Bryan Herta on Why TCR Racing Makes So Much Sense
Monday, February 25, 2019

Over the past few years, you may or may not have heard about a new racing category popping up in different regions across the world called TCR. Of course, stateside, the term ‘touring car’ has never really taken hold, and this form of racing has always been a point of curiosity, yet not full comprehension, for U.S. racing fans and competitors.

When our Bryan Herta Autosport team had the opportunity to become involved in the TCR class in 2018 with Hyundai, I too was one that needed to get educated in a hurry. The more I learned about TCR racing, the more I liked it.  

First, TCR is a true global specification which was originally formulated just five years ago by the WSC organization in Europe. This means that the same car that races here in North America can also be raced in TCR Series in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East without major modification. As a team owner who has sunk many millions of dollars into equipment over the past decade, I know how important it is to have a free-flowing market for race cars that allows my investment to hold value over the course of many racing seasons.

Secondly, there was representation by up to a dozen manufacturers in the category globally, with all of them showing the ability to win races, and tweaks made by BoP (Balance of Performance) adjustments that prevented one combination from ‘running away’ with the season as we’ve seen so many times before in various categories. After competing in series where we ended up not having ‘the package’ for that specific year, and knowing the dejection showing up to the track without a true chance at victory, the knowledge that we’d be on even footing to compete for race wins was a huge comforting factor.

Third, these are real race cars, with a performance level similar to a GT4 machine but with a lower purchase and running cost.  In our Hyundai Veloster N the drivers enjoy a six-speed pneumatic paddle shift gearbox, 350 horsepower out of a 2.0 litre turbocharged direct injection powerplant, full data acquisition, and a fully strengthened body shell with aerodynamic enhancements. The value proposition and ‘smiles per dollar’ factor is second to none in sportscar racing.

The last point, which I can’t stress enough is the full availability of all equipment to all competitors. While other racing series have struggled as privateer entries become frustrated with not having the latest available parts and pieces as the ‘works’ cars, TCR’s rulebook prohibits this. Any racer is free to purchase our complete Veloster N TCR car as we raced it off the scales, and we’d simply show up to the next race with another race-ready vehicle.

Thus far there are strong TCR grids in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and the SRO World Challenge with burgeoning categories in SCCA and regional racing.  Expect more to come.