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IMSA Announces New TCR Class in CTSC for 2018

The TCR platform is coming to CTSC for 2018…

Photo: TCR International Series

Officials from IMSA and World Sporting Consulting (WSC) as the rights holder for TCR today confirmed plans for a TCR class to begin competing in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge beginning in 2018.

The Touring Car Racing (TCR) class will run in addition to the two existing Continental Tire Challenge classes, Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) next season.

All TCR cars are front-wheel drive with four or five doors produced by mainstream automotive manufacturers. In the Continental Tire Challenge, TCR cars will come from manufacturers with relevance in the North American market.

“We began our due diligence process on the potential introduction of the TCR platform more than a year ago, and formally announced that we were exploring the concept last year,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett.

“We engaged our automotive partners and teams throughout the discovery process and determined that TCR would be an attractive addition to the Continental Tire Challenge.

“We are pleased to work together with WSC CEO Marcello Lotti and Sporting and Series Director Nunzia Corvino to introduce what we believe will be a popular class to IMSA fans and participants.”

Through its partnership with WSC, IMSA will use TCR cars fully homologated by WSC in the new Continental Tire Challenge class. The TCR class is projected to slot in between GS and ST based on its current level of performance.

As the market develops for TCR-spec cars, IMSA has the additional, exclusive right to establish TCR USA and TCR Canada as standalone series. IMSA, in cooperation with WSC, also now holds the right to sublicense the proper use of TCR specifications to other sanctioning bodies in the territory as well.

After just a few years, about 200 races per year now are held with TCR cars in more than 20 racing series around the world. The TCR concept is based on production-based 2.0-liter turbocharged engines with no more than 350 horsepower, using a 6-speed sequential gearbox with paddle shift.

“TCR has quickly become the standard global Touring Car platform,” said Lotti. “Our goal was to create a base again for Touring Car Racing.

“The crucial part about it was to keep the costs for the cars low to ensure equality of opportunity.

“In North America, we believed IMSA was the most professional partner available in the market and we could not be more pleased to establish this partnership together.”

Current TCR manufacturers with a presence in North America include Audi, Ford, Honda, Alfa Romeo, Kia, Subaru and Volkswagen.

TCR cars will make their Continental Tire Challenge debut next January at Daytona International Speedway during the three-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona, with their first race planned for the day preceding the 2018 Rolex 24.

Next up for the Continental Tire Challenge is the Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, July 1.

The latest sports car racing news from trusted series, manufacturer and team sources based around the world.



  1. Choodaloo

    June 1, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Kinda pointless, eh? Enough struggle to get good fields..add another class? Meh.

  2. Noel

    June 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    “The TCR class is projected to slot in between GS and ST based on its current level of performance.”

    Interesting. I would have thought the ST cars are faster than TCR?

    • Mike D

      June 1, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      They have to put a 70% throttle stop on the Audi RS3 TCR to keep it in line with the TC class in Pirelli World Challenge.

      World Challenge TC is a hair quicker than Continental ST (at least on a quick “on my lunch break” inspection).

  3. P

    June 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I think the TCR class is going to be the biggest class in the CTSC.

    I think TCR cars from other series will enter the championship.

    Series like:
    TCR International (which might put one of the CTSC races on the 2018 race calendar)
    TCR Asia, ADAC TCR Germany, Benelux, Scandinavia, Middle East, PWC, VLN and the ETCC.

    For the TCR Manufacturers, Ford, VW, Surbau, Honda, Audi, Alfa Romeo and Kia are confirmed for a appearance so far. Hopefully, more Manufacturers like Hyundai, Opel, Mazda, Volvo, Lada and maybe Mercedes- Benz and Chevrolet will join.

    Mazda is Evaluating the TCR platform but nothing is confirmed yet.

    Looking forward to the TCR cars coming in 2018.

    • Sol Shine

      June 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Sure, just fine if you’ve got half a million bucks laying around to blow on a season to run a car. Figure $150K to buy a prepped car, another $50-75K for spares and then factor in $25-35K per weekend in hard costs and maintenance. Likely going to write off a car, so add in another $150K contingency. That’s assuming you’ve already got a transporter, race shop, crew, etc. I think there will be smaller grids and the racing will not be all that good.

      Nascar, er, IMSA, doesn’t have a stellar history when it comes to growing a series. They’re good at shrinking them though, witness their marquee series Cup with declining attendance for 16 straight years now.

    • Bioverse

      June 1, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      So, you’re telling me a class designed to be cheap to run, will have teams flying internationally to this country? GTFO

    • Thomas

      June 3, 2017 at 2:52 am

      Your kidding yourself. All those series youve mentioned except VLN are single driver sprint series. They’re touring car races not sports car races

  4. Jeff Wagner

    June 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    It continues with the trend of other series. (I am NOT talking about WEC or WTSC) Let’s have so many classes even the zealot fans don’t know what the hell is going on, who the hell is leading what, in second or third……Then everybody scratches their head and looks around for answers as to why the WORST racing (I shouldn’t have to name it) is the most popular. It is easy for even the average casual Joe to follow! I am NOT trolling it is how I feel.

    • Bioverse

      June 1, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      You’re wrong, though. This is a bad idea because TCR didn’t need to be added to this level. It’s bad enough to fill out grids. Subdivision hurts here.

      Art top level, endurance sports car racing can easily handle 4+ classes.

      • Jeff Wagner

        June 2, 2017 at 12:26 am

        BIOVERSE: Read my entire post!

  5. Matt

    June 1, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I’d be fine with TCR as a standalone series. But it’s not real touring car racing. Basically spec cars all forced to run FWD is does not fit with the car diversity goals of the Continental Tire Championship. All I want from CTSC is lightly modified cars (suspension, brakes, exhaust). These cars should be dirty cheap in comparison to buying a prepped $200,000 car from a manufacturer.

    • Sol Shine

      June 1, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      These cars are not going to be much under $200K. These are not “lightly modified” cars, have you not taken a good look at the Audi RS3 TCR car this year? That is not lightly modified, and it is estimated to cost $145,000USD. The cost of a 6 speed paddle shifted sequential racing gearbox alone is into 5 figures.

      I don’t see this as being a good “entry level” series move at all, it’s just more rich kid racing. Meanwhile, all the truly inexpensive racing series that Joe Blue Collar can afford will get more entrants.

      Read this page if you want to learn how “lightly modified” these cars are:

      • seth

        June 1, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        Not sure how you figure any truly Blue Collar person goes racing any more?

        • Matt

          June 4, 2017 at 11:52 pm

          Blue collar people could go racing if they cars were lightly modified production cars….

      • Matt

        June 4, 2017 at 11:51 pm

        I know^ that’s exactly what i was saying. CTSC should be about lightly modified cars (suspension, exhaust, brakes, remove interiors for weight reduction). TCR is harmful for diversity and it’s not cheap. The Audi “RS3” TCR car is not even an RS3… it’s an S3 with FWD. They act like the fans are dumbasses.

    • Bioverse

      June 1, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      FWD is mostly wrong in racing anyway. TCR..boooo

    • NaBUru38

      June 2, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      “Basically spec cars all forced to run FWD is does not fit with the car diversity goals”

      TCR engines arent spec. Plus RWD manufacturers like BMW dont want to race Civics and Golfs.

      • Matt

        June 4, 2017 at 11:55 pm

        OK they’re not spec, but they sure as hell aren’t diverse. Did BMW tell you this info or did you just make it up? BMW has been racing in the little classes its entire existance.

  6. Edgar

    June 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Interesting that IMSA is getting all the licensing for TCR. I wonder if this will derail PWCs plans to include TCR in 2018.

    • Thomas

      June 3, 2017 at 2:55 am

      That was the bit that caught my attention too!

  7. Raphael

    June 2, 2017 at 12:51 am

    1. I thought TCR is replacing the ST class.

    2. Hyundai also has presence in the U.S. market with the Elantra GT (i30).

    Cars that will be in the TCR series here will be as follows (i may be wrong)

    Audi RS3
    Ford Focus ST
    Honda Civic type R (FC)
    Alfa Romeo Giulietta (?)
    Kia Forte (Ceed is not sold in U.S.)
    Subaru WRX STI
    Volkswagen Golf GTI
    Hyundai Elantra GT

    other makes we need.

    Chevy Cruze hatch
    Toyota Corolla
    Lexus CT200
    Acura ILX
    Nissan Sentra
    Mercedes AMG CLA45 (A45 not sold in states)
    MINI 4 door JCW
    Volvo V40
    Volkswagen Jetta GLI

    • Marcus

      June 2, 2017 at 1:15 am

      From what I read in the article above cars with relevance in North America will be in TCR in the Conti series

    • TBurd01

      June 2, 2017 at 1:44 am

      Let’s keep in mind that IMSA is surely going to have their ‘partner fees’. Audi, Ford, and Honda/Acura already are in higher GT classes, so they would not. Chevy, Mazda, Lexus/Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes would all fir the bill too if they made TCR cars.

      The Alfa Giulietta is not sold here, so I don’t know why IMSA says it has a presence here. Mini would presumably have to pay more for a hypothetical TCR entry.

      • Thomas

        June 3, 2017 at 2:55 am

        Or it could be like it is in CTSCC this year where to earn the GS Manufacturer title you have to have paid the fee

      • Raphael

        June 3, 2017 at 11:13 pm

        The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is not sold in the states, but the 4C, Giulia, and soon the Stelvio SUV are sold stateside.

        and can you clarify “So they would not”?

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