The paddock is where teams, race organisers and race officials set up home on a TCR World Tour race weekend. Normally located next to the track and pit lane, it’s where teams prepare their cars for the weekend, host their hospitality, and arrange media sessions. For fans with passes, the paddock is a perfect opportunity to get behind the scenes and look out for their favourite drivers and personalities.
TCR cars have become a firm fixture in international racing, having been adopted by dozens of national and regional championships around the globe. TCR World Tour is the highest level of TCR competition, taking over from WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. It features privateer teams from a number of the most prestigious car manufacturers on the planet, including Hyundai.
As part of the new format, nine international events have been selected from over 200 TCR-sanctioned rounds to form the TCR World Tour. There will be participants who compete in the full season, with additional entries considered on a race-by-race basis by the local TCR Series. The top 15 drivers of the TCR World Tour will qualify directly for the final race of the TCR World Final.
The pit lane is located adjacent to the track to allow easy entry and exit for all participants. Competitors use the pit lane to gain direct access to their garages and pit boxes, where mechanics carry out work on the car. It’s not compulsory to make a pit stop in TCR World Tour, but if a driver has been involved in an incident they may have to come in for repairs. During all sessions, the pit lane must be kept clear of personnel for safety reasons.
A worldwide ranking to give value to the performance of TCR drivers, regardless of what championship they compete in. The ranking is updated every Wednesday, counting the last 20 races of each driver. At the 30th September, the top 45 classified drivers in the TCR World Ranking will qualify for the TCR World Final.
A touring car is a four or five-door production vehicle, powered by a two-litre turbocharged engine. Based on the road-going model, the bodywork and suspension tend to remain as production spec, with modifications made to the brakes and aerodynamics to make the car compliant with TCR regulations. All cars are subject to Balance of Performance (BoP) adjustments.
All TCR World Tour cars must adhere to strict TCR technical regulations. A team of technical officials carries out thorough checks of competing vehicles before, during and after each event. If a car doesn’t pass these checks, the driver and team could be handed penalties or even face disqualification.
Balance of Performance (BoP) is a system used to level the playing field between the cars to make the racing more competitive. The same BoP rules apply across TCR World Tour and all TCR series. The TCR technical departments define the parameters at the start of the season for competitors and can make adjustments to the weight of a car, engine performance level and apply any technical restrictions it deems necessary.
Drivers have opportunities to score points in qualifying and the races. The top six fastest drivers will be awarded points for their combined results only as follows: 15-10-8-6-4-2. The top fifteen finishers in a race will be awarded points, distributed on a 30-25-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 basis. TCR World Ranking points awarded in TCR World Tour events are increased by 50% compared to other TCR World Ranking events.
Located next to the pit lane, the garage is a busy area where mechanics carry out work on the car, change tyres and maybe even take a sneaky look at the competition. Special guests of the team can also be found in the garage keeping a close eye on all the action.
Practice makes perfect as they say. Free Practice sessions are an ideal opportunity for teams and drivers to learn the track and test out qualifying and race settings – particularly important for new tracks! There are two Free Practice sessions each TCR World Tour weekend.
Qualifying is a crucial element of TCR World Tour and determines the order in which drivers start a race. There is a two-phase Qualifying (Q1, Q2) elimination format, with a 20 minute Q1 session for all drivers followed by a ten minute Q2 session for the 12 fastest drivers. The exception is the finale in Asia, where the sessions are 30 minutes and 15 minutes respectively. The top six fastest drivers will be awarded points for their combined results only as follows: 15-10-8-6-4-2.
After the qualifying sessions and races, competitors must bring their cars into the restricted parc ferme area – literally meaning ‘closed park’ in French. Here, the cars are scrutineered by the stewards. Only race organisers and stewards have access to this area. No work is permitted on the cars by mechanics and team personnel in parc ferme without the express permission of the officials.
The tin-top action is most exciting in race mode. Cars battle side-by-side up and down the field, ensuring close racing on every single lap until the chequered flag. There are two races in every TCR World Tour round, with the exception of Australia which has three. Each race across a weekend will be the same length, but this varies depending on the location. The all-important title points are awarded to the top 15 finishers of each race.
The grid is the formation in which cars will start a race. In TCR World Cup, cars line up two per each row. The grid positions are determined in qualifying, but they can change if a penalty or disqualification is applied. For fans lucky enough to be in possession of a grid walk pass, it’s an unrivaled opportunity to witness those last-minute preparations before the start of a race.
Reverse grids are notorious in touring car races. They can increase the on-track entertainment by mixing up the starting order. In TCR World Tour, depending on which event, the top ten or top twelve fastest cars will be reversed for one race. It’s a great opportunity for teams and drivers to demonstrate they are capable of battling their way through the field to claim podiums and victories.
Flags are used to signal specific instructions to drivers. A yellow flag is waved to warn drivers to slow down because of an incident or obstruction. A red flag halts a session because of an incident or poor weather. The green flag signals the start of the race, or an obstruction cleared. The chequered flag is shown at the end of the race. It’s imperative that competitors follow the instructions given to ensure safety while racing.
The first position on the grid, known as pole position, is usually reserved for the driver who has set the fastest lap in qualifying, with the exception of reverse grids. A strong qualifying gives a driver the best possible start on race day, offering a clear run to the first corner with minimal need to overtake rivals – provided a driver has had a good start.
One of the most important members of the team. Race Engineers work with the driver to set up the car for qualifying and race sessions. They feed back data to ensure the driver can improve next time out, identify and iron out any issues that arise on the car and make crucial strategy calls.
A lap is a single, complete rotation of a track. Most circuit-based races are measured by the number of laps drivers must complete before the race is declared to be finished. In qualifying, drivers compete to set the fastest lap time to win the coveted pole position. A lap record is the fastest time ever to be set at a track.
All TCR World Tour teams receive their tyres from the sole supplier to the series. Dry and wet weather tyres are made available to the teams, with a limitation on how many can be used at each event. Teams are responsbile for ensuring the tyres fit properly and do not infringe technical regulations.
The TCR World Tour competes on a variety of tracks. These are normally tarmac, but surfaces vary event-to-event based on circuit organisers, use and wear. Street circuits often mix public and race-ready surfaced track. Different tracks pose different challenges to teams and drivers, including speed, elevation, corner angles and run off areas.
A safety car is used to limit track speeds and control the pace of the field, usually brought out for an incident or obstructions on track. Competitors must remain behind the safety car and cannot overtake the pace car or rivals. Safety car periods can certainly spice up the racing as it allows the pack to close up. When the safety car period ends, drivers battle to get the best start and use it as a prime opportunity to make up positions.
During the nine events, drivers and teams will be aiming to score as many points as possible to climb the TCR World Tour standings. This will culminate in the best Driver and Team being awarded the KUMHO TCR World Cup at the end of the season.
The TCR World Final will be organised following the end of the TCR World Tour. It will be held every year, over four racing days, with a playoff format. Drivers from TCR World Tour and TCR World Ranking will take part to ultimately crown the best TCR driver in the world. The final will award titles for Drivers, Teams and Manufacturers.
Mechanics prepare the car in the garage for each session in a race weekend, often up against tight deadlines. To add to the pressure, teams are only permitted to have 10 people work across both cars at any one time. Only team members issued with an armband are permitted to touch the car, so teams have to decide how best to deploy their resources.