After TCR headlined the touring car bill on the streets of St. Petersburg last month, the TCA and TC championships return for this weekend’s meeting at the spectacular Virginia International Raceway.
Two bumper fields totalling 39 cars will line up for four separate races on a packed weekend schedule, TCR and TCA combining for a pair of 40m sprint races while the 14-car TC field features in two standalone races of the same length.
Two fresh faces join the TCR ranks for the third 2019 event: Puerto Rico’s Victor Gonzalez, who has experience in a variety of North American stock car, sports car and open-wheel series, will make his TC America debut in the No. 99 VGMC Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR.
Joining him on the grid will be decorated touring car competitor Britt Casey Jr, who is stepping into TC America having won the IMSA SportsCar Challenge TCR title last year.
Casey will be at the wheel of the No. 83 McCann Racing Audi Sport RS3 LMS TCR and, like Gonzalez, eyes a strong first performance against the series regulars.
After coming close to their maiden TC America victories at COTA, FCP Euro Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR teammates Michael Hurczyn and Nate Vincent finally broke through at St. Pete with a win each. The pair’s strong early season form is reflected in their 1-2 positions in the championship standings, with Hurczyn leading Vincent by six points.
A spirited showing from James Walker at St. Pete, where he split the FCP Euro pair in Race 1, will make the Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR driver one to watch as well.
A trio of cars sporting DSG gearboxes, meanwhile, will compete for TCR Cup sub-class honors: Both Christian Cole and Michael McCann Jr will be aiming to reel in the points lead held by Brian Putt, who moved to the top of the standings with back-to-back wins at St. Pete in the No. 15 eEuroparts.com ROWE Racing Audi.
The TCA class returns as a points-paying category this weekend alongside TCR after running as an invitational class in Florida.
Nick Wittmer’s TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS won both races of the COTA season-opener and will be looking to extend his advantage at VIR.
Mark Pombo, who chased Wittmer to the line on both occasions last time out, will be searching to go one position better in his works Mini Cooper JCW.
Pombo forms one half of the Mini contingent at VIR, with Nate Norenberg driving the sister JCW machine.
TechSport, meanwhile, has five Subarus listed in TCA while the team also has a two-car presence in TC with a pair of Nissan 370z racers.
Taylor Hagler kick-started the Honda Civic Si’s time in TC America with a podium finish at COTA and will return as part of X-Factor Racing’s five-car program.
All the cars that raced in the opening round are back for Round 2, while there is also an additional entry from prominent Time Attack driver Sally McNulty who will be at the wheel of the No. 780 Honda Civic Si.
The TC category produced some thrilling scenes at COTA and fans will be delighted to see the class return to the bill at VIR.
Johan Schwartz (Rooster Hall Racing BMW M235iR Cup) and Jeff Ricca (GenRacer Hyundai Genesis Coupe) are tied with 40 points each after taking a win and a podium each in Texas.
A total of 10 BMWs, which includes both the M235 iR and its updated M240iR variant, are competing this weekend. Of those, the Classic BMW 240 of Toby Grahovec finished second in both COTA races and will be back with the aim of victory this time around.
Three Nissans, including the two TechSport cars and one for Rearden Racing’s Paul Terry, are also entered.
TC America on-track action gets underway on Friday April 26 with both grids each getting a pair of 35m practice sessions before qualifying on Saturday morning.
TC Race 1 kicks things off at 12:10 p.m. EDT on Saturday, with the first TCR/TCA race taking place at 3:55 p.m. EDT that afternoon.
Sunday’s action begins bright and early with TC Race 2 at 8:55 a.m. EDT while the second TCR/TCA contest is booked for 3:15 p.m. EDT.
All races will be streamed live on TCAmerica.us, with race highlights on CBS Sports Network. Check local listings for air-time details.