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What we know about The 2018 TCR UK Series so far…

With 2018 now upon us, the countdown is slowly ticking away as we head towards what will be the first ever season of the The TCR UK Series, one of the newest Domestic TCR Series that will get underway in just under 4 months time.

With the series due to get underway over the Easter weekend, there are a few details that we do know about this newest British Tintop series, so allow me educate you on what we know so far.

The Calendar…

Back in September 2017, the calendar for the first season of the TCR UK Series was announced and despite the release of the calendar, it has been stressed by the series organiser that it is provisional at this time.

Here are the dates:

  • Round 1 – March 31/April 1st (Silverstone)
  • Round 2 – May 12/13 (Knockhill)
  • Round 3 – June 2/3 (Brands Hatch)
  • Round 4 – July 14/15 (Castle Combe)
  • Round 5 – Aug 4th (Oulton Park)
  • Round 6 – Sept 8/9 (Croft)
  • Round 7 – Oct 13/14 (Donington)

 

What is clear though is that the organisers have taken the careful step to make sure that the first season doesn’t clash with its bigger rival: The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Whilst many have confirmed that TCR UK is not a direct threat to the BTCC, there are still fans and followers out there that feel it is.

To assist in helping any drivers and teams that may wish to have a dual programme in both series, the new calendar means that there are no clashing events and this give the British tintop fan twice the amount of Touring Car action to follow. Here are the dates:

The Support Series…

With the TCR UK Series being the headline act in 2018, this gives other British Motorsport series the opportunity to become a part of the first years activities. The following series will be on the Support Package at almost every TCR UK event:

The Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon TyresThe Mazda MX-5 SuperCupThe Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing CupThe Civic Cup Championship sponsored by Tegiwa. (Two rounds only)

What is clear with the championships involved is that they are all one make Championships where either a class structure is in place to balance performance and keep things fair or driver talent is a key factor as the cars are all the same apart from setup data or experience.

The TCR UK Taster/Test Day…

As TCR machinery has raced mostly in Europe or Internationally since the inception of the regulations in 2015, there hasn’t been much of a chance for drivers and teams to have a go at testing out the latest cars unless they compete in a race weekend as part of a one off experience.

The likes of 2017 TCR International Champion Jean-Karl Vernay, former World, European and British champion Gabriele Tarquini, TCR International driver Frédéric Vervisch, Jordi Gené, Thomas Jäger, triple TCR champion Josh Files and Mario Ferraris were on hand to assist potential buyers of cars for 2018. As well as taking the chance to sample this new machinery, there were several UK teams in attendance as well including Pyro Motorsport, SWR, Carl Swift and Motorbase.

What we don’t know yet…

Whilst there are many teams and drivers looking at running in the new TCR UK Series, one detail that is delaying a lot of confirmations is The Commercial Package the series will have in place.

As yet the BRSCC and TCR UK have yet to confirm what this package will be, however there is the fact that other TCR Series around the world utilise one common channel to allow fans to watch their races live and uninterrupted by adverts: YouTube.

Whilst some championships embargo countries that have the racing live on a specific TV channel for the entire season, TCR uses YouTube to great affect. When you consider that viewing is going the way of Netflix/Amazon etc with online streaming becoming more popular its not difficult to see why this works.

As an example of a solid commercial package, the BTCC has between 6-8 hours live coverage on ITV4 for each of its ten racedays every season. Whilst that is an established deal with TOCA, TCR UK will also need to have a solid TV presence as well to help get it off the ground.

Whilst BTCC fans can boast that they can say to interested parties, “Hey, there’s this great Racing series on TV that’s worth watching cos its way better than F1” (And it is…you know its true), TCR UK does not yet have that option, but time will tell.

With there being no calendar clashes next year with the BTCC, there is a great opportunity for the series to have live coverage without domestic competition on TV (potentially…other series may well clash). This is ideal for a channel looking to pick up a new series that exciting and interesting to watch. Just watch a TCR International Race to see that!

Thoughts…

So this is everything we know officially so far about the TCR UK Series. There may well be more details to be finalised and also more information to be shared out to the Teams, Drivers and Fans involved, but lets keep some realism on the subject.

One thing is certain: we Brits love our Touring Car racing. TCR UK will simply offer another type of tintop racing to follow on the weekends when BTCC is not racing and it also offers a chance to any European drivers and teams out there with TCR machinery to make a wildcard appearance in a new series that will attract a lot of attention. TCR UK will start out small to begin with and the exact size of the grid/entries will be revealed on 6th March, however lets give it a chance to see how the series grows.

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Written by Phil Kinch

I cover the new for 2018 TCR UK Series for Motorsport Radio. I also keep an eye on the new for 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), the TCR International Series and Domestic TCR Series from around the world.

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