There will be no TCR racing in Australia this year and the focus has now switched to 2021.
Despite the success of the shortened and revised Supercars championship, the carsales TCR Australia Series failed to fire because of the impact of Coronavirus restrictions and border closures on its mainly semi-professional teams.
A final bid for racing at Sandown this month has now been binned and the focus at the Australian Racing Group has shifted entirely to next year.
The category management team is looking to open its 2021 season with a double-header in Tasmania, followed by a season that includes two events at Bathurst and a first visit to Morgan Park Raceway in Queensland.
“We’re done for this year. We’ve decided to keep our powder dry for 2021 and come out strong,” the CEO of ARG, Matt Braid, told Race News.
“It’s done. It’s done for us. We did look at a couple of options, but with the border situation and the risks involved with travelling we decided to focus on next year.
“Talking to our teams, it’s what they prefer.”
ARG is planning a seven-event season in 2021, although only six will count for the championship, and has twinned the TCR category with its new Trans Am Series. It is still responsible for several other high-profile categories, led by S5000 single-seaters and Touring Car Masters, but cannot confirm their dates until Supercars announces its calendar.
Braid says he expects 17-18 TCR cars on the grid in Tasmania in January, with growing support through the year.
“We’ve had a bit of interest over the past couple of month and we’re expecting that interest to grow. We’ve got people asking about cars and regs, so that’s a positive.”
The late-January dates for Symmons Plains and Baskerville could still be shaky, with no firm timetable for travel to Tasmania, but ARG is confident the new ‘Race Tasmania’ festival will go ahead as planned.
“They are giving strong indications that the dates are fine. As each day goes on we’re more and more confident,” said Braid.
He is also confident in the support of TCR teams, who have not had any racing – and only minimal testing – this year.
“I think there is frustration from all parties. Ourselves and the competitor group.
“But, equally, what’s been great is the support from competitors and sponsors. All of our decisions have been taken in consultation.
“We decided we were better off waiting until 2021. I think the frustration from 2020 has switched to optimism for 2021.”
ARG is continuing its involvement with the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, where TCR will be the headline act, as well as the Bathurst 6-Hour meeting.
It is also working on a revised plan for the Bathurst International, with a date in either November or December, in the hope that international teams will be able to attend by then for a revival of the Bathurst 500 as a two-driver TCR enduro.
The championship will wrap at Sandown in September, removing any title pressure before TCR teams head to the Bathurst International
Braid says the final pieces in next year’s puzzle are dates for all ARG categories.
“Trans Am will mirror TCR. But from a S5000 and Touring Car Masters perspective there will be individual components. The announcement about Adelaide does influence that. Once we see what the Supercars calendar is like, we will be in better point to announce plans for S5000, Touring Car Masters and V8 Touring Cars.
On the television front, ARG said all TCR Australia and Trans Am rounds, including the Bathurst 6 Hour and the Bathurst International events, will be broadcast live and free on the Seven Network and its 7plus streaming platform.
TCR AUSTRALIA SERIES
2021 PROVISIONAL CALENDAR
|Symmons Plains, Tasmania
|Phillip Island, Victoria
|April 30-May 2
|Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
|Morgan Park, Queensland
|Bathurst International, NSW