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The Complete Guide to the TCR Australia Touring Car Racing Series

Australian Touring Car Racing fans could not have been more excited when the seven-round calendar of events was released recently.  Now that the 2022 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.  This international phenomenon now has a growing Australian fan base with a new telecast deal and championship rounds on all the best race tracks including Bathurst.

touring car racing series cars in action

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.

australian touring car racing series driver

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.  Right now, there are four international TCR Series that compete globally, with performance vehicles manufactured by Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Audi, Renault and many more.

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 or non-professional driver. So it’s more improved production rather than chassis cars.

yellow race car driving around the track

The TCR car is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, 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 kilometres.
  • As you can imagine, the spoiler on the back of each TCR car is mandatory, for stability and safety, generating downforce at high speed.

Each TCR car must also meet standard production guidelines and restrictions, including a production model gearbox for shifting.  The only improvements permitted are considerations for upgraded braking systems, necessary for safety on the high-speed racetracks like Sandown, The Bend and Bathurst.

white race car crossing the finish line

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.

Last year’s winner Chaz Mostert will be competing on the Melbourne Performance Centre (MPC) team, and will once again be one to look out for in his Audi RS 3 LMS. Chaz put together a stunning purple patch on the Mountain with a brilliant Bathurst 1000 win capped off by taking the TCR title also at Bathurst. Fellow MPC racer Luke King finished in a very respectable fourth place last year, so it will be fascinating to see if this pair can replicate those results.

touring car racing series driver celebrating

Nathan Morcom and Josh Bucham of HMO Customer racing both had top seven finishes last year, and they will both race once again in the Hyundai i30N. Can they do even better this year?

Other teams to look out for will be Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM). In the impressive Peugeot 308 TCR will be last year’s runner up Aaron Cameron, a driver who is showing great adaptability including starring in the S5000s. Having also finished third in 2019, will he finally be able to win the entire thing this year? Also on the GRM team will be Jordan Cox and Michael Caruso, driving the stunning Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce, and they will be an absolute must-watch.

Who do you think will place in the top four this year? Will we see the usual suspects, or will some new talent shine through?

 

HAVE TCR AUSTRALIA AND SUPERCARS SETTLED THEIR DIFFERENCES?

There had been a squabble between Australian Supercar race organizers, and the TCR Australia event managers previously, according to an article published on July 16, 2019, on Auto Action (Australia).  Back then, magazine sources explained that Supercars had moved to block TCR Australia and their bid to gain a spot on the Adelaide 400 undercard, claiming a breach of contract.

Additionally, it was believed Supercars had moved to actively discourage V8 drivers from participating in the new Australian TCR series.

The rivalry was expected to abate, when a consortium known as Racing Australia Consolidated Enterprises Ltd, or RACE bought Supercars Australia to essentially create a monopoly with Supercars and the ARG (Australian Racing Group) controlling the rest. With issues in late 2021 around Covid and the timing of the Bathurst 1000, a joint massive 6 day event was held in December. It now seems that RACE will continue to find the best media deals out there and let Supercars compete with ARG, with ARG having recently signed new broadcast deals with Stan Sport direct rivals of the Supercars networks. And while Repco took over the naming rights of the Bathurst 1000, Supercheap Auto jumped ship to secure naming rights for TCR.

Additionally, Supercars veteran Fabian Coulthard made his Supercheap Auto TCR Australia debut with the backing of Stan at the opening round of the SpeedSeries at AWC Race Tasmania on February 12-13, 2022.

man standing next to a blue race car

The new partnership will provide coverage of the SpeedSeries with every race streamed ad-free, live and on demand. This will include exclusive coverage of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship, Turtle Wax Trans Am Series, Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters, Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia, AWC Race Tasmania, Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour and Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.

Whilst motorsport has faced a great deal of financial uncertainty in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a great hope that the experience of the new RACE directors can cleverly manage both entities and create a viable and sustainable full suite of motorsport competition and entertainment on a national level. They are hoping the rivalry will capture a broad fan base and fuel a strong future for the sport.

TCR Calendar for 2022

touring car racing series cars with ocean

February 11-13Symmons Plains Raceway, TAS (Race Tasmania)

March 18-20 – Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC (Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships)

April 15-17Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit, NSW (Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour)

May 27-29 – Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW (Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships)

August 5-7 – Queensland Raceway, QLD (Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships)

September 16-18Sandown Raceway, VIC (Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships)

November 11-13Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit, NSW (Supercheap Auto Bathurst International)

 

To get a taste of the thrill that professional race car drivers experience, book your racing experience with Fastrack V8 Race today.

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