Bargwanna set for international debut

Ben Bargwanna is all set to enter the international TCR stage this weekend when he takes on some of the world’s best touring car drivers in the Kumho TCR World Tour’s first round.

He will be at the wheel of the Burson Auto Parts-backed Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR at the 4.653 kilometre Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, which is in the Algarve region of Portugal. There he will compete against the likes of Lynk & Co, Honda, Hyundai and Audi.

On the eve of his international touring car debut, Bargwanna is excited to fulfill an aim first devised when the category arrived locally in 2019. “I’m itching, I’m shaking, I’m excited, I’m buzzing, I’m going through all the emotions at the moment, but I’m so stoked,” he said.

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“As soon as TCR came to Australia, dad [Jason] and I looked at the overseas possibilities, but even still we’ve been talking about it for years and it’s never felt like it’s been a real opportunity. Then, all of a sudden it is, and it seems unreal it’s happening, we’re actually doing this, we’re going overseas to race the best.

“It is a cool feeling especially when I remember watching the first Sydney [TCR Australia] race with dad and just talking about how cool this category looks, to now going over to Portugal to take on the world’s best,” Bargwanna added.

The 40-car driver entry includes previous world champions Yann Ehrlacher, Mikel Azcona, Norbert Michelisz, Thed Bjork and Rob Huff. Also in the line-up will be Tom Coronel, Santiago Urrutia, Ma Qing Hua, John Filippi, Isaac Smith and Lewis Brown, as well as Supercheap Auto TCR Australia race winner Nestor Girolami.

“That’s what you want to be racing, the best of the best and these guys made TCR what it is, these drivers are the superstars of this category,” Bargwanna enthused.

In preparation he has been able to tap into the experience of Aaron Cameron who represented Australia at the FIA World Motorsport Games, as well as Frenchman Teddy Clairet.

Not only will Bargwanna gain experience, but he will score points toward the TCR World Ranking where the top 45 will automatically qualify for the final, the venue which is yet to be confirmed ror next year.

Bargwanna will test on Thursday, practice on Friday, then qualify and take in race one on Saturday and race two on Sunday.

Australia will host two rounds of the TCR World Tour, with the first at Sydney Motorsport Park before the global field competes at Mount Panorama as part of the 2023 Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.

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