TCR Europe confident of being in Pau after event’s biofuel push catches out a series

TCR Europe has reassured that its presence at next weekend’s Pau Grand Prix is not at threat after another series was removed from the event due to non-compliance with biofuel targets.

The event, held on the streets of French city Pau, is heading into its 80th running and the organisers have put a focus on sustainable fuels for the coming years, starting with 2023.

This approach was formulated at last year’s grand prix weekend, which included races for the now defunct all-electric FIA ETCR and a demo from an electric single-seater car, and led to the event looking at different series to fill the race bill as cars technical compliance to the sustainable vision were preferred.

Ultimately it settled on Euroformula as the headline single-seater series, and for TCR Europe to top the touring car billing following ETCR’s collapse.

Both were only announced earlier this year, and this morning Euroformula was dropped from the schedule as the series’ technical team did not believe it’s naturally-aspirated engines could comply with the grade of biofuel that the event organiser wanted.

Following the news, TouringCarTimes reached out to TCR Europe to find out if it could be impacted by the same problem.

“This news does not affect our participation in the Circuit de Pau in any way,” said the series’ promoter Paulo Ferreira. “TCR Europe and the organisation of the Grand Prix de Pau have been developing a fruitful work which I hope will all have an excellent success.”

Marcello Lotti, founder of the TCR concept and president of the World Sporting Consulting (WSC) behind the TCR World Tour and previously ETCR, was also asked by TouringCarTimes about biofuel at last weekend’s combined opening round for the TCR World Tour and TCR Europe at Algarve.

“For responsibility, it’s clear everybody has to take it if there is an opportunity to go more into an environmentally-led [focus rather] than stay out. And we are thinking the same,” he said.

“For TCR, the concept of it, the technical regulations of it, we are using only production engines. And for these, we have to define a biofuel that could be not too much aggressive [and easily compatible]. We are working with different companies, and the plan clearly is as soon as possible to clearly move on biofuel, more and more and more green.

“Not only 10% [biofuel mix], 20%, we are using biofuel now but clearly with a low percentage. We want to increase this, but clearly in the fact that not all the customers of TCR cars, that is 1,280 I think [worldwide] at the moment, can [make a switch].

“So we don’t want for them to have to change their engines to use the biofuel. So we are working with companies that produce biofuel to make one biofuel compatible with what we have or at least [only requiring] to change some easy part on the engine to use them. So a little bit like Formula 1. It’s correct working in this direction, we have to do it.”