RaceDepartment will be showing a live stream from opening round of the 2017 TCR International Series at the Georgian Rustavi circuit on Sunday 2nd April. With 23 cars represented by seven manufacturers and featuring a field of quality touring car drivers with experience and success from such series as Formula One, World Touring Cars, BTCC, GT racing and open wheel formula, the upcoming TCR International Series looks likely to present the closest fought championship in the championships short three year history. Reigning double TCR International champion Stefano Comini returns to defend his championship with a brand new team and car in the form of the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS, whilst current TCR Benelux champion and former WTCC racer Pierre-Yves Corthals makes a full-time switch to the series driving the distinctive new for 2017 Opel Astra TCR for his own team DG Sport Compétition. 2016 third place finisher and pre-season title favourite Jean-Karl Vernay takes the lead driver role at defending champions Team WRT, flying solo for the opening rounds as the team seek to fill the second Volkswagon Golf GTi TCR seat before the next return to Europe at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit in May. World Touring Car Championship converts Hugo Valente, Dusan Borkovic, Mat’o Homola and Pepe Oriola are joined on the grid by former BTCC driver and TCR runner-up James Nash, alongside other highly decorated and experienced tin-top competitors in the form of Gianni Morbidelli and Roberto Colciago, all of whom will be expected to remain in the hunt for strong results throughout the season. As has become standard procedure for the championship since it's inception in 2015 is the welcoming of part time and regional competitors for selected rounds of the season. It is expected that the 23 full-time entrants will be joined at several events by a number of one-off teams, cars and drivers, included the expected debut of a semi-works Hyundai squad spearheaded by Italian tin top legend Gabrielle Tarquinii, plus a potential part season return for the Top Run Motorsport, fielding the distinctive Subaru WRX STi TCR as seen on track several occasions during the previous campaign. Discussing the upcoming season and capacity full season entry list, series promoter Marcello Lotti commented: “The TCR International Series is growing further in its third season and we are very pleased with the arrival of new brands, like Audi and KIA, and new teams. We are also delighted to see that the decision to change the format of the European Trophy is resulting in some competitors already entering in the European events of the International Series.” The whole ethos of the TCR regulations is to provide affordable touring car racing for private teams across multiple championships throughout the world. Such has been the success of the series that 11 different countries have adopted the rule set for their own national racing series, and TCR specification cars are also eligible to race in major endurance racing events such as the German VLN series, the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and the ever growing 24 Hour Series Endurance Championship. Developed and headed by former WTCC boss Marcello Lotti, a TCR specification car can be purchased for around €100,000 and fully factory backed teams are excluded from entering the championship. This model has been developed intentionally to be in stark contrast to the current World Touring Car Championship regulations, dominated by big budget manufacturer teams spending millions of Euros per season have seen the size and quality of the grid rapidly declining over the last few years. Despite the relatively low cost of entry, on track action in the TCR series has been incredible these past few years. Fielding drivers of considerable class and experience, a wide variety of different cars and a calendar not afraid to visit some of the best touring car tracks in the world, TCR International Series is pound for pound one of the best top level forms of motorsport currently active. With great on track action in beautiful cars, we can't wait to enjoy each and every round with our awesome RaceDepartment community! If you missed the live stream then fear not! Full as live race reply from Round 1 and 2 can be seen below: The Grid No – Driver – Nat – Team – Car 1 – Stefano Comini – SUI – Comtoyou Racing – Audi RS 3 LMS 2 – Jean-Karl Vernay – FRA – Leopard Racing Team WRT – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR 3 – TBA – TBA – Leopard Racing Team WRT – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR 5 – Roberto Colciago – ITA – M1RA – Honda Civic TCR 6 – TBA – TBA – Comtoyou Racing – Audi RS 3 LMS 7 – Hugo Valente – FRA – Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing – SEAT León TCR 9 – Attila Tassi – HUN – M1RA – Honda Civic TCR 10 – Gianni Morbidelli – ITA – WestCoast Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR 11 – Jens Reno Moller – DEN – Reno Racing – Honda Civic TCR 16 – Davit Kajaia – GEO – GE-Force – Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 18 – Duncan Ende – USA – Icarus Motorsports – SEAT León TCR 21 – Giacomo Altoe – ITA – WestCoast Racing – Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR 23 – Pierre-Yves Corthals – BEL – DG Sport Compétition – Opel Astra TCR 31 – Milovan Vesnic – SRB – ASK Vesnic – Audi RS 3 LMS 34 – Stian Paulsen – NOR – Stian Paulsen Racing – SEAT León TCR 54 – James Nash – GBR – Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing – SEAT León TCR 55 – Ferenc Ficza – HUN – Zengo Motorsport – Kia Cee’d TCR 62 – Dusan Borkovic – SRB – GE-Force – Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 70 – Mat’o Homola – SVK – DG Sport Compétition – Opel Astra TCR 74 – Pepe Oriola – SPN – Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing – SEAT León TCR 75 – TBA – TBA – Zengo Motorsport – Kia Cee’d TCR TBA – TBA – TBA – Icarus Motorsports – SEAT León TCR TBA – TBA – TBA – Zele Racing – SEAT León TCR The Cars Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR Teams: GE-Force Drivers: Davit Kajaia, Dusan Borkovic Audi RS 3 LMS TCR Teams: Comtoyou Racing, ASK Vesnic Drivers: Stefano Comini, TBC, Milovan Vesnic Honda Civic TCR Teams: M1RA, Reno Racing Drivers: Roberto Colciago, Attila Tassi, Jens Reno Moller KIA cee'd TCR Teams: Zengo Motorsport Drivers: Ferenc Ficza, TBC Opel Astra TCR Teams: DG Sport Compétition Drivers: Pierre-Yves Corthals, Mat’o Homola SEAT León TCR Teams: Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing, Icarus Motorsports, Stian Paulsen Racing, Zele Racing Drivers: Hugo Valente, James Nash, Pepe Oriola, TBC, Duncan Ende, Stian Paulsen, TBC Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Teams: Leopard Racing Team WRT, WestCoast Racing Drivers: Jean-Karl Vernay, TBC, Gianni Morbidelli, Giacomo Altoe The Drivers 2017 sees one of the strongest grids the series has received since it's tentative debut all the way back in 2015. Returning for the new year is the only driver ever to win a TCR International drivers' trophy in the form of Stefano Comini, an exciting Swiss driver who has shot to fame in the past couple of years in TCR after a mix and match junior career that has seen the popular "bearded one" secure himself many successes in closed top racing cars. At only 27 years of age, Comini probably has a long career and many more wins ahead of him in the coming years. Another returning TCR driver of note is sometime WTCC driver, double International Superstars champion and former Formula One competitor Gianni Morbidelli. The vastly experienced Italian sportsman will be looking to put together a more consistent season at the wheel of his Honda Civic TCR if he's to add to an enviable CV in the year he's due to celebrate his 50th birthday. Despite showing flashes of incredible pace, Morbidelli will no doubt be disappointed to trail home only in 6th position last year. Using all the guile that found the driver for a period of time behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula One cockpit, Morbidelli will surely be looking to drag himself much further up the order come season end in 2017. James Nash is another big name making his return to TCR competition in 2017, looking to go one better than his stunning second place finish last season in what was his first full year running under TCR regulations. With a strong World Touring Car Championship career that spanned two seasons and peaked with two wins and a third overall finish in the championship in 2013, Nash found himself back behind the wheel of a full time touring car machine towards for 2016 following a brief stint in sportscars, when the British driver secured a fantastic debut podium at Bahrain on his way to fighting for the championship title all the way to the final round of the season at Macau. With all this talent on the grid and a fantastic mix of youth and experience, when the cars head out onto the track this Sunday 2nd April it's sure to be a suitably fitting festival of racing, I can't wait! The Calendar April 2: Rustavi International Motopark, Georgia April 16: Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain* May 7: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium** May 14: Monza June 11: Salzburgring, Austria July 2: Hungaroring, Hungary July 9: Oschersleben, Germany September 3: Chang International Circuit, Thailand October 8: Korea / China November 26: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi* *denotes F1 support race ** denotes WEC support race You can catch all the racing here at RaceDepartment from 10:23 BST for Race 1 and 12:28 BST for Race 2 on Sunday 2nd April, live on our very own RaceDepartment Live Stream page. Keep an eye out at RaceDepartment during 2017 as we look to stream more live racing than ever before. It's going to be a great event and a great year ahead! Drop a comment or two below about the opening round of the 2017 TCR International Series with your fellow community members and sit back and enjoy the broadcast Happy viewing everyone!