WC Vision has laid out plans to add a TCR class to Pirelli World Challenge beginning in 2018, as part of further integration of global platforms to the growing sprint race championship.
Series President and CEO Greg Gill confirmed to Sportscar365 their intentions to introduce the category, potentially with some demonstration races in 2017, ahead of a targeted full-season championship the following year.
“We’ve communicated with them that we’re interested in that,” Gill told Sportscar365. “We were one of the first series to start looking at [TCR] last summer.
“Our concerns then are the same concerns we have now: the number of manufacturers that will support it Stateside.”
While having successfully launched in Europe, Asia and soon-to-be Central America, the mass-produced touring car platform currently sees the majority of involvement from European manufacturers, and some with five-door models not currently sold in the North American market.
Gill said the success of TCR will depend on additional manufacturer involvement and support on this continent.
“The challenge you have in a global economy is if you’re a manufacturer, your car can be sent around the world,” he said. “But if the manufacturer is in North America or has a strong parts distribution in North America, that helps.
“Ginetta came to us this year [in GTS]. It was a brand-new [program] and started literally on our test weekend at COTA before the first race. But they had some cars in the country and were able to get going pretty quickly… and had to ship a parts inventory in.
“We would look for that type of approach for TCR. Audi Sport customer racing does a good job and we understand they are looking at a program. I don’t know BMW’s interests are but they do a fantastic job.
“We’ve heard what John Doonan’s thoughts are at Mazda; we’ll wait and see what they come up with. We know Honda has talked about it as well.
“There’s a definite level of manufacturers that we work with and respect. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Gill said the planned integration of TCR would be in addition to its existing TC, TCA and TCB classes and not as a replacement to any of the categories.
WC Vision recently appointed former Mazda Motorsports and Dempsey Racing executive Jim Jordan to help develop the future strategy for the PWC touring car platforms and has been heading up efforts on this front.
“Pirelli World Challenge has been a touring car business,” Gill said. “We love touring car; we know it’s there. We think there’s a future again.
“When you look at these type of opportunities, it comes down to price point. If we can see a $95,000 price point [for TCR], that’s a great, exciting opportunity.
“It has to make sense for the competitors and has to be affordable. And the fans have to identify with the cars.”
Gill said there’s already been positive feedback from competitors on the planned addition to its portfolio.
“Our initial feeling from our teams is let’s get there, and let’s see some on display in 2017, as we did with the X-Bow and Maserati [last year],” he said.
“We had some early demo races, got some early practice information [with the GT4 cars], so by the time they were in the series this year, there was a lot less questions about the performance window.
“We would follow the same approach with TCR.”
PWC’s planned integration follows IMSA’s announcement earlier this month of its intentions of also embracing the TCR platform for 2018.