifting.
Drawing the Next Generation of Australian TCR Drivers
Who are some of the most talented performance racers we should be cheering for in Australia?
We mentioned that while teams may be sponsored by the manufacturers of the models they compete with, each racing team is composed of private members.
Wall Racing has three cars that are competing in the Australian TCR 2019 series. John Martin (Number 24) is the driver behind the wheel of the Honda Civic Type R TCR vehicle. Team member Tony D’Alberto (Number 50) is also driving a Honda Civic Type R TCR.
Follow the team and hear their comments about each race on Facebook.
The youngest member of the Wall Racing team is a fast-rising star driver, named Jordan Michels. He is a 21-year-old man from New Zealand, and was drafted to drive the Number 38 car, which is also a Honda Civic Type R. Previous to joining the Wall Racing Team, Michels drove a Hyundai i30 N in two New Zealand endurance series races, with legend Gene Rollinson.
Female racing fans will be cheering for Molly Taylor, who was picked up by the Kelly Racing Team. Taylor will be driving Number 6, a Subaru WRX STI TCR vehicle. Molly Taylor has made her circuit series debut in 2019 and has been identified as a serious contender, having risen from the ranks as a successful competitive rally driver.
Chelsea Angelo is another talented female driver that was recruited by Kelly Racing. She will be driving Number 37 for the team, in a futuristic-looking Opel Astra TCR car. Matt Stone Racing has driver Alexandra Whitley in Number 35, a blue and white Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Other Australian TCR teams to watch out for include Aaron Cameron (Number 2) and Rik Breukers (Number 22) for the Melbourne Performance Centre, Chris Pither (Number 33) and James Moffat (Number 34) for the Garry Rogers Motorsport team.
Who do you think will place in the top four this year? Tell us which team you will be cheering for, in the comments below.
Will TCR Australia Replace Supercar Events?
There is a bit of a squabble currently going on between Australian Supercar race organizers, and the TCR Australia event managers, according to a recent article published on July 16, 2019, on Auto Action (Australia).
According to the magazine sources, Supercars moved to block TCR Australia and their bid to gain a spot on the Adelaide 400 undercard, claiming a breach of contract.
It is also reported that Supercars moved to actively discourage V8 drivers from participating in the new Australian TCR series.
While there are enough racing fans to support all events, one of the competitive advantages for teams in the TCR series, is that the vehicle specification controls make it much more affordable to participate.
Another potential threat to the Supercar series (which may explain the resistance to the TCR series), is that the events are shown live on free network SBS, with no-cost access to all racing fans.
Did we mention that the TCR series is already talking about adding electric-only performance vehicles to the racing circuit?
They are innovating new ways to attract racing fans in Australia, with riveting, white knuckle racing and competitive regulations that give every team an equal chance to demonstrate skill.
We don’t think either series will replace the other, but we expect them to be highly competitive at TCR draws new fans, particularly with the next generation of young drivers with proven international rally success. Read this article for more information on the dispute between the Supercar and Australia TCR series franchises.
Want to follow along and cheer for your favourite teams or drivers during the first Australian TCR series year? Bookmark the calendar of racing events here.
And to get a taste of the thrill that professional race car drivers experience, book your racing experience with Fastrack V8 Race today.