23-car entry list announced for the 2017 TCR International Series
The TCR International Series has unveiled a 23-car entry list for its third season, which gets underway in just over a week’s time at the Rustavi circuit in Georgia, with a number of surprise last-minute announcements.
Just yesterday, double champion Stefano Comini confirmed he will be on the grid after all after being released from Team WRT. The Swiss driver will compete with the #1 in the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3, the only team to run the new model at the start of the season, which is already set to be strongly represented in the national TCR series.
The team will add a second car from the European rounds of the championship.
Jean-Karl Vernay has been confirmed as the lead driver for Team WRT, with continued sponsorship from Leopard Natural. The team have entered two cars for the season, but the second car’s driver is yet unnamed. This car will also only join the field from the third race.
M1RA confirmed their programme earlier this week and will be the new lead Honda squad, with JAS development driver Roberto Colciago leading the team, with the former STCC and TCR Italy champion joined by 17-year-old Attila Tassi.
Craft-Bamboo Racing have made a single amendment to their driver line-up for the third year in a row. The team have replaced Sergey Afanasyev with WTCC front-runner Hugo Valente, and are the only three-car operation on the grid, with arguably one of the strongest line-ups.
WestCoast Racing are now a two-car operation, now running a pair of Volkswagen Golfs for Gianni Morbidelli and new signing Giacomo Altoe.
Key new announcements include confirmation that Zengo Motorsport will return to the series after a one year absence. The Hungarian squad will run two STARD-built Kia Cee’d GT TCRs for their former WTCC charge Ferenc Ficza, with the second driver still to be confirmed. Due to the late preparation of the programme, the cars have missed the ship to Georgia and will race from Spa
The Belgian DG Sport Compétition team have confirmed their drivers, with 2016 TCR Benelux series runner-up Pierre-Yves Corthals joined by Slovakia’s Mat’o Homola in the team’s two Opel Astra TCRs.
GE-Force, with support from Romeo Ferraris, will run the two Alfa Romeo Giuliettas for Georgia’s Davit Kajaia and Serbia’s Dusan Borkovic.
There are three single-car privateer squads, with Danish driver Jens Reno Møller running with his own team in a Honda Civic TCR, the only other Honda on the grid on top of the two of the two M1RA cars, while Stian Paulsen and Milovan Vesnic will compete from the European events in a SEAT León and Audi RS 3 respectively.
Three more SEAT León TCRs will complete the grid, with America’s Duncan Ende competing for Icarus Motorsports, with the team adding a second car from Spa, while Zele Racing will run a race-by-race guest entry during the course of the season.
There are a few teams which have not returned for this year. Most notably Engstler Motorsport. The German team ran Davit Kajaia and a number of other cars in Volkswagen Golfs last year. The team’s main focus for 2017 is its entries in the TCR Middle East, Asia and Germany series, the last of which it also promotes.
The Hungarian B3 Racing team has closed its doors, with former team manager Dávid Bári now setting up the M1RA team with Norbert Michelisz.
Target Competition, which ran a partial campaign last year with Opels and Hondas, have not entered this year and will focus on their six-car programme in TCR Germany, while their driver in the 2016 TCR Germany series, Josh Files, doesn’t have an entry on the grid.
There’s also no entry from Top Run Motorsport, the Italian team which have developed the Subaru WRX STi TCR, meaning one less brand on the grid. There are still seven models competing however, with the SEAT the most represented with seven cars, followed by Volkswagen with four, Audi and Honda with three, and two each for Opel, Alfa Romeo and Kia.
The remaining TCR eligible models absent are therefore Peugeot, Subaru, Ford and Hyundai, whose car has only just been announced and is also targeting a 2018 entry, with Peugeot also developing an upgrade for their 2018-spec 308 TCR car.
2017 TCR International Series Entry List
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