ARG excited by TCR Toyota

A Toyota Gazoo Racing Argentina-built TC2000-specification Toyota Corolla

The Australian Racing Group is excited by the prospect of the new Toyota Corolla entering the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Argentina will develop a TCR version of its hugely popular nameplate in sedan form, as announced in late-April.

That creates the potential for Australia’s biggest-selling automotive marque to be represented on the grid at some point in the near future, alongside fellow high-volume sellers Hyundai and Volkswagen.

ARG CEO Matt Braid told selected media including Speedcafe.com that he would “absolutely” like to see Toyotas in Supercheap Auto TCR Australia.

“Through our connection with WSC [World Sport Consulting, global TCR owner], we’ve been exposed to some intel that’s been coming through over the past sort of 18 months, two years, on who’s looking and who’s interested,” added Braid.

“So, we did know that Toyota was looking, so to actually have that confirmed, that’s great.

“Off the back of MGs coming in, Fiat’s doing their new model, Audi’s redone their Evo version, and we know of other manufacturers that have been doing an evaluation on TCR as well, behind the scenes…

“So, the Toyota one coming to fruition, off the back of hearing the rumours, is really pleasing.

“Given the power of the brand in this country and elsewhere, it’s a huge shot in the arm for TCR from the point of view of being such a competitive, manufacturer-based series.”

That does not mean, however, that ARG would be footing the bill to get a Corolla onto the grid.

The owner of TCR Australia was active in the marketplace when setting up the series in 2019, often subsidising cars or the cost of acquisition.

While those days are over, Braid believes there will be strong interest from competitors in Toyota and, should it be revived, the Mazda3 TCR project.

“We did that [subsidies] in the early days to help some people get started, and in some cases we had a couple cars ourselves; in others cases we paid freight to help get cars get in early to save time,” recalled Braid.

“That’s a thing of the past, so this one we won’t have to touch on it.

“I’m sure there’s people on the phone already making enquiries and that’s the pleasing thing for us; whenever there has been a new brand talked about – whether it be MG or even Fiat and Geely too – the guys jumped on that very quickly and enquiries were made.

“We haven’t had to start those enquiries; if anything, we’re just keeping an eye on whether someone is going to end up buying cars or not.

“So, Toyota and the Mazda product – I think that looks like it’s going to be restarted – those two brands will be highly targeted amongst competitors.”

The TCR-spec Mazda3 was announced in October 2019 before the project came to a halt last August.

As yet, a date for the Corolla’s TCR debut is not known.

Round 5 of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series is currently slated to take place at Morgan Park on June 25-27, although that date could shift due to Victoria’s latest COVID-19 outbreak.

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