TCR
Wednesday, Oct 2 06:50pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Australia’s first CUPRA TCR could be headed for New Zealand

The first CUPRA to arrive in Australia could come to New Zealand in the future to compete in our own TCR series.

Melbourne-based squad Garage1 have acquired the car, which may make an appearance at the carsales TCR Australia Series season closer later this year.

CUPRA is the performance subsidiary of Spanish manufacturer SEAT, whose cars were the original basis for all TCR cars back when it started in 2014.

 

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The car was previously raced in Germany, but has received a batch of upgrades this year. It’s the first in what is hoped to be an expanded line-up in the future.

The final round of the TCR Australia Series will be held at The Bend Motorsport Park on 15-17 November where the car may be debuted.

Following that, team co-owner John Evans – father of Porsche Junior Driver Jaxon Evans – and Marty Brant said they’d like to bring the car to New Zealand.

“It’s good racing and we feel it’s the category to be in,” Brant said.

“We chose the CUPRA because it’s different and we see a good future in it. It’s very competitive overseas, and the benefit of the CUPRA is that we can use Melbourne Performance Centre as our base for parts and help if we need it.

 

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“We’d like to expand to at least two cars in the future. We see that as the best model for us. More would be even better.

“We’d like to be at The Bend for the final round,. It’ snot a priority, but we are working on a couple of deals to make that happen. We’ll just have to see what happens.

“John and I are both Kiwis, and we’d both love to go back home and race in TCR New Zealand. It’s not a priority, but if the opportunity is there, we’d certainly look at it.

“This class really takes me back to the Group A days where you can take any of these cars and race anywhere in the world.”

 

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Earlier this year CUPRA launched in New Zealand with the long-established Leon hatchback and the newly launched Ateca SUV. Currently, there are four dealerships across Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch, which can import a TCR-specification CUPRA.

New Zealand already has one early model SEAT CUPRA TCR, which is owned by M Developments in Queenstown. There are upwards of 10 cars in New Zealand that conform to the TCR regulations, which has already proven to be a success in Australia.

“As far as we can see, TCR is the future for Australian motorsport,” Evans said.

“It is an interesting and exciting class, full of variety. They are proper little race cars. There’s enough there for an engineer or mechanic to spark the interest, and they are very race and reward the driver too. It’s a really good challenge.

“The Cupra is a really nice car, and the one that we have has been well looked after. We feel that it is going to be a very competitive package and we are looking forward to getting it on track soon.”

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