A rival to TCR Australia is set to be unveiled as organisers of the GT-1 Australia series look to expand their portfolio in 2019.
Already poised to run the Productions Car Australia Championship next year, Rod Salmon and business partner Paul Taylor are working on a Production Race Car competition designed for TCR and GT4 machinery.
The new category will run with AASA sanctioning as part of the Australian Motor Racing Series, with Salmon claiming he’s set to personally buy 10 TCR cars from Volkswagen Audi Group to help form the initial grid.
“We’re looking at the moment at putting a TCR and GT4 category together as well, called Production Race Cars,” Salmon told Speedcafe.com.
“So as opposed to build it at home in your own shed, it has to be a car that has been purchased from a production race car manufacturer.
“We aren’t TCR, we can’t be TCR, but to be honest with you I think TCR is an absolutely perfect product.
“When I look at my Mercedes (A45 production car) at $200,000 and I look at a TCR car at $200,000, I go ‘that’s what I should have done’.
“So we’re trying to put that together at the moment as well,” Salmon continued.
“We’re working with the VAG group on getting 10 cars here for our series.
“They are bringing $600,000 worth of spares for their things, and MPC (Melbourne Performance Centre) are going to have those in stock, so we’re tending towards the Audi, the VW and the Cupra, so the Seat, at the moment.”
The new series will see it in direct competition with TCR Australia, which owns the commercial rights to the TCR name in Australia.
That agreement would prevent Production Race Cars from using the TCR name, though could not prevent the cars from competing.
The same is true for GT4, with its commercial rights currently in the hands of Australian GT.
“CAMS procured the rights to run an official TCR category in Australia from the global promoter, TCR Worldwide. With the global promoter, CAMS has registered all relevant trademarks and nomenclature to TCR in Australia,” CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca told Speedcafe.com.
“These rights have been provided to ARG (Australian Racing Group) by CAMS under the terms of a Commercial Right Agreement. A similar arrangement is in place for GT4 with Australian GT.
“We are excited about TCR Australia debuting in 2019 and look forward to the first event early next year.”
Salmon hopes that, while GT4 will initially help fill the grid, the new category will become the exclusive domain of TCR machinery.
“That’s it, so that we’ve got a grid of 17 cars, it looks okay, got all sorts of different makes mashed up in there,” he explained.
“We’ll be encouraging anyone who’s bought a TCR car to come race with us as well.”
The final piece of the puzzle for Salmon and Taylor is inking a category management agreement with AASA, which is currently being worked on.
Once settled, the new category could join the AMRS platform next season alongside GT-1 Australia and Production Cars Australia, both of which are run by Salmon and Taylor.
“We’re penning it now with AMRS,” Salmon revealed.
“They’ve already said ‘yep we can find a spot on the calendar for you to be there’, and we’re pretty confident that’s going to happen.
“I’m 75 percent there. I’ve got the cars organised, the big thing I’ve got to do is lock it into the calendar with AMRS.
“They’re very keen and then (I need to) open my wallet and go, ‘Here’s the $2 million, send me 10 cars.'”