TCR cars roar to life

Drivers taking part in the inaugural season of the TCR Australia Series are eager for the category’s Australian debut, following a highly successful test day at Winton Motor Raceway this week.

The majority of drivers for the series were able to test out their new wheels ahead of the historic season opener in Sydney this month, as 12 TCR cars completed hundreds of laps at the test day.

Despite no official times being recorded, it was the first opportunity teams had to get the cars on the track for some serious testing.

2016 CAMS Australian Rally Champion Molly Taylor was one of those drivers to put in laps in the Kelly Racing Subaru, securing valuable seat time ahead of her circuit debut.

“It was a big first day for me here at Winton. There was a lot to take in and so much to learn but I really enjoyed the day with Kelly Racing and I know what I need to work on heading to Round 1 in Sydney,” Taylor said.

“I have had a taste of the Subaru TCR car previously in Europe, but the conditions here are very different and today I had an engineer and data to work with so that part of it was new to me and that’s where I have a lot to learn.

“I’m used to having someone else in the car talking to me so I was all alone in the car, and adjusting to tarmac from gravel was a huge learning experience as it requires the driver to be very precise, so those were the key differences for me.

“On top of that, throw in 15 other cars on track trying to beat each other rather than just me against the clock, so that’s something to look forward to when the series gets underway.”

A number of former champions from various other categories are taking part in the new series, including 2016 CAMS Australian Formula 4 Champion Will Brown, who tested his Hyundai HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR at Winton.

“They’re fast, they look tough and they feel great to drive out on track. It was certainly a different feeling getting used to the front wheel drive, but once I got used to that it I loved every second of it, it was a ball of fun to steer,” Brown explained.

“The TCR cars are on a world scale as we can see they’re huge in Europe. Compared to the home grown Supercars, the V8s are a bit faster but this is completely different to drive.

“The test day so far has been great and hopefully when we get to Sydney in two weeks we can be really competitive from the outset.”

Team Tradie driver Jason Bright was also highly complimentary of the TCR cars after testing one of the team’s Volkswagen Golf GTI at Victorian track.

“I’ve driven a lot of different cars in my career, from GT cars to Le Mans Prototypes, Sports Cars and Open Wheelers, and the TCR is a lot of fun to drive,” Bright said.

“I expect the racing is going to be awesome because the cars move and bounce around so much and it’s going to create plenty of excitement for the fans.

“It’s a new category in Australia, the cars are still very fresh and teams haven’t had the chance to do any testing yet so it’s a very level playing field in that regard and I think that’s a good thing.

“The cars are running well have run really well here and we can’t wait to get to Sydney.”

Broadcast live, free and in HD on SBS, the TCR Australia Series will kick off at Sydney Motorsport Park as part of the Shannons Nationals on 17-19 May. All sessions will be streamed live on speedseries.com.au.

Tickets to the historic round can be purchased here.