DUNLOP TCT/TCR UK GEAR UP AS WE BREAK THE SILENCE AT OULTON PARK
The Dunlop Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK Championship returns to Oulton Park this weekend (Saturday 18th July) to the site of the 2019 season opener for what will be this decade’s first event. After a spectacular introduction for TCT last year, the category will combine with TCR UK in points and track space, ensuring the tantalising battles we saw last year will now have even more weight to them.
Not only that, but TCT/TCR will for the first time, share the grid with the Volkswagen Racing Cup, ensuring a bumper selection of cars for the opening round with plenty of action to keep an eye on over the two classes. The winner of the overall standings will be crowned the Touring Car Trophy champion, with the extra prize of the TCR UK Series champion going to the highest placed TCR-spec driver.
For those who caught a glimpse of our action last season, some familiar faces have returned with three of the four top drivers in the championship fighting it out to claim the third British crown.
Last year’s season opener will be best remembered for the dramatic last lap tussle between TCR’s Ollie Taylor and TCT’s new kid on the block, Henry Neal. The 2018 TCR UK runner-up had been quickly getting to grips with his Cupra TCR throughout practice and qualifying and as Carl Swift and eventual polesitter Neal diced for the front row, Taylor set a late flyer to split the pair and line up second.
Despite minimal pre-season running, Taylor wasted no time launching into the lead as Neal fell down to third behind Swift. Driving the Honda Civic Type R (FK2) that his father had once piloted to great success in the BTCC, Neal hunted down Taylor. With only a few minutes left to run, the Team Dynamics frontman made the dive into Old Hall, the two touched, taking them out and gifting the win to Swift. A dramatic end for Neal’s charge, but an equally spectacular start to the TCT and TCR partnership that runs strong into 2020.
Neal once again leads the TCT representatives this year, though the Team Dynamics driver now has the opportunity to claim the overall title alongside his TCR rivals. Once again piloting his Honda Civic, Henry will look to follow in the footsteps of 2019 title winner (and fellow family member of BTCC legend) James Turkington.
This year, points are on the table for all involved as 2019 vice-champion Lewis Kent returns to challenge for the title that he came tantalisingly close to. A perfect weekend at Croft and multiple podiums put him in contention right up until the final race. He returns in vengeance for 2020, again driving his trusty Hyundai i20 N TCR. The independent Essex and Kent Motorsport outfit will be competing in Europe as well this year, showing the progression potential of this premier series.
Three of the top four drivers from last year will be back on show and completing the triplet of 2019 stars will be Darelle Wilson. The 31-year-old has made it clear his aspirations for this year is to win. Third in last year’s championship with his highlight coming in the final round at Donington Park, where he claimed pole position. Racing his signature green Vauxhall Astra TCR, Solihull’s finest will not be underestimated.
Continuing the TCR theme will be the returning face of Tim Docker. The Maximum Motorsport driver appeared for the team at this venue back in 2018, recording a solid points finish. Docker, a former regular in the Volkswagen Racing Cup, has spent recent years establishing himself in Britcar, where last year he finished runner-up, claiming the Class 4 Championship. An experienced peddler, Docker already has plenty of miles in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, a wildcard for top honours.
Making their debut in the series will be Docker’s teammate Max Hart.
Hart has spent the last two years building a name for himself in Ireland and internationally. Amongst his accolades, the 19-year-old finished second in the Mondello Park 6 hour Ford Fiesta Endurance Race, though will be best noted for his UK Monoposto exploits, finishing runner up during the 2019 series. The County Wicklow driver has a history of success in single-seaters, claiming an Irish Formula Vee title in 2018 as well as silverware in South East Asian Formula 4. As he switched his attention to Touring Cars, could further success be on his way in the Cupra TCR.
Power Maxed Racing made a cameo appearance during last year’s championship and they’ll be back again at Oulton Park in partnership with Trade Price Cars Racing and the company’s owner Dan Kirby. Turning his hand to Touring Cars, piloting a Cupra TCR, Kirby is no stranger to racing, competing in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup, where he collected a win and multiple podiums.
It’s all to play for as we head into a new era of national racing with the BRSCC.
All action will be streamed live on the Dunlop Touring Car Trophy social media with the first 20-minute race taking place at 13:50. A second race (grid determined by race 1 finishing order) will also be streamed at 17:00 on Saturday 18th July.