After five-week break, the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK returns on Bank Holiday Monday (31st May) for rounds three and four of a game-changing 2021 season. For the first time since 2018, TCR cars will make an appearance at Castle Combe Circuit, set in the heart of Wiltshire countryside.
Famed for its fast and flowing layout split by a pair of chicanes, high speeds and slipstreaming will be the order of the day. Three years ago, victory went to eventual champion Daniel Lloyd in his Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ollie Taylor in a Honda Civic Type R, which took its maiden win of the campaign. From that meeting, only Lewis Kent returns, now as defending champion.
Coming into the weekend it could not be tighter at the top, with both Max Hart and Kent tied on 48 points. After securing pole position around the expansive Silverstone International Circuit, Hart went on to win the opening race and post the fastest lap in his Maximum Motorsport prepared Hyundai i30N TCR. In his similar car, run by Essex and Kent Motorsport, the current title holder turned the tables in race two to take his first win, with Hart having to settle for second. Their rivalry is expected to continue this weekend.
Once again, Kent will be joined by his younger brother Bradley, the 19-year-old one of the standout performers at Silverstone and even out-qualified his brother in round one. However, a puncture brought an early end to his efforts and therefore, he’ll be looking for better luck at Castle Combe and aiming to make it a Hyundai three-some at the front of the field.
Along with Hart, Maximum Motorsport will be supporting Grant Motorsport this weekend, as Castle Combe regular Alex Kite joins the grid driving a Cupra TCR. The 22-year-old already has two Classic VW Cup titles under his belt and in 2018 was the Castle Combe Saloons Champion – an accolade that makes him the perfect benchmark for venue first-timers, albeit this weekend marks his debut in a TCR car.
One such Castle Combe rookie is Will Powell. The Motus One team boss continues his partnership with Maximum Motorsport in his Hyundai i30N TCR. Joining him in the Motus One awning will be Danny Krywyj, the TCT newcomer making an impression last time out and will be determined to build on his debut appearance this time around.
Best of the NGTC runners at Silverstone was Darron Lewis. Fourth in qualifying, third in the first and fifth in the second race means he is a likely contender in his Team HARD Mercedes A Class. Lewis can expect tough competition from his fellow Team HARD teammates: Toby Bearne in another Mercedes and, making his Goodyear Touring Car Trophy debut this weekend, Daniel Wylie in an NGTC BMW 1 Series.
PowerMaxed Car Care Racing will again field three talented pedallers, with 22 year-old William Butler and 23 year-old Jac Constable joined by the experienced Dan Kirby, all in Cupra TCRs. Kirby was the team’s talisman at Silverstone and, after leading in the opening stages, came home an impressive third in the second race.
Teammate William Butler recorded a sixth in round one only to experience a mechanical issue in round two and therefore, will be out to prove a point this weekend, as the PMR trio look to challenge for the Teams’ title.
Another who made his Goodyear Touring Car Trophy at Silverstone was 2020 Milltek Civic Cup and Time Attack Champion Bruce Winfield. Driving his stunning-looking Area Motorsport prepared Cupra TCR DSG, Winfield admits he learned a great deal from his inaugural outing and will be looking to build on his experience at Castle Combe.
Making it five manufacturers represented will be the DW Racing Vauxhall Astra TCR of Darrelle Wilson, who returns having handed over the seat to 2020 VW Racing Cup Champion Andy Wilmot at Silverstone.
Once again, the action will be punctuated by the Volkswagen Racing Cup, the one-make championship running on the same grid as the TCT and TCR cars this season.
Speaking ahead of the weekend, Goodyear Touring Car Trophy Owner Stewart Lines said:
“It’s great to be back at Castle Combe. The circuit was really exciting to drive when I raced there in the TCR UK Championship in 2018. Now three years on, I hope our Goodyear Touring Car Trophy drivers will enjoy the experience and now that spectators will be allowed to attend for the first time this year, I hope they’ll enjoy the return of high-profile touring car racing too!”
Cars will venture onto the track at 8.30 for Free Practice, followed by Qualifying at 10.10. The first 20-minute race gets the green light at 14.00 with the second at 17.10. All of the action, together with driver interviews and exclusive behind the scenes insights, will be live streamed on the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy and TCR UK Facebook pages and You Tube channel.