Positive signs for TCR despite ongoing disruption

The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series at Phillip Island. Picture: Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series’ underlying metrics are sound despite repeated disruptions during its fledgling seasons, according to Australian Racing Group CEO Matt Braid.

TCR Australia competition began in May 2019 at Sydney Motorsport Park and that season is the only one which has been completed to date.

Last year’s never went beyond a qualifying session for the Asia Pacific Cup round at Albert Park in March, but the opening round of 2021 went ahead on its original Australia Day date despite dramas caused by separate COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Brisbane.

A long break in the middle of the current campaign, to fit around Seven’s Olympic Games commitments, was always planned, but the ultimate cancellation of the already postponed Morgan Park round, made for almost 20 weeks off from the Sydney round to the Sandown round.

It will be 24 weeks by the time Rounds 5 and 6 are held at The Bend on October 15-17 after Sandown was also called off due to border restrictions, as announced earlier this week.

Despite the stuttering nature of TCR calendars since the series came to life in Australia, Braid says interest from motorsport fans is still high.

“We’re not the only ones in this boat,” he told Speedcafe.com between the Morgan Park and Sandown cancellations.

“I think it comes down to various factors; the fans are still there, they want motorsport content, and certainly TCR’s attractive to them.

“We’re obviously continuing to do what we can from a point of view of publicity and if we don’t have racing content, we’ll try and provide some other TCR content for them to keep them enthused and whet their appetite.”

Grid numbers have thus far been in either the high-teens or low-twenties, larger than where the series left off at the end of 2019.

In addition to fan appeal, Braid says competitor and commercial interest is also strong.

“The second part is, we’ve got a very committed group of teams and competitors; they’re fully invested in the series, [they] like it,” he added.

“Quite frankly, we did anticipate we could have a smaller grid of TCR cars this year than what we did last year, because of the commercial impact on the sport, but we’ve actually grown it year on year, so that’s a really positive sign for us.

“All the metrics around the TCR series are heading north and moving really well and it’s shown in growth despite these challenges, and that’s from the fanbase perspective, broadcast perspective, competitor perspective, commercial perspective, et cetera.

“So, we’re really pleased in that despite the challenges. We’ve still got this momentum that’s carrying forward and it’s still growing, which is great.”

Chaz Mostert leads the series having racked up five race wins so far in his Melbourne Performance Centre Audi.

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