A separate class for TCR cars will be introduced in the VLN in 2017. The regulations for the production-based competition touring cars with front-wheel drive and two-litres turbo engines launched in 2015 have become very popular all around the world. The interest of the car manufacturers in the TCR is significant: In 2016, makes such as Alfa Romeo, Ford, Honda, Opel, Peugeot, Seat, Subaru and Volkswagen had been at the start in the TCR International Series and in the various national and regional TCR racing series. The TCR car of the South Korean manufacturer KIA is almost ready and the new Audi RS 3 LMS made its racing debut recently at the season finale of the VLN endurance championship.
“The TCR regulations represent a category with a great future”, says VLN chief representative Karl Mauer. “Their basics are similar to classes GT3 and GT4 in which the cars can also compete on national and international level without having to apply any signification modifications. TCR cars from all over the world may thus in future participate in the endurance racing championship.”
The identically constructed TCR cars have this year already been competing in the ADAC TCR Germany which was organised as part of the ADAC GT Masters and in which up to 27 cars were at the start. The TCR cars were initially developed for sprint races, but with some minor modifications they can easily be used for long-distance races at the Nordschleife. The principles of the regulations for the VLN class will be prepared by the VLN in close cooperation with Engstler Motorsport GmbH, the holder of the rights in the TCR in Germany. The main focus here is to keep the running costs for a private team at a reasonable level. “We are for example planning to introduce a singly tyre for the participation of the TCR cars in the VLN”, informs Mauer.
In 2016, TCR series were organised in the Benelux countries, in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Thailand. There are moreover regional championships in Europe and Asia and there is the International Championship. “The possibility to compete with the touring cars worldwide is the main reason why so many manufacturers now get on board of the TCR category”, confirms Karl Mauer. “So there will not only be a huge supply of new cars for customer teams, more and more used race cars will in future be seen entering the market and the VLN endurance championship is a perfect series for these cars. We expect the TCR to become a VLN class with a strong participation and a great competition within the coming years.”
In 2016 already, some TCR cars had been at the start in the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring in class SP3T: Aimpoint Racing (Seat Leon Cup Racer), Kissling Motorsport (Opel Astra TCR), Lubner Motorsport (Honda Civic Type R TCR), mathilda racing (Seat Leon TCR) and Phoenix Racing (Audi RS 3 LMS) used the production-based touring cars at the Nordschleife. Even though, in theory, the performance of the TCR cars was inferior to the genuine SP3T vehicles, mathilda racing celebrated two class wins with the Seat Leon and Kissling scored one victory with the new Opel Astra.