The TCR UK Championship launches into its fifth season this weekend, when 26-cars line up on the grid for rounds one and two at Oulton Park on Easter Bank Holiday Monday.
With more entries than ever and a field that represents seven manufacturers and nine different models, 2022 is set to be the UK edition of the global-specification touring car series’ biggest and best season yet. Indeed, WSC (World Sporting Consulting), the organisation behind the TCR concept, report that this year’s grid numbers make the UK championship the fastest growing and one of the largest of the world’s 30 TCR series’ currently operating.
After claiming the TCR UK crown in 2020 and 2021, Lewis Kent will carry #1 on his car and unsurprisingly, a target on his back. Run by his family’s Essex & Kent Motorsport team, staying with the Hyundai brand, he switches from an i30 N TCR to a Veloster N TCR for this season, the only car of its kind currently competing in Europe.
Another driver to watch will be runner-up last year, Bruce Winfield. After scoring three race wins in 2021, it goes without saying that he aims to go one better this year, driving his recently acquired Area Motorsport-run CUPRA TCR.
New to TCR UK this year but certainly no newcomer to touring car racing, Chris Smiley joins the Championship driving a Honda Civic Type R, looked after by Restart Racing with factory support from Honda. A previous BTCC race winner and multiple podium finisher, his saloon car experience is destined to make him a formidable force this season.
Younger brother of Lewis, Bradley Kent showed his pace last year and his first season of competition at this level. With three race wins and five fastest laps – more than any other driver in 2021 – he’s proved his credentials as a contender and will drive the same Essex & Kent Hyundai i30N TCR he campaigned last year.
The Subaru Impreza WRX STi TCR will make is UK competition debut this weekend, with 2016 Renault Clio Cup Champion, 2018 JCW Mini Challenge Champion and former BTCC competitor Ant Whorton-Eales driving the JamSport Racing prepared car. With such an impressive saloon car racing CV to his credit, he’s another expected to feature at the front of the field.
Also bringing a new car to the UK TCR grid is Matthew Wilson, who will be driving a CUPRA Leon Competición. With this the latest weapon in the Spanish brand’s TCR armoury, CUPRA Sport will be attending this weekend’s event to observe this and their other eight cars entered.
One of the most exciting drivers on the grid, whether starting from the front or having to battle his way through the field, Max Hart’s speed is unquestionable. Round one winner last year, the Irishman drives a Hyundai i30N TCR ran by JamSport Racing this season.
Current W Series competitor, F1 TV presenter and Ambassador for the Congnizant Aston Martin F1 team Jessica Hawkins joins TCR UK for the first time this year. Embarking on a high-level, full season touring car campaign for the first time, she will be driving one of the two FastR Area Motorsport CUPRA TCRs, with former Milltek Sport Civic Cup front-runner Jamie Tonks in the other.
Championship Manager Stewart Lines is excited to see 26 drivers taking part this weekend: “We’ve been working towards this moment since 2019 and to have received over 30 registrations and see 26 cars on the grid establishes TCR UK as the championship it deserves to be.
“With these numbers and a field that features a combination of returning and new drivers, predicting a winner is almost impossible, especially as all cars are subject to worldwide TCR balance of performance regulations. However, I can predict that we’re going to see some spectacular racing this weekend.”
In addition to the battle for overall honours, 2022 sees the introduction of the Tom Walker Memorial Trophy for drivers who have yet to set foot on the podium or are new to the championship this season. Plus, for the more senior on the grid, there’s the Goodyear Diamond Trophy; an award for drivers aged 40 and over.
This year’s opening two rounds take place on the Intelligent Money British GT programme, with the weekend’s TCR UK action getting underway around Oulton Park’s International configuration circuit with a 30-minute Qualifying session at 3.20pm on Saturday. Following a day’s sabbatical on Sunday, the first of the two 25-minute races gets the green light at 9.00am on Monday, followed by the second at 2.45.
TCR UK is supported by Goodyear, Maximum Networks, Liqui Moly, Corbeau, MaxiCloud Hosted Telephony, Co-ordSport, Berkshire Turbo, Joyce Design, Shepherd Compello Motorsport Insurance and Sunoco. The Championship is administered by Club Time Attack.
ENTRY LIST (click to download pdf)
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