Drivers and teams signed up to the inaugural TCR Australia series enjoyed an open test session at the Winton Motor Speedway, as much of the field got to grips with TCR machinery for the first time.
Twelve cars took to the Winton circuit for an open session, in which no official lap times were recorded.
The test took place less than two weeks before the start of the Australian series, which hosts its first event at the Sydney Motorsport Park next weekend.
The field completed hundreds of laps on the circuit, with cars from Hyundai, Alfa Romeo, Subaru, Honda, Audi, Opel and Volkswagen all in action with their respective customer teams.
“It was a big first day for me here at Winton,” explained rally driver turned circuit racer Molly Taylor. “There was a lot to take in and so much to learn but I really enjoyed the day with Kelly Racing and I know what I need to work on heading to Round 1 in Sydney.
“I have had a taste of the Subaru TCR car previously in Europe, but the conditions here are very different and today I had an engineer and data to work with so that part of it was new to me and that’s where I have a lot to learn.
“I’m used to having someone else in the car talking to me so I was all alone in the car, and adjusting to tarmac from gravel was a huge learning experience as it requires the driver to be very precise, so those were the key differences for me.
“On top of that, throw in 15 other cars on track trying to beat each other rather than just me against the clock, so that’s something to look forward to when the series gets underway.”
Jason Bright, racing a Golf GTi for Team Tradie, was glowing of how fun the front-wheel drive TCR cars are to race.
“I’ve driven a lot of different cars in my career, from GT cars to Le Mans Prototypes, Sports Cars and Open Wheelers, and the TCR is a lot of fun to drive,” said Bright.
“I expect the racing is going to be awesome because the cars move and bounce around so much and it’s going to create plenty of excitement for the fans.
“It’s a new category in Australia, the cars are still very fresh and teams haven’t had the chance to do any testing yet so it’s a very level playing field in that regard and I think that’s a good thing.
“The cars are running well have run really well here and we can’t wait to get to Sydney.”
Will Brown got behind the wheel of the Hyundai i30 N TCR run by the HMO Customer Racing team and admitted that it took him a little time to adapt.
“They’re fast, they look tough and they feel great to drive out on track,” said Brown. “It was certainly a different feeling getting used to the front wheel drive, but once I got used to that it I loved every second of it, it was a ball of fun to steer.
“The TCR cars are on a world scale as we can see they’re huge in Europe. Compared to the home-grown Supercars, the V8s are a bit faster but this is completely different to drive.
“The test day so far has been great and hopefully when we get to Sydney in two weeks, we can be really competitive from the outset.”
Missing from the test were the Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault Méganes and one of Kelly Racing’s Opel Astras, which are still en-route to Australia and will arrive later this week.