TCR, Supercars crossover "difficult to consider"
Conflicts with backers and now broadcasters have led to a complete separation of the Supercars and TCR Australia properties for the coming season.
The two touring cars categories endured a fractious relationship in the early days of TCR's introduction to Australia, including a stand-off over a proposed support slot for TCR at the Adelaide 500.
That was when Australian Racing Group, which owns and promotes TCR Australia, and Supercars were entirely seperate entities.
However the two categories are now effectively under one ownership umbrella, ARG involved in the RACE consortium that took over Supercars late last year.
The sale of Supercars to RACE initially led speculation that TCR could feature at more Supercars events this year.
The two categories shared a bill for the first time (at least in full, after the aborted 2020 Australian Grand Prix) at the Bathurst 1000 last December.
But it has since been confirmed that TCR Australia will run to a complete standalone schedule this year, with no crossover between its seven 2022 events and the Supercars calendar.
That's despite other ARG categories, such as S5000 and Touring Car Masters, having Supercars support slots.
According to ARG's upper management, the separation has been mostly prompted by commercial clashes.
TCR Australia and Supercars are backed by Supercheap Auto and Repco respectively, rivals in the automotive parts and accessories space.
There is now a broadcast clash as well thanks to ARG's new deal with Stan Sport/Nine, while Supercars runs on Fox Sports and Seven.
"Clearly from a preference it would have a whole of motorsport offer that aligned with Supercars. But that wasn't able to be secured," said ARG and Supercars board member John McMellan as part of today's Stan Sport launch.
ARG CEO Matt Braid elaborated: "Aside from the broadcast side, TCR fortuitously, and through the effort of everybody involves, has grown to the point where it stands on its own two feet.
"It has its own commercial partners and different sponsors. There was an absolute reluctance to merge events on that basis.
"While it would be good to bring the offering together in some aspects, they have their own identities and support partners now, which makes it very difficult to consider.
"On paper it could have been a logical decision to make, it was actually a very difficult decision.
"It's not going to be possible to bring them together, because of the passionate support of both the fan base and the partners."
The TCR Australia season will kick off with the Race Tasmania event at Summons Plains on February 11-13.
The Supercars season then starts with the Sydney SuperNight at Sydney Motorsport Park on March 4-6.
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