The Australian Racing Group and the Seven Network announced on Thursday that the burgeoning TCR Australia championship for the 2.0 litre turbocharged touring cars will be broadcast live in 2020.
In addition, the live and free coverage will include the exciting new S5000 open wheel cars, the popular Touring Car Masters cars from yesteryear, and the Ford Mustang Dodge Charger and Chev Camaro TA2 Trans Am cars.
The new multi-year deal will provide a minimum of six hours of live coverage over the two days of the rebranded Shannons Motorsport Australia championship rounds, and includes coverage of the ARG-owned Bathurst six-hour and a new 500-kilometre endurance race for TCR cars at Bathurst with overseas teams already expressing interest.
While the Supercars are unique to Australia and unable to add to their fields from elsewhere, the TCR cars are worldwide with many countries running their own championships, all under the same regulations.
In this first year in Australia there were ten brands competing in the Australian championship including Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Audi RS3, Holden Astra, Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai I30N, Peugeot 308 GTi, Renault Megane RS, Seat Cupra, Subaru WRX STi and Volkswagen Golf GTi.
There are over 20 cars in Australia that have been built by respected race car builders nominated by the particular brands manufacturer and ARG is confident of having 30 cars on the grid in 2020.
The other big news is that the TCR cars will be a support category for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 12 to 15.
This three-race event will be the introduction of the TCR Asia-Pacific Cup with entries expected from overseas to do battle with our local drivers.
The seven-round Australian championship will commence at Sydney Motorsport Park two weeks later on March 27 to 29 to be followed by the Bathurst six-hour production car meeting on the Easter weekend which will be the first time the TCR cars have raced at the mountain circuit.
The following rounds will be at Winton May 1 to 3, The Bend Motorsport Park June 12 to 14 while the location for round five is to be confirmed for July 3 to 5.
Round six will be held at Phillip Island on August 21 to 23 with the final round at Sandown September 11 to 13, leaving teams plenty of time to prepare for their inaugural endurance race at Bathurst, a great way to end the year.
The introduction of TCR to Australia by ARG really deserves to succeed.
The defection of World Rally Championship driver Ott Tanak from the Toyota Gazoo WRC team to Hyundai and the withdrawal of Citroen from the championship has shaken up the driver line-up for 2020.
Toyota WRC team boss Tommi Makinen, himself a four-time world champion, has announced a completely new driver line-up for next season which includes six-time world champion Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier will be joined by Elfyn Evans, who has enjoyed success with the Ford M Sport team, and 19-year-old Finnish driver Kalle Rovanpera who won this year's WRC2 Pro championship in the Skoda Fabia R5.
Rovanpera contested 11 events in the second tier championship scoring five wins, two seconds and three thirds and, at times finishing in the top ten outright against the million dollar WRC cars.
This means Toyota drivers Kris Meeke and Jari Matti Latvala are now out of work at this stage and apart from the Ford M Sport team there seem to be no options.
Latvala has contested more WRC events than any other driver at 208 with 18 wins, 67 podiums and 539 individual stage wins, and without question is one of the fastest and certainly the most passionate of all the drivers.
The Hyundai team will now consist of Tanak, Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo but who gets the nod at Ford M Sport has yet to be revealed.