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TCR: ready to race?


The UK’s version of TCR touring car championship has been given the green light for a 2018 launch, and RacingLine's right at the forefront.

The TCR concept is causing quite a buzz around the world’s motorsport paddocks. Despite being a relatively new formula, only just finishing its 3rd year, it seems to have hit really the spot amongst drivers, teams and promoters all over the globe.

Plans for a TCR series in the UK have taken a major step forward with the MSA’s Motor Racing Championship Control Panel giving its approval to a TCR UK championship in 2018. The series will be made up of 6 or 7 rounds with each event consisting of two races.

We’re particularly excited by this development – as RacingLine is responsible for Volkswagen Motorsport’s Golf GTI TCR racer, SEAT Sport's Leon SCR and the Audi Sport's RS3 LMS cars in this championship.

The UK series will join a list of championships around the world that have adopted the TCR sporting and technical regulations. It’s still quite a new formula. The TCR concept originally started in 2014, meaning the TCR International Series now getting to the end of its third season.

The success of the TCR concept can be measured by the ever-growing list of eligible cars that have been developed – alongside our SEAT León, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Audi RS 3 LMS, Honda Civic Type-R, Opel Astra, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Subaru WRX STi, Peugeot 308 Racing Cup, Kia cee’d and Ford Focus, while Hyundai has already started the homologation process for its i30 N TCR.

TCR was designed as a low-cost alternative touring car formula. Of course, everything is relative in motorsport, meaning that ‘low cost’ in this context means the pricing of new TCR cars is anywhere between €100k to €150k. That’s before you take into account any sort of running costs. Or damage.. But, compared to championships like the British Touring Car Championship and the World Touring Car Championship, that pricing is considered quite a bargain.

What we really like about the TCR car specification (governed of course by pages and pages of regulations and homologation documents) is that, underneath, they are still pretty close to the cars we all drive and love. Much as with the road cars, the Golf, the Leon and the Audi TCR cars all share the same mechanical and drivetrain parts under their skins.

So each Golf, Seat or Audi TCR car starts with a pretty standard bodyshell and 2.0 TSI engine. Under the bonnet, the familiar two-­litre turbo engine generates up to 350 hp (257 kW) and boasts about 420 Nm of torque. The engines and turbos are sealed and completely standard, with only the Oil Management Kit fitted to protect the engine from oil surge. Up front, the radiator and intercooler is remounted to make use of the improved airflow up through the bonnet scoop. Beyond that, it’s pretty standard. We love seeing motorsport formulas that do have a direct relevance to the road car – and TCR is definitely one of them.

One of the major differences in the drivetrain is the use of a full racing Sadev sequential gearbox. There is a DSG version available too (at a full €20,000 less), but that is reckoned to be a couple of seconds slower per lap than the sequential ‘box cars, so really only suited to endurance racing where the ease of driving, avoidance of any mis-shifting issues and general durability of the DSG is desirable.

Visually, the VWG TCR cars differ through their 10x18” rims and a body that is roughly 15 centimetres wider than the production car. An adjustable, aluminium rear wing and deep front splitter – standard for all TCR cars – give greater stability on track, and the chance for drivers and engineers to perfect their set up. As part of the body preparation, the inner and outer rear wheel arches are cut right back and enlarged before the outer bodywork goes on. This allows such wide wheels, and such a low ride height without any clearance problems.

Among the features guaranteeing the driver maximum safety are racing seats with head protectors, a multi-point welded in roll cage, and an FIA-approved safety tank.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to know anything more about the world of TCR.

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