In 2016, Creventic, the Dutch company promoting the 24H Series and the newly-created TCE (Touring Car Endurance) Series, established a class for TCR cars in its championships. Only a handful of teams, all with SEAT cars, took up the challenge but they soon proved that their vehicles were not only reliable, but could also compete with more powerful and expensive machines over 12 or 24 hours.
In 2016 the TCE Series allowed Touring and Grand Touring cars racing together, with the GT4 class as the highest in the field. However, after the successful introduction of the TCR class, Creventic rethought the matter and decided to consider it as the highest.
An official statement from the company reads: “As the TCE Series was originally introduced for Touring Cars, it is a principle to have the TCR class as the highest class.”
As a consequence, even if cars that are eligible to race in the SP3 class (Porsche Cayman, Ginetta G55, BMW M3) might be faster over the lap times, their performance will be controlled over the 12/24 hours using different criteria such as extra pit stops, BoP-time penalties, limited refuelling amount, etc.
Ivo Breukers, who won the TCR class title in 2016 sharing a SEAT León run by the Red Camel-Jordans.nl team with his son Rik, said: “I think that at the beginning of the season, not a lot of people believed in the concept and that is why there weren’t a lot of cars. Then, facts proved that TCR cars are extremely reliable and real racing machines. We have had very exciting races, closely-fought until the flag and ending with almost insignificant gaps. It was terrific racing and I am sure that the class will grow a lot in both numbers and variety for 2017.”
As if to confirm his prediction, one month before the 2017 24H Series kicks off in Dubai, seven TCR entries have already been lodged: four SEAT cars, one Honda and two Audis.
2017 24H TCE SERIES
Round 1 - 24H Silverstone, 31 March/2 April
Round 2 - 12H Magny-Cours, 21/22 April
Round 3 - 24H Misano, 7/9 July
Round 4 - 24H Barcelona, 1/3 September
Round 5 - 12H Spa Francorchamps, 6/7 October
WSC WORLD SPORTING CONSULTING LIMITED 10 Philpot Lane, First Floor London EC3M 8AA - United Kingdom