GWR signs Carrera Cup racer for TCR Australia opener
Porsche Carrera Cup driver Michael Almond will enter the inaugural round of the TCR Australia series at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend, driving a Hyundai i30 N fielded by GWR Australia.
Almond has been a regular fixture in the Australian Carrera Cup since 2014 and currently sits seventh in the standings, with a trio of podium finishes at Albert Park and Phillip Island.
The 35-year-old’s deal with GWR is limited to the season opener at present, although it could be extended to include more races of the seven-round series.
“It’s just for one event at the moment, but we’ll see how we goes,” Almond said. “If everyone gets excited and get more support, we’ll have a look and see if we can finish the season.
“I used to love playing [the BTCC-based] TOCA. It was some of my favourite times as a teen, playing the game.
“I was a huge fan of the BTCC. The racing is always close, with the cars going three wide and hard, solid racing.
“The cars have the paddle shift gearbox and a really nice Michelin tyre. Both of these things I’ll be used to from my Porsche racing.
“I’ve haven’t done much front-wheel-drive racing, but the recipe is there to have some fun so I’m really looking forward to it.”
GWR owns a pair of i30 N TCR cars and the one entered for Sydney will feature backing from Astrontech and Commercial Interior Projects.
The Sydney-based team hopes to have both its cars running by the second round in Phillip Island, although the driver line-up for the two entries is still to be announced.
Following GWR’s entry, there will be three Hyundais on the Sydney grid this weekend, including the two i30 Ns of Hyundai’s Australian importer HMO Customer Racing.
“It’s great to confirm that we’ll have one car on the grid for Sydney Motorsport Park,” said GWR Manager Garth Walden.
“It’s going to be great to be part of history – the first round of TCR in Australia. I’m getting plenty of calls and messages about it, so I reckon they’ll be a big crowd there.
“It’s fantastic to have Michael Almond as the driver. He has been part of our team as a driver coach for a number of years and it’s good to have him in the race seat.
“He has raced in many categories and I’m confident that he’ll adapt to the front-wheel-drive TCR car quickly.
“It’s a shame that we’ll have our other Hyundai in the garage for this event, but we expect to get it out for Round 2 at Phillip Island.”
Motorsport.tv will be live streaming every race of the 2019 TCR Australia season.
Confirmed TCR Australia drivers:
Tony D'Alberto (Wall Racing Honda)
John Martin (Wall Racing Honda)
Nathan Morcom (HMO Customer Racing Hyundai)
Will Brown (HMO Customer Racing Hyundai)
Jason Bright (Alliance Autosport Volkswagen)
Alexandra Whitley (Alliance Autosport Volkswagen)
Jimmy Vernon (Garry Rogers Motorsport Alfa Romeo)
Dylan O'Keeffe (Garry Rogers Motorsport/Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo)
Chris Pither (Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault
James Moffat (Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault)
Rik Breukers (Melbourne Performance Centre Audi)
Molly Taylor (Kelly Racing Subaru)
Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Racing Subaru)
Alex Rullo (Kelly Racing Opel)
Chelsea Angelo (Kelly Racing Opel)
Michael Almond (GWR Australia Hyundai)
Alex Davison takes TCR Australia driving standards role
TCR Australia targets WTCR wildcard entry