BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship teams have given a mixed response to the reduced number of rounds supporting TCR UK on the heavily revised 2019 provisional calendar.
In 2018 seven of the eight National FF1600 rounds were a support for the new TCR UK touring car championship, with Kirkistown the exception. In the recently published ‘19 National schedule only four of the eight rounds – Snetterton, Oulton Park, Croft and the first Brands Hatch visit – are TCR supports.
“They [the TCR links] didn’t work as well last year  as people expected it to do,” said Swift Cooper’s Alan Cooper, “because the Formula Ford 1600 was always pushed to the side effectively, was seen as sort of a minor part of it, which didn’t go down that well with the teams.
“Understandably it sort of all filtered around the TCR but the TCR didn’t have many cars in it and the Formula Ford 1600 had a lot of cars in it. Certainly the effort wasn’t put towards Formula Ford 1600 that’s for sure.”
BRSCC’s Formula Ford coordinator Ian Smith agreed that low TCR grids were an issue. “Theoretically it’s a good idea but the numbers they got wasn’t good,” he said.
Kevin Mills Racing boss Kevin Mills said though that TCR UK is “still a package worth being on”.
“Just for the live streaming on the Sunday,” Mills explained, “getting two races on a live stream is important for [getting] drivers’ profiles up and for any sponsors that they have. When we race off of the TCR, I’m not sure if we will have that.
“The previous year we had some TV thing that went on YouTube but it was so late it was irrelevant, it was so many months later that a lot of the time it wasn’t really worth having it.”
Oldfield Motorsport’s James Oldfield also felt there are benefits from retaining the TCR link-up. “We still get to keep the benefit, the live TV coverage, all the media exposure there on the event, [it’s] a quality paddock to be involved with, that’s really good,” Oldfield said.
He added though that supporting TCR or not did not either way impact the success of National FF1600. “The championship was as much a success in 2017 as the headline event, pretty much on its own in race weekends, [as it was] with TCR this year on all their seven weekends,” he added.
“Racing in Europe I’m used to our race events being on a different race package every time, not being with the same race club or the same promoter. The fact that we’re somewhere different sometimes than others doesn’t make much of a difference.”