The 2024 TCR European Endurance season is officially underway

The new and futuristic Balaton Park Circuit is ready to host the opening event of TCR European Endurance’s history. The series promoted by Mauricio Slaviero gets underway around the 4115 meters of the recently opened Hungarian racetrack, built close to the 21st biggest lake in Europe – and one of the longest in the Old Continent, too.

TEXACO Team AMS is the most represented outfit, and with its three cars ready to race in three different categories, they are one of the favourites heading into round one of the season. Seda Kaçan and Ibrahim Okyay will be behind the wheel of the Audi RS3 DSG that will fight for the overall title in TCR European Endurance. Now 31 years old, Seda Kaçan was second in the 2023 Turkish Championship, while also making her international debut last year in TCR Italy around Imola. She is also the first driver to fight for the Ladies crown in TCR European Endurance’s main season. At 54 years of age, Ibrahim Okyay will share the Audi RS3 DSG with Kaçan. Okyay brings huge value to TCR European Endurance thanks to his 10 Turkish titles and FIA WTCC experience, and he will definitely want to fight for the teams’ championship.

The second car is an Gen 1 Audi RS3 LMS driven by Barkin Pinar and Zekai Özen; a very mixed pair, but with equally winning records in 2023. Pinar was a star on national territory, becoming a track champion in Tosfed last season. The Turkish driver will be racing alongside his compatriot Özen, a young star with already some international experience thanks to his participation in both TCR Italy and Coppa Italia Turismo, where he won the DSG title last season with an RS3 LMS. What’s more, Özen will also fight for the Junior title, a category reserved to drivers under 21 years of age.

Lastly, the Istanbul-based team will field a second-generation Audi RS3 LMS TCR with Eric Briagliadori and Turgut Konukoğlu. Born in 2000, the driver from Cesena opted for a career in single seaters at first, before moving to the TCR scene in 2018; his performances did not disappoint, missing out on the 2020 TCR Italy title by just three points. In 2021 bad luck affected his season, relegating him to fifth in the standings after fighting for the Italian crown throughout the year, though he took home the Under 25 title on both occasions. After a short stint in the DSG class and in last year’s TCR Italy with the Hyundai Elantra N, Brigliadori is ready to get back behind the wheel of an Audi, sharing it with the experienced Konukoğlu. Born in 1983, the Turkish driver started racing in karting at 17, later finding his footing with Okyay’s Team AMS winning two national track titles (Tosfed) in a row in 2021 and 2022.

Zsille Motorsport will represent Hungary, the opening round’s host nation, racing with a Cupra Leon DSG. The local team will partake in the first race of the season with Zoltan Barkovics, a former Suzuki Swift Cup Hungary champion with a lot of experience in national one-make series. Balazs Takacs is set to complete Zsille Motorsport’s lineup: the Hungarian has experience in both track and rallycross racing, and he’s ready to get back to circuit competition in TCR European Endurance. Founded in 2007, Zsille Motorsport has been a driving force in national competitions, taking home multiple podium finishes in series such as SEAT Leon Supercup and Suzuki Swift Cup. Moreover, the team has also experience in continental championships like Renault Clio Eurocup, establishing themselves as a consolidated presence in the motorsport world. Zsille Motorsport has also helped nurturing various local talents such as continental TCR star Levente Losonczy and five-time European Truck Racing champion Norbert Kiss.

Balint Hatvani, Zsille Motorsport’s Team Manager, will also be racing together with Unicorse, with the Hungarian outfit using technical support from their compatriots, taking to the track the Gen 1 Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR by Romeo Ferraris – therefore adding yet another brand to the TCR European Endurance’s entry list. The fourth Hungarian team ready to go is M1RA Motorsport, an outfit born with the two-time TCR World Champion Norbert Michelisz that has a WTCR podium and an ETCR win (in collaboration with Romeo Ferraris back in 2021) to its name. Attila Bucsi will be driving the team’s Hyundai i30N, the same model used by Michelisz to win his first world title back in 2019.

On the other hand, another team using the Audi RS3 is AIKOA Racing with the driver pair of Francesco Cardone and Tiziano Bergamasco, the championship’s sole Italian entry. The same car has been chosen by Aditis Racing, too, with the Czech outfit counting on Martin Kadlecik’s experience for the opening round of the season.

The TCR European Endurance schedule sees two 30-minute free practice sessions on Friday, April 26th at 9:20 and 12:30 respectively, with qualifying taking place at 15:50 with its two sessions of 15 minutes each. Saturday, April 27th will be the day of TCR European Endurance’s maiden race, with part 1 scheduled to take place at 12:15, whereas the second half ready to start at 10:20 on Sunday, April 28th. Both parts are set to last 60 minutes, with a mandatory pit stop window halfway through each session to change tyres and driver. The two parts of the TCR European Endurance will be streamed on TCR TV’s YouTube channel.

2024 CALENDAR

28th APRIL

BALATON PARK

19th MAY

VALLELUNGA

22nd JUNE

MISANO

25th AUGUST

SLOVAKIARING

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