New TCR Class Debuts with Five Auto Manufacturers at COTA Set for Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix March 23-25
Alfa Romeo, Audi, Honda, Hyundai & Volkswagen Ready for TCR Doubleheader
AUSTIN, Tex. – The new TCR class debuts in the Pirelli World Challenge road racing series at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on March 23-25 and the interest as well as intrigue for these little Touring Car machines has been a popular aspect to the inaugural event.
After three years of competition in Europe and other worldwide locations, the TCR division comes to the Pirelli World Challenge with five auto manufacturers set to compete in the opening events at COTA with two 40-minute sprint races set for Saturday (March 24) and Sunday (March 25).
The TCR championship was founded by former Touring Car championship manager Marcello Lotti in 2015 and has been marketed as a cost-effective alternative of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). This exciting TCR racing features C-segment hatchbacks production-based touring cars. In 2017, PWC announced the inclusion of the TCR in its Touring Car season championship.
“We saw the growth of TCR racing around the world,” said Jim Jordan, PWC Director of Marketing and Communications. “And many of the auto manufacturers asked us about running the cars with the Pirelli World Challenge. We included the cars in the TC class last year with some restrictions and the fans really liked them. We worked with TCR International and IMSA to have a working association for the next three years in TCR. We’re excited about the new class.”
Some 14 cars are entered in the opening TCR weekend with some outstanding teams and drivers, many familiar to PWC racing fans, set to debut the TCR category on Friday (March 23) when the state-of-the-art racing facility opens for practice at 11:35 a.m. CDT.
Cars set to do battle at the Austin 3.27-mile, 20-turn road circuit are the Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR, Audi Sport RS2 LMS TCR, Honda Civic Type-R TCR, Hyundai i30 N TCR and Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
Teams and drivers scheduled to compete at COTA include RealTime Racing (Ryan Eversley), Bryan Herta Autosport (Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis), Copeland Motorsports (Jarett Andretti), Compass Racing (J.T. Coupal), Murillo Racing (Matt Fassnacht), Heinlein Racing Development (Anthony Geraci and Dwight Merriman), FCP Euro by HRD (Michael Hurcyn and Nate Vincent), The Racing Company (Jerimy Daniel), Alfatcr.USA (Martin Jensen) and TFB Performance (Mason Filippi).
Several of the TCR team owners are no strangers to winning operations and they are anxious to join the new Touring Car class in 2018.
“RealTime has a long history of success in production-based cars, so we are looking forward to joining what looks to be serious competition as the TCR cars go head-to-head in America for the first time this season,” team owner Peter Cunningham said. “When the opportunity with the Honda Civic Type R presented itself, the move made sense. We are very happy to join the fray of this growing worldwide category.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about our new relationship with Hyundai N in this highly competitive manufacturer-based Pirelli World Challenge TCR class,” said Bryan Herta, president and CEO, Bryan Herta Autosport. “Having witnessed the untapped potential of i30 N TCR race platform for this series, we’re more than confident we can leverage the strength of Hyundai’s racing and performance groups to great success in the 2018 season.”
“The new TCR division looks to be gaining serious momentum around the world and I’m very excited to be a part of it in North America,” said Mark Wilkins, a PWC winner in GT and GTS action. “I believe we have a solid team with Bryan Herta Autosport and teaming with a young star like Michael Lewis makes us a strong combination for the 2018 season. I’m anxious to get to COTA and starting the racing.”
“I’m very happy to continue my relationship with RealTime Racing and Honda Performance Development,” said Ryan Eversley, a winner in various series including the PWC GT ranks. “If you look at RealTime’s history, they’ve had tremendous success with front-wheel drive touring cars, so being able to race one for them is what I’ve dreamed about when I started out as a racecar driver. It’s very exciting.”
TCR action begins Friday with two practice rounds followed by qualifying set for Saturday (March 24) at 10:55 a.m. CDT and Round 1 (40-minute race) at 4:55 p.m. Sunday’s Round 2 event will take place at 12:25 p.m. All of the 2018 TCR events will be live streamed on the Pirelli World Challenge website, www.world-challenge.com as well as post-produced highlight telecasts on the CBS Sports Network.