The new TCR class debuts in this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge round at Circuit of The Americas, with five different manufacturers represented in the global-spec platform.
Founded by ex-World Touring Car Championship promoter Marcello Lotti in 2015, TCR features production-based touring cars and hatchbacks, which the series included as part of its TC class last year.
TCR cars will run alongside TCA machinery this year, in a new two-class format for the series.
“We saw the growth of TCR racing around the world,” said Jim Jordan, PWC Director of Marketing and Communications. “And many of the auto manufacturers asked us about running the cars with the Pirelli World Challenge.
“We included the cars in the TC class last year with some restrictions and the fans really liked them. We worked with TCR International and IMSA to have a working association for the next three years in TCR. We’re excited about the new class.”
Fourteen cars are entered for COTA, in a diverse grid featuring Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR, Audi Sport RS 3 LMS TCR, Honda Civic Type-R TCR, Hyundai i30 N TCR and Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR machinery.
Teams and drivers scheduled to compete include RealTime Racing (Ryan Eversley), Bryan Herta Autosport (Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis), Copeland Motorsports (Jarett Andretti) and reigning TC champions Compass Racing, which will field JT Coupal in an Audi.
Several TCR operations are no strangers to PWC and are anxious to join the new class.
“RealTime has a long history of success in production-based cars, so we are looking forward to joining what looks to be serious competition as the TCR cars go head-to-head in America for the first time this season,” team owner Peter Cunningham said.
“When the opportunity with the Honda Civic Type R presented itself, the move made sense. We are very happy to join the fray of this growing worldwide category.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about our new relationship with Hyundai N in this highly competitive manufacturer-based Pirelli World Challenge TCR class,” said Bryan Herta, president and CEO, Bryan Herta Autosport.
“Having witnessed the untapped potential of i30 N TCR race platform for this series, we’re more than confident we can leverage the strength of Hyundai’s racing and performance groups to great success in the 2018 season.”
Wilkins added: “The new TCR division looks to be gaining serious momentum around the world and I’m very excited to be a part of it in North America.”
“If you look at RealTime’s history, they’ve had tremendous success with front-wheel drive touring cars, so being able to race one for them is what I’ve dreamed about when I started out as a race car driver. It’s very exciting,” Eversley added.