The TCR Balance of Performance test took place on Tuesday and Wednesday at Valencia’s Circuito Ricardo Tormo, where TCR and FIA technical staffs worked together for the first time.
The eleven brands represented appointed their own test drivers to set up the cars before the official TCR testers Daniel Lloyd and Gianni Morbidelli took over to go through the BoP programme.
The list of test drivers includes: Mario Ferraris in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Rahel Frey in the Audi RS3 LMS, Josh Files and Esteban Guerrieri in the Honda Civic 2017 and 2018 cars, Gabriele Tarquini in the Hyundai i30 N, Mike Halder in the KIA C’eed, Mikhail Grachev in the LADA Vesta, Alexander Heil in the Opel Astra, Aurélien Comte in the Peugeot 308, Franjo Kovac and Alex Morgan in the Renault Mégane, Jordi Gené in the SEAT León and Dieter Depping in the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
After all cars went through the scrutineering, the programme was equally split between track testing, checks of the centre of gravity and on the rollers of the BAPRO dynamometer bench. All cars are running on the minimum weight of 1265 kilograms, including the driver.
On Tuesday afternoon Morbidelli was involved in a high-speed crash at Turn 1 while driving one of the Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane cars; the incident was caused by a broken brake duct, the car was badly damaged and the Italian driver was treated at the circuit’s medical centre for bruises at his right foot. The Italian was fit to drive again on Wednesday, when the test came to an end without any other issues.
The results of the test will be unveiled by mid March and they will dictate the BoP for all the TCR series worldwide including the new WTCR.
Daniel Lloyd: Consistency was our priority
Daniel Lloyd, one of the two official drivers appointed for the Balance of Performance test was excited by the opportunity to drive all the cars.
“Yes, it was nice to drive all the cars and see the differences between them. We were busy with the programme set up by the TCR Technical staff, especially because we had to deal with so many different manufacturers. I think we did a good job and went through everything that needed to be done. It was crucial to get used to each car very quickly. We had five or six laps on used tyres and then switched on new tyres, trying to be fast and consistent. Consistency was the priority. It was not a matter of setting the fastest lap, but of going through the same process with all cars: warming the tyres, respecting the track limits, set a consistent and steady pace.”
It was also Lloyd’s first time with the Yokohama tyres. “I was impressed. The big thing is their consistency, never mind the model of the car. They performed well and in the same way. They warmed up in the same time and set the fastest lap on the same lap. The second flying lap was always the quickest. And then they remained consistent despite it was quite cold and we didn’t use warmers. There were no punctures, nor other issues.”
Gianni Morbidelli: back at the wheel after the accident
After the unfortunate incident occurred on Tuesday when the Renault Mégane he was driving failed to brake at the end of the pit straight, Gianni Morbidelli returned at the wheel on Wednesday, completing his duty as one of two TCR official tester for the BoP.
“It has been a very interesting experience, because it’s very rare to be given the opportunity to drive so many different cars. And it was even more interesting to me, as I have been racing in TCR during the last three years. I was able to discover some of the cars driven by my competitors. I’m not providing the details, but for sure I had a few surprises,” the Italian said.
“Working on establishing an effective Balance of Performance is very difficult when you have so many different cars that have similar technical specifications but come from different designs. However, the TCR technical staff is very experienced and then we must keep in mind that this was only the first step to fix a BoP for the beginning of the season. Then it will be refined race weekend after race weekend according to the track results.”
Just to give some figures, Morbidelli drove six different cars on Wednesday, covering more than 80 laps or approximately 320 kilometres.
The TCR and BAPRO partnership continues
For the second consecutive year BAPRO provided one of its chassis dynamometers for the Balance of Performance test at Valencia, continuing the partnership with TCR that was inaugurated last year at Adria. The bench produced by the Italian company is based on rollers inertia and performs power tests. The cars are placed on the rollers and after a brief warm up is it launched in a controlled acceleration. This enables to measure dissipation of power, shaft-power, shaft-torque and the boost pressure.
New facelift for the Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR car sported the new 2018 facelift in Valencia.
The German car has been significantly modified compared to the 2017 model, with new front bumper, front fenders, front and rear lights, front wheel housing and wire loom.
“Our customer teams that ran the 2017 model last year are given the option to continue with that or upgrading it to the 2018 facelift,” explained Eduard Weil, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport Customer Sport.