TIN-TOP HISTORY IN THE MAKING AS TCR DEBUTS AT SILVERSTONE
If there were a category of motorsport for each country around the world that could be classed as a national favourite, then the UK would undoubtedly pick touring cars. Saloon car racing has been a staple of our nation’s racing culture for decades, thanks to the relatability to the cars we drive on the roads and the close, exciting action it provides on track. This weekend, here at the home of motorsport, we make history and write a new chapter in Britain’s tin-top story.
After unprecedented success since its launch in 2015, the TCR touring car formula finally touches down here in Britain as one of the latest franchises to add to the ever-growing collection. TCR UK joins established national championships in Italy, Germany, Iberico, Benelux, Russia and more as well as the regional contests in Europe, Asia and Scandinavia and the newly reprofiled and reformatted FIA World Touring Car Cup.
This weekend entry for the inaugural rounds of TCR UK features an intriguing mix of homegrown stars with a sprinkling of European talent thrown in for good measure. Marques such as CUPRA (SEAT’s new motorsport brand), Honda, Hyundai, Alfa Romeo and more are expected to make up what is touted to be a competitive line-up to kick off the new season. There’s plenty of positivity from all involved ahead of this season with further interest and entries expected to be cultivated as the season goes on. For now, the opening two races of 2018 could give someone the head start on the competition they’re looking for.
Alongside TCR UK permanently for this season are two superb long-standing features of the BRSCC roster. Providing the single seater element will be the Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship, giving a category that has stayed true for over 50 years a new lease of life as a support category to a British nationwide championship. With the Mazda Road To Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout prize once again on off and former BRSCC competitor, Keith Donegan’s win of said Shootout fresh in the minds of many, the entry list for this season, has seen a reinvigoration of the ethos that Formula Ford is the best proving ground for young drivers. There’s a registration list stacked this season with an exciting mix of first-year racers stepping up from karting and junior formulae, and experienced established hands looking to put their skills to the test. Over 30 cars are set to be on the grid in what could be the start of an outstanding FF1600 season.
Classic could be the word to describe the upcoming campaign for the other main support act, the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup. A phenomenal 2017 helped the championship reach record registrations, a rich and diverse pool of talented club racers and action that trumped just about every other SuperCup season before it. Now running hand-in-hand with TCR UK as its reward, many of the primary frontrunners, including reigning champion Luke Herbert, will have the chance to showcase their skills on a broader stage. As ever, the ever-increasing crop of regular drivers is back again with new faces with experiences racing in Lotuses, Ginettas and Toyota MR2s all choosing to have a crack as well. Will the usual suspects run away with proceedings, or could a fresh face steal the spotlight in the opening exchanges?
Another championship appearing for three meetings with TCR UK is the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup, back with the BRSCC after a year’s hiatus. Dedicated to contemporary VW and VAG Group models, this is a series which genuinely produces some touring car stars of the future, including 2017 champ Bobby Thompson. Overseen by TCR competitor Stewart Lines of Maximum Motorsport and his wife Nicki, the VW Cup continues to showcase a stellar range of competitors who battle it out in an array of Golfs, Sciroccos, Polos, the odd Passat or two and even an Audi TT Cup car. Plus, with the addition of the latest Team HARD Scholarship winner to the grid just in time for this weekend, it all adds up to what should be another brilliant season.
We’re all for making new friends at the BRSCC, and over the winter we were fortunate enough to do just that. Making their debut on our roster here at Silverstone this weekend is the Cox Motor Parts Civic Cup, a championship dedicated to almost any generation of the legendary Honda Civic Type R. Having established themselves in club racing over the past few years, the Civic Cup brings with it a very healthy entry of cars that both look and sound incredible. 30 cars were listed to make the trip at the time of writing, meaning their first rounds on BRSCC could be two of their most memorable yet. Plus, fun fact – it’s also the same championship that current TCR UK runner Carl Swift graduated from!
Also continuing the saloon car element is the Alfa Romeo Championship, dedicated to cars from a manufacturer that genuinely embodies automotive soul and passion, as well as a rich motorsport history. 2018 sees a tweak in the regulations to allow Fiats, Abarths and Lancias to score points in both the Modified class (where just about anything goes) and the Power Trophy (regulating cars based on a set power-to-weight ratio). The Twin Spark Cup will produce the largest of the three classes, one in which the overall champion has come from twice in the past three years. With young stars like Andrew Bourke and Tom Hill choosing to ply their craft here, who knows who may take on the title challenge in 2018.
To round off the timetable, we’re joined on Sunday by our superb compatriots from the HRDC, who have helped provided something of a revolution in historic racing circles. The COYS Trophy caters to traditional saloon car racers from the late 1950s and 1960s with various Academy cars from Austin present alongside Minis, Lotus Cortinas, Alfa Romeos and big Fords all set to feature. The Allstars race will also see most of the above marques and machines, along with an influx of MGs and Rileys for good measure too. If you love saloon car racing from days of old, make sure you stick around for these guys as they never fail to entertain.
We’re all set for what is going to be a landmark weekend in the history of the BRSCC and British motorsport. For some, it’s a step into the unknown, but for others, it’s the start of what’s set to be the next successful chapter in TCR’s ever-improving success story. Let battle commence for the title of the first-ever TCR UK champion!