LONDON — Sedan road-racing series in Europe running under Touring Car Championship (TCR) regulations are switching to race tires built by South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc., according to the TCR's organizing body World Sporting Consulting Ltd. (WSC).
News of this development comes less than a year after WSC approved Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. as the designated race tire supplier for TCR series in Europe, where there are TCR-sanctioned series active in seven nations.
In mid-December, WSC disclosed that it had approved a race tire engineered by Kumho Tire for use in competition by any of the national series racing under TCR regulations, but at that time it was unclear which, if any, of the national or regional TCR series had committed to the Kumho option.
During the week of Jan. 3, however, WSC disclosed that four TCR series in Europe — TCR Europe, TCR Spain, TCR Eastern Europe and TCR Denmark — have opted to use the Kumho tires this season.
"Having a single tire across a range of TCR series makes total sense for both organizers and competitors, and I think it shows great foresight by Kumho Tire to work with WSC and series promoters by producing a bespoke TCR tire," Paulo Ferreira, CEO of WSC, said.
WSC did not disclose where Kumho is building the race tires nor details about a logistics partner or partners for trackside support during the various TCR series race weekends.
The 2022 TCR Europe season will begin at Portimão, Portugal, over the April 30/May 1 and continue through six more weekend events through October.
The TCR class — which runs internationally under the aegis of the FIA World Touring Car Cup — comprises front-wheel-drive sedans powered by 2-liter turbocharged engines. Cars eligible include Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi RS3, Cupra TCR, Honda Civic, Hyundai i30N, Peugeot 308 GTi and Toyota Corolla.
WSC approved the Kumho tire after the completion of an evaluation test in December at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the day after the TCR Europe's season finale.
WSC President Marcello Lotti commented: "We are delighted that an important brand as Kumho Tire have lavished with such a big effort to embrace TCR competition.
"Their dedication to this new collaboration is proven by the quality of their product that was provided for the evaluation test. We have always encouraged the promoters of the different TCR-licensed series to adopt the same tyre, which can enhance the technical partnership as well as the performance on the track and makes it easier for the teams to compete in different series."
Tony Gangseung Lee, senior vice president of Global marketing at Kumho Tire, added: "Kumho is happy to participate in the new partnership with the WSC Group, the TCR rights holder. We will use this partnership to enhance our technology image of motor sports and brand recognition in global market."
For the time being, it appears TCR Germany and TCR Scandinavia intend to continue with Hankook as their designated race tire supplier. Hankook supported TCR Eastern Europe for the past four seasons and was named the tire supplier in early 2021 for the inaugural season of TCR Spain.
The various TCR-sanctioned series and their designated tire suppliers for 2022 are:
- TCR Australia — Michelin
- TCR Canada — Michelin
- TCR Denmark — Kumho
- TCR Eastern Europe — Kumho
- TCR Europe — Kumho
- TCR Germany — Hankook
- TCR Scandinavia — Hankook
- TCR South America — Dunlop
- TCR Spain — Kumho
- TCR USA — Pirelli
In addition, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in North America uses TCR regulations to govern that series.