TCR Australia kicks off in Sydney
Molly Taylor, Chelsea Angelo and Alexandra Whitley will be on the grid of the inaugural TCR Australia weekend.
TCR sanctioned Series have found much acclaim in the last few years thanks to the regulations formulated by TCR International manager Marcello Lotti, which turned touring cars into a cost-effective and competitive racing alternative.
There are currently four internationally-sanctioned TCR Series competing around the world, plus 12 national or regional series utilising the TCR regulations as their main rule book.
From this weekend Australia joins the club, as Sydney Motorsport Park will host the first round of the Australian TCR.
In the 17-car field, we'll find three female drivers: rallying legend Molly Taylor (31, racing for Kelly Racing), Chelsea Angelo (22, Kelly Racing) and Alexandra Whitley (25, Alliance Autosport).
The event marks the first circuit-based experience for Taylor, a former Australian rally champion, supported in this adventure by Castrol.
“It’s fantastic to have Castrol onboard and supporting me in my first circuit race this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park for the first TCR Australia race,” - she commented, "it’s great to have another strong brand in TCR and hopefully we’ll do them proud."
Taylor won't be the only female racer lined up by Kelly Racing though, as the promising Chelsea Angelo has secured a drive for the team for the inaugural round in an Opel Astra TCR.
Angelo is one of Australian motorsport’s most experienced female drivers, having cut her teeth through the ranks in Formula Ford, Super2 Supercars and Porsche racing.
“It’s incredible to confirm that I will race in TCR this year,” - said Angelo.
“I wasn’t sure what my racing options were at the start of the season, but when I saw that TCR was coming here, I always felt that it was a great category for myself. There’s a lot of ex-Supercars drivers in there, plus Porsche drivers, rally car drivers, a few females. It’s a real mixed bag.”
Like Taylor, Angelo had the opportunity to test with Kelly Racing at Winston Raceway in preparation for the season kick-off in Sydney, where she was confronted with the challenges of TCR for the first time: “I’ve never raced a front wheel drive car before and I’ll be trying to get my head around it as fast as I can. It will be interesting. When I tested at Winton last week, one of the things I found tricky was trying to get the temperature of the rear tyres up. I’ve been speaking to a lot of people to learn as much as I can before we get to Sydney.
I’m confident of getting my head around it all, but I love a challenge. I’m excited. I have absolutely no expectations, so it’s nice to go there with an open mind set."
Alexandra Whitley, a WSeries qualifier, also has found a competitive racing program in the TCR Australia, as she signed a deal with the newly-named team Alliance Autosport.
Whitley, born in Toowoomba and living in New Zealand, will drive the #35 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, run in cooperation with Matt Stone Racing.
It will also be the first time for Whitley in a front wheel drive car, as she looks forward to a learning weekend: “TCR is going to be very competitive with some well known drivers. If I can rub doors with some of them, I’ll know that I’m doing well." - said Alexandra.
“This is an opportunity that I have been working towards and I’m very grateful to Matt Stone and Jason Bright for helping to make it happen. Both Matt and Jason have years and years of experience. They really know what they are doing and I’m just looking forward to learning from their knowledge, soaking it up and doing my best.”
TCR Australia will feature a 3 races-format weekend, with qualifying taking place on Saturday at 10:55 and Race 1 at 14:10. The second and third races will go green on Sunday at 13:10 and 14:15 respectively. All times are local.
In Chelsea's words:
“TCR is a great category. It’s known world wide and it can open up doors to overseas racing, so to be able to bring that here is a great thing. And it will be an even playing field. I’m excited and can’t wait to get my bum back in seat.”
Ph credits: Kelly Racing