TCR teams and drivers positive about prospective merger with the WTCC
A number of the teams and drivers within the TCR International Series are positive about the potential merger between the series and the World Touring Car Championship for 2018, as rumours spread ahead of an impending agreement between the FIA and the TCR promoter WSC.
As news broke out that the WTCC could make the switch to TCR regulations, with the two international categories effectively merging, a number of drivers and team members were swift to praise the move.
Former WTCC driver and current TCR driver has been perhaps the most vocal all year of the need for the two series to combine.
“Like I’ve said before, I think it’s a win-win for both championships,” Oriola said to TouringCarTimes. “The WTCC has proved that TC1 is not what we need as it’s only for manufacturers because it’s too expensive, while we’ve proved with smaller teams with some sponsors like Lukoil or Leopard we can still make money.
“We race to sell cars,” he added. “From a spectators’ point of view, it makes no difference about a TC1 car which is four or five seconds faster, but the price is five-six times more. From a drivers’ perspective, I prefer a TC1 car, it’s more fun, it’s got more aero, but it’s impossible to support those kinds of costs if you are a private team.”
Another former WTCC racer, Dusan Borkovic, was also positive about the news.
“I think it’s good. If you look how close it is now, we’ve never had something like this in touring cars, and can you imagine if there were WTCC drivers in these cars. Next year, we’ll have 30 cars where everybody can win,” he said.
Touring car stalwart and 2009 WTCC drivers’ champion, who races for Honda in the WTCC and Hyundai in TCR, was likewise positive.
“It’s a good step forward,” said Tarquini to TouringCarTimes. “The level will be higher, and the potential of these two championships will be bigger. For me it’s a very positive boost for TCR, so I hope they can make an agreement. I think if you mix the good parts of TCR and the good things from WTCC, the sum will be better.
“For me, this is really good news.”
Although there was no real negativity about the news, beyond some scepticism over whether the deal would actually happen after months of negotiations, there was some cautious pragmatism.
WestCoast Racing team principal Dick Jonsson-Wigroth pointed to some uncertainties which still need to be answered: “It sounds good, but there are still some things we’d need to know. We need to know what the entry fees are, and also what the calendar will be for a start. These are key when you make a business plan for the next year, and this is all very late already.”