Jaden Ransley anticipates this weekend’s TCR New Zealand championship event to be “incredibly tough.”
The Cantabrian spent most of last year driving the Signature Homes Hyundai i30 N TCR in the South Island Endurance Series.
Unfortunately, Ransley and co-driver Rhys Gould ran into several mechanical gremlins that ruined their chances at the title.
Still, Ransley believes that having clocked a decent number of hours in the TCR last year should give him a leg-up this weekend at Highlands Motorsport Park.
“Having that time in the car last year in the enduros was really cool,” Ransley told Velocity News.
“While the results didn’t go our way, having so much seat time in such a unique car was a huge bonus.
“I have also been training really hard and feeling pretty good heading into the weekend.”
This weekend will see practice and qualifying taking place this Friday and 3x 30 minute sprint races run virtually ‘back to back’ on Saturday to determine the inaugural winner of the TCR New Zealand series. It is the first baby step’s for a class that has desperately tried to find its footing here in new Zealand, hopefully next season the Class will be on a much firmer footing.
A star-filled driver line-up has already been confirmed for the weekend, including TCR hotshot Gene Rollinson, former Supercar drivers Greg Murphy and Paul Radisich, Carrera Cup champion Chris van der Drift and WRC winner Hayden Paddon.
Looking at the competition, Ransley is expecting a hotly-fought battle for victory, suggesting anyone has a shot at taking the honours.
“TCR is a real driver’s class. It is a cool concept, and the Balance of Performance should bring the competing manufactures cars closer together.
“I know the competition is also going to be incredibly tough.
“Gene is a really quick driver, and both Murph and Radisich have both raced just about everything. Plus, you’ve also got guys like Jordan [Michels], who has driven TCRs a number of times before, Rally star Hayden Paddon who is racing his Hyundai TCR car at his home circuit, and of course super star Chris Van der Drift who is expected to be the man to beat.
“The weekend will also be my first time in standalone TCR race where I am just against other TCR cars. So, I am excited and can’t wait to bring it on the track.”
The winner of this year’s series will receive free entry into any remaining TCR Australia round, including the Bathurst International in November.
Australia has been a target for Ransley since last year. Unfortunately, his plans to race in the full TCR Australia series last season were shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But he says the opportunity to finally have a shot at getting across the Tasman later this year is an exciting prospect.
“It would be awesome to race in Australia. I would take any round, really.
“I have been trying to get over there and race in the series for so long now. Our goal was to take our car over for last year’s season and run a mini team off the side of HMO (A customer Hyundai TCR team in Australia.)
“Now with the borders open, that is looking more promising as well.”
The TCR New Zealand winner-takes-all meeting at Highlands Motorsport Park will be held over April 23-24.
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