TCR Australia boss expresses interest in adopting E TCR concept

The E TCR concept could become Australia's first all-electric racing category, according to the man fronting TCR's presence in the country

TCR Australia boss expresses interest in adopting E TCR concept

E TCR was formally launched at Barcelona earlier this month and WSC Technology, a subsidiary of Marcello Lotti's WSC Group that created TCR regulations, plans to launch a standalone series in 2020.

The concept impressed TCR Australia boss Matt Braid, who was in Spain on a fact-finding mission ahead of his series' inaugural season in 2019.

Australia does not currently have a dedicated electric category, but Braid said E TCR could easily fill that void once it has been established in Europe.

"Absolutely," said Braid, when asked by Autosport if the category could come to Australia.

"The feedback on the day was very good, and the manufacturers there, they were all talking about it. So they see the automotive landscape changing.

"Electrification is obviously here to stay and is the way forward.

"[Manufacturers] see it as an avenue like Formula E, which is obviously pursuing technology in the electric space in open-wheel and leading edge stuff in the environment, whereas E TCR actually has electrification in a production-based touring car category.

"I think that's very positive and Marcello [Lotti], to his credit and his team, are now technically leading the way of electrification in touring-car racing as Formula E is in open-wheelers.

"I think it's a great move for the series and certainly the manufacturers are particularly interested in it.

"By that nature, going forward, yes, I believe there's certainly a place for it in Australia in the future.

"I don't think we would lead the way in it, quite clearly. It has got a few years to really map out how it runs and to preview more manufacturers coming in.

"But there is no doubt it's going to happen, and it'll happen big in Europe first and then I think it will translate down into the Australian market for us in TCR Australia at some stage."

SEAT performance brand Cupra is currently the only manufacturer to have developed a car to E TCR regulations, although Lotti has said the names of other marques involved in the concept will be announced soon.

There has never been any top-level electric racing in Australia, and long-held plans for a Formula E round in the country are yet to materialise.

TCR Australia is understood to be close to completing its 2019 calendar, with an announcement expected soon.

A TCR-spec Volkswagen Golf GTI arrived in the country earlier this week and is in the care of Melbourne Performance Centre, which will be the official agent for Volkswagen-Audi Group cars in the region.

An Audi RS3 LMS, also housed at MPC, and a latest-specification Honda Civic built by JAS Motorsport have been imported while last month, HMO Customer Racing became the first team to confirm plans to enter the new series with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns.

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