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. The WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup is the pinnacle of TCR racing and features privateer teams from a number of the most prestigious car manufacturers on the planet, including Hyundai.
Taking place on a variety of some of the world’s most demanding circuits, WTCR promotes close, wheel-to-wheel racing, creating a brilliant spectacle for the series; loyal legion of fans. Hyundai’s vehicles have been a formidable force in the championship, with customer teams securing the inaugural drivers’ and teams’ honours in 2018 followed by a second drivers’ title in 2019.
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.
The World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) was established in 2018, succeeding the World Touring Car Championship. WTCR adopted TCR technical regulations – a change from TC1 regulations – to become highest class of competition for TCR racing. Every round features a single qualifying session and two races. Teams and drivers compete for a world cup, so there is no direct manufacturer involvement.
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. Success ballasts are added to the three best performing cars from the previous event, and all cars are subject to Balance of Performance (BoP) adjustments.
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 WTCR and all TCR series. The FIA and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.