Lotti: TCR not competing with Supercars
Global TCR boss Marcello Lotti has stressed that his category is not trying to compete with Supercars in the Australian market.
The new-for-2019 TCR Australia series has enjoyed a promising start to life in the busy Australian motor racing landscape, with its first two round boasting grids in the late teens, made up largely of professional and semi-professional drivers.
The emergence of the category has raised eyebrows as to the effect it could have on Supercars, which has long been the undisputed top dog in Aussie motorsport.
TCR Australia itself has, however, long been playing down any perceived rivalry with Supercars, and has instead shown significant interest snaring a spot on the undercard at Supercars events.
TCR founder Marcello Lotti reiterated the lack of desire to compete with Supercars during a visit to Phillip Island last weekend, stating TCR's customer focus exemplifies how different the two categories are.
“I think it’s completely two different levels," said Lotti.
"TCR is customer-entered. Supercars is completely high [level] racing, tailor-made technology. It is difficult [to see] there is competition between the two, they are completely different.
"It is a question of investment. TCR is affordable for everybody, I think. With what we spend in TCR, you cannot buy tyres on the other side. So I don’t feel that this is a competition."
Andre Heimgartner is the only driver currently competing in both Supercars and TCR full-time, with a deal for Chaz Mostert to race a Hyundai understood to have been blocked by his Ford-backed Supercars squad Tickford.
TCR Australia has, however, provided a competitive outlet for a number of Supercars enduro stars, with five TCR regulars set to race at the three long-distance events later this year.
Despite there being no desire to run down Supercars, Lotti added that he still views Australia is a key market to crack – and that's he very encouraged by interest being shown by local manufacturer arms and dealer networks, such as Tony D'Alberto's Honda Australia backing.
“I think [Australia is] very important," said Lotti.
"TCR is customer-orientated, so we are not discussing really the interest of the manufacturers in the market, but clearly if the manufacturers are also interested, it’s a good market.
"The importers [and] the national dealers are ready to support a team that runs with their brand, this is clear. And this was a really important region for this.
"For our company, what we think about is Australia is that it's a legend in touring car [racing], not only Supercars but also Super Touring, and I think that this is something that you have to keep in mind because everybody has this touring car DNA in Australia, all Australian guys and drivers and teams.
"So this makes one important point for us to be here.”
The 2019 TCR Australia season continues at The Bend in South Australia in four weeks.
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