New TCL category unveiled as TCR’s younger sibling
The FIA is taking measures to unify national and regional touring car championships.
In the last few years, the TCR has become one of the most popular categories in Motorsport. Championships around the world use these cars that feature 2.0-litre turbocharged engines hidden underneath recognisable hatchback bodies. In fact, it may even be considered the peak of Touring Car racing as it has become the class of choice for what was previously the WTCC.
With many young drivers looking at TCR as an objective, the FIA has chosen to create somewhat of a feeder series called TCL – or Touring Car Lite.
Unlike the big daddy of modern Touring Cars, TCL will feature more modest 1.3-litre turbocharged powerplants putting out a maximum of 200hp. They will be based on B-segment cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa and Peugeot 206. This has allowed the FIA to blend the new category with R1/R2 cars from the rallying world helping reduce costs for manufacturers.
Having worked closely with the FIA to create the new regulations, Renault already has a model that will be eligible for TCL in 2020. The French brand recently launched the fifth iteration of its Clio Cup racer which seems to have been designed with the new category in mind.
With the past six months or so giving a fair few renewed small hatchbacks like the infinitely cute Peugeot 208, manufacturers have been creating R2 versions of these city-going cars. In fact, both the 208 and the new Fiesta have been rallyfied meaning not much work needs to be done to turn those cars into TCL circuit racers.
The future of Touring Car racing therefore looks quite bright with a new path for young and aspirational racers to the top and a whole new roster of racecars soon to be unveiled.
Currently in TCR, we have a wide array of models from Cupra’s Leon to Hyundai’s i30n. Surely, these manufacturers won’t want to miss out on the chance to entice young talent to their portfolio of racers. In fact, we see this in GT racing where teams are trying out younger drivers in GT4 before recruiting them as professional drivers to compete in important GT3 races such as the Nurburgring 24 Hours and at Macau.