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.