Featured WTCR: A Legend Reborn

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    WTCR Is Back.jpg
    Touring Car racing is back with a bang following an incredibly successful first WTCR World Touring Car Cup opening round in Marrakech.

    The WTCC is dead, long live the WTCR. When the World Touring Car Championship TC1 regulations wallowed in its final death throws at the end of 2017, many expected that would spell the end of a once great touring car championship, citing the mass withdrawal of manufacturer teams and dwindling fan interest as the barometer in which to measure the final, sad, last wave of the chequered flag for a series that has led the way in World level touring car racing since the middle 2000's.

    Much of the final months of 2017 would be spent casting around ideas about how the series could be propped up for another couple of years until something bigger came along, with promoters Eurosport Events banding around a potential tie-in to DTM / SuperGT style regulations, Class One silhouette rules or a hybrid of the current and insanely expensive TC1 rule sets for the year ahead, leaving plenty of uncertainty around where the championship might end up as 2018 begins.

    With a call for change happening too late into the season for any serious manufacturers to knuckle down and build entirely new cars, the people behind the WTCC made the obvious if not painful decision to adopt TCR regulations for the year ahead, effectively throwing in their hat with the series that was born from the brain of the disenchanted former WTCC boss Marcello Lotti, bringing an end to the young and rapidly growing TCR International Series and effectively joining the two championships together in a short term two year agreement.

    Although sensible on paper, the new category had plenty of doubters calling a World level series without official manufacturer entries (which are forbidden in TCR regulations) a pale shadow of what the championship should be, many eyes would be on the teams and drivers this weekend as the cars headed out onto the circuit in Marrakech for the first time during open practice.

    So was the first weekend of the new WTCR championship a success? That would be a resounding YES!

    Firstly the cars. For a championship that has struggled to attract decent numbers of cars in recent years, it would be a pleasure to see 25 well turned out racing machines on the grid for the opening round. Run by some very high quality teams and representing eight different models, the grid this weekend looked a damn site more healthy than has been the case for several seasons.

    In terms of drivers, we have several returning touring car legends on the grid this year, including a 56-year-old Gabrielle Tarquini who went on to win two of the three races in his Hyundai i30 N TCR and former four time World Champion Yvan Muller, driving for his own YMR team to name but two golden oldies. Alongside these two heavyweights would be another former champion reunited with his iconic Alfa Romeo, Fabrizio Giovanardi, 2017 WTCC champion Thed Bjork, 2017 TCR International Champion Jean-Karl Vernay, three time BTCC Champion Gordon Shedden, double BTCC Champion James Thompson and many other big names, all in closely matched cars, leaving a very realistic possibility of the number of drivers in double figures capable of scoring victories in any given race.

    As for the racing itself, TCR cars lend themselves much more to close and hard racing than their predecessor TC1 regulation machines, meaning a bit of touring car contact is nothing to be afraid of compared to what has been the norm over the last few seasons in the World Touring Car Championship, which let us be honest here, is exactly what we need to see in a top level tin top racing series...

    With Eurosport putting on an exceptional quality broadcast from beginning to end, the drivers fighting from the very moment the green flag waved for Free Practice and the racing, despite taking place on a hard and tight little street circuit that is renowned for not offering overtaking opportunities, being hard, close and exciting, the opening three races of the new WTCR World Touring Car Cup proved to be an exceptional spectacle and a brilliant way to showcase a series that looks very much like it is rapidly on the way to re-establishing itself as the premier motoracing series in the world.

    Happy? Hell yes I am. Touring Car racing is awesome, and the WTCR series looks like the perfect platform for a return to form for World Touring Cars. Yehaa.

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    What did you think of the new WTCR series opener? Does a move to TCR regulations mark the beginning of a resurgence of touring car racing in your opinion? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  2. PsyaNyde

    PsyaNyde
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    I've always liked WTCC, and no doubt i'll like WTCR,(missed it today due to watching BTCC, MOTOGP and F1 on 3 seperate screens all at once lol) but for me my true love is BTCC :)
     
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  3. chili pepper

    chili pepper

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    I'm with you on that one.
     
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  4. FeltHat

    FeltHat
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    First race was extremely bad, half passed on yellow flag. Fortunately they did good job on the second day. With good track it will be a show to watch :coffee:

    btw, that flying umbrella was the highlight
     
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  5. theravenousbeast

    theravenousbeast

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    With Plato doing utterly terrible I might just watch this instead. They really do go to some shitty venues for touring cars.
     
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  6. antirussia81

    antirussia81

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    Jason is just giving a handicup to other drivers ;) Few more races and he'll eat them all (I hope so...)
     
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  7. Jefferson Costa

    Jefferson Costa
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    Really hope the TCRs can improve the spectacle at Ningbo, along with a dry track. The WTCC races there were terrible to say the least.
     
  8. T04STY

    T04STY
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    Well to put it simple, TCR is always great racing, so it won't be any different in WTCR. Marrakech just sucks as a racing track, but they really put on a great show on that narrow street course (except race 1 x.x).
    Looking forward to a great season!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  9. ronniej

    ronniej

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    I find it hard to get in the mood when I'm looking at a Hyundai badge.....

    @theravenousbeast She's all yours big guy.:D
     
  10. Sky

    Sky
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    tcr is awesome. that is all.
     
  11. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    I miss the WTCC spec cars a little (a bit like how I miss the Super Touring era every so often) but the new series works, the racing was on the whole pretty good and I enjoyed all three races.

    With regards to the track, I agree it wasn't the best. However what WTCR has is something that's lacking in some other motorsport forms these days and that's real street courses. Tight, twisty, bumpy, no room for error. I liked it for that reason. Just needs a bit more variation in corners but for me not too bad.

    Street race around central London? Yes please that would be brilliant! :thumbsup::)

    I like the fact the tracks are not the usual choices and of course any race series around the nords is great to see.

    I suppose also being in my 40's the one attraction is the mix of classic driver names that used to be in BTCC or WTCC. Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic when a new 17 year old driver wins for example, but the likes of Tarquini have such great character and they really love what they do which is great to see.

    I enjoyed the BTCC too but in my view they are both great for different reasons.

    ....and purely on a sidenote, would love to see some of the these tracks in Raceroom, I can just imagine the utter chaos in the club races. Great fun! :):thumbsup::D
     
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  12. Tim Meuris

    Tim Meuris

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    Way better than i thought it would be... at Marrakesh. That track is rubbish...
     
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  13. Jefferson Costa

    Jefferson Costa
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    Currently RaceRoom has 5 of the 10 WTCR tracks. It's a long way to go.
     
  14. T04STY

    T04STY
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    They said they'll try to get as many cars and tracks for the series as possible, so it might not be complete.
     
  15. Kurupt CDN

    Kurupt CDN
    DirtT Tuned Motorsports

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    Love my touring cars, Really enjoyed TCR before the merge....I watched race 1 and was excited when I saw so many cars on the grid but quickly got bored watching the train drive around than feel asleep during the caution.
    Horrible track, I hope they drop it in the future.
    Hopefully the next round is more exciting.
     
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