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TCR UK series debuts at Brands Hatch group test

Wednesday, November 29 2017

Racing drivers and fans got a taste of the new TCR UK touring car series at Brands Hatch today (Wednesday), with the category's first major test ahead of its debut season next year.

TCR is a new touring car series based on a successful formula using cars that resemble their road-going equivalents. TCR series have been established around the world, and the World Touring Car Championship is rumoured to be switching to the same regulations.

Seven manufacturers were represented at the test, and cars on track included the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Audi RS3, Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai i30 N, Opel Astra, SEAT Leon and VW Golf GTi. In addition, a TCR derivative of the brand new Civic Type R was on static display in the pits.

The test day gave prospective teams and drivers a chance to see what the new series is about ahead of its full debut in 2018. TCR UK will visit Brands Hatch on 2-3 June, Oulton Park on 4 August and Donington Park on 13-14 October.

Amongst the drivers present at the event was Touring Car legend Gabriele Tarquini. The British, European and World Touring Car champion has been making the most of his considerable tin top experience to develop the new Hyundai i30 N, and recently won a race in the TCR International Series in China. The Italian veteran was pleased to be back behind the wheel at Brands Hatch.

"It's a very nice car to drive," Tarquini said. "It's not far away from the latest WTCC car in terms of performance, because the power is in the car. We have over 350 horsepower and a lot of torque, and it is nice to drive and also the handling of the car is very nice. But this car is very cheap compared to WTCC and the saloon cars from the past. I started to develop this car from the end of March, and it's like my child. This is very close to the road car but you can change small things around suspension, and the work has paid off.

"It's always very nice to be back in England. I have really good memories from the past at Brands Hatch and I remember the 1994 BTCC season, our fantastic season with Alfa Romeo. Today a lot of people are around the cars, a lot of drivers, and you feel the passion of motorsport in England and especially Brands. I'm also very pleased to be back because I like Brands, especially the Indy track. The first corner for me is one of the best corners in the world because the feeling you can have, it's very tricky."

Mark James from TCR UK said: "It's been a brilliant day, Brands Hatch has looked after us very well. We knew that there would be a buzz about TCR, but until you do a day like this, it's us really thinking that's the way it's going to go, so it's underlined it today that manufacturers have come from right across Europe and the drivers and teams that have come have had a good day. I think the pace of the cars has surprised a few, we think that there have been orders placed, and today was not just about showing the cars, but the whole TCR concept, and I think a lot of people now understand a lot more about TCR and that's to the good. They've certainly had a chat to us about what we are offering, and we'll see what happens when the entries open in the next few weeks."

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Tickets to TCR UK races at MSV circuits will be on sale shortly.