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Touring Car Trophy, TCR UK to run “as one series” for 2020

Promoter Stewart Lines has revealed that changes for the 2020 season will see the Touring Car Trophy and TCR UK brought together as one series.

Lines launched the Touring Car Trophy last year to cater for older-spec BTCC cars and a raft of other machinery running two litre engines, but then took over the running of TCR UK – with the two series together on a combined grid.

That led to confusion at times for fans watching on, with some drivers battling only for Touring Car Trophy honours and others fighting to score points towards the TCR UK Championship.

In conversation with TouringCarTimes at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, Lines revealed that – having come through a challenging 2019 season – a raft of changes have been put in place for 2020 with the target of increasing grid numbers for the year ahead.

Unlike 2019, when the Touring Car Trophy and TCR UK ran as separate series due to the late nature of the deal to take over the latter, revised regulations mean the two will now be combined under the Touring Car Trophy name – with both TCR-spec and older NGTC cars previously used in the BTCC being eligible to compete.

As well as crowning an overall Touring Car Trophy winner at the season’s end, the best-placed driver in a TCR-spec car will then secure the TCR UK title.

Lines revealed that he is hopeful of securing a field of “around 15 cars”, with a number of teams having already expressed an interest in being part of the grid.

Amongst the TCR brigade, Lewis Kent and Darelle Wilson, who finished second and third in the TCR UK standings last year, are both expected to return for the 2020 campaign, whilst newly-formed outfit JM-Racing is also working towards an entry.

TouringCarTimes understands that the Cupra TCR campaigned by Lines’ own Maximum Motorsport team last season could also feature, albeit being run by another team with experience of competing in the British Touring Car Championship, whilst Maximum itself intends to have a presence on the grid.

Older NGTC-spec machines are set to bolster the grid, with Team Dynamics again expected to run a Honda Civic Type R after taking Henry Neal to two wins in 2019, whilst additional cars from the likes of Team HARD and Laser Tools Racing being made available to potential drivers.

Tony Gilham’s HARD outfit has a Volkswagen CC that could join the grid after Carl Boardley’s decision to purchase a BMW 125i M Sport from WSR for his BTCC programme, whilst Laser Tools Racing will convert the Infiniti Q50 that Aiden Moffat raced in the second half of the 2019 season back to GPRM-specification – with the second car that the team had acquired twelve months ago being completed with GRPM parts.

The provisional seven round calendar that was announced back in November has now been made official, with the Touring Car Trophy becoming the headline act on a revised package that will include the Volkswagen Racing Cup as well as a number of championships run by the BRSCC.

Work is ongoing meanwhile to secure a broadcast deal that will include live streaming of events.