Hyundai aims to defend TCR Australia title lead with Phillip Island offensive.

09 May, 2023

  • Hyundai leads the TCR Australia Driver’s Championship heading into round two at the iconic Phillip Island circuit
  • Bailey Sweeny dominated the opening round at Symmons Plains in Tasmania taking two race victories and setting the fastest lap in his Hyundai i30 N TCR
  • Josh Buchan targeting a strong result at Phillip Island, with the fast and flowing circuit expected to suit his new generation i30 Sedan N

Hyundai is aiming to retain its lead in the 2023 TCR Australia Championship as HMO Customer Racing heads to the iconic Phillip Island circuit this weekend for the second round of the series.

Sophomore sensation Bailey Sweeny sits atop of the standings after dominating the opening round at Symmons Plains in Tasmania earlier this year, taking two race victories and setting the fastest lap in his Hyundai i30 N TCR, while teammate Josh Buchan battled mechanical issues in his Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR and arrives at Phillip Island in eighth position.

HMO Customer Racing have worked closely with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing in Germany over the last six weeks to better understand the unique set-up requirements of the new generation i30 Sedan N, which currently leads the TCR World Tour after recently taking victory in the opening round at Portimao in Portugal.

Buchan believes the fast and flowing nature of the picturesque seaside circuit will naturally showcase the strengths of the sleek four-door machinery and is confident he can be a genuine front-running contender at Phillip Island to claw back into title contention.

“Phillip Island is more like a traditional European circuit, and we know the i30 Sedan N TCR is already a winning package from its continued success in the TCR World Tour,” said the 28-year-old Hyundai Australia supported driver.

“Tassie was tough on my side of the garage, but we’ve done a lot of work since then to better understand and prepare the car for Phillip Island. And I’m looking forward to rewarding the team with a return to the front this weekend.”

For Sweeny, the 20-year-old from Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast is aiming to defend his title lead, despite carrying a 30kg penalty at Phillip Island for his Symmons Plains success.

Sweeny is confident that recent adjustments to the Balance of Performance restrictions placed on the Hyundai i30 N TCR, which now allow it to run a lower ride height and a reduction in the minimum weight, will counteract any deficit imposed by the success ballast.

HMO Customer Racing will have two 30min practice sessions on Friday to fine tune the cars ahead of qualifying on Saturday before three 16-lap races over the remainder of the weekend.

Fans can catch all the action from Phillip Island and the Motorsport Australia Shannons Speed Series live and on-demand via Stan Sport.

What the drivers said:

Car 30: i30 Sedan N TCR - Josh Buchan

“We showed a lot of promise in Tasmania by qualifying second, but it ended up being a really tough round on my side of the garage and it was the first time I’d left Symmons Plains without a trophy.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into the new Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR during the long break we’ve had since then and are working closely with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing in Germany. The car is proving to be fast in the TCR World Tour, but we just have to unlock that speed here in Australia.

“Phillip Island is more like a European circuit than any other in Australia so it should be a great opportunity for us to showcase its strengths. I know at the end of the day we just have to keep chipping away at it and be consistently up the front, which hopefully starts for us this weekend at the Island.”

Car 130: i30 N TCR - Bailey Sweeny

“It’s been great to say I’m the championship leader for the last couple of months, but at the same time I’m really keen to get back in the car at Phillip Island this weekend and build on the momentum we have after winning the opening round in Tasmania.

“Phillip Island is a track that always produces great racing, and we will have to bring our A-game to counteract the 30kg ballast we will be carrying as a penalty for our success in Tassie. But I’m confident we will still be fighting at the front and I’m looking forward to a clean weekend to retain the championship lead.”

Driver Information

2023 TCR Australia Championship Standings

Round 2: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

TCR Schedule - Round 2: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR

The Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR (known as the Elantra N TCR in Europe and North America) is the latest generation touring car developed by Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing division.

Revealed for the first time at the Beijing Motor Show in 2020 as a replacement for the successful i30 N TCR and Veloster N TCR models, it quickly established itself as a championship winner when Sebastien Loeb Racing won the 2021 TCR Europe title with Spanish driver Mikel Azcona.

Last year, Hyundai Motorsport clinched its third drivers’ title and second teams’ championship in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) with Azcona and BRC Hyundai Squadra Corsa, as well as a clean sweep of the TCR category in the North American IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Bryan Herta Autosport claiming the drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ titles and a double title victory for Niels Langeveld and Target Competition in the ultra-competitive TCR Italy regional championship.

Based on the road-going i30 Sedan N, the TCR variant maintains strong links between the Hyundai Motorsport vehicles that racing fans see on track and the standard production cars they drive and in showrooms.

In line with TCR regulations, the i30 Sedan N TCR is front-wheel drive and powered by a 2.0-litre turbo charged four-cylinder engine built specifically by Hyundai Motorsport and directly related to the motor in the road-going i30 Sedan N.

The Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR currently leads the 2023 TCR World Tour with BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse on top of the teams’ championship with former WTCR champions Norbert Michelisz and Michel Azcona first and second respectively in the drivers’ standings.

About the 2023 TCR Australia Championship

The 2023 TCR Australia Championship consists of seven rounds, each with three races.

Two practice sessions are held before the opening qualifying session with the top 10 fastest drivers progressing to a 15-minute shootout that determines the final starting positions for the opening race.

In the second race, the drivers that finish race one in the top 10 positions are reversed. And, in the final race - which pays double points - the starting positions are determined by the driver’s aggregated point score.

Uniquely, this year will include two rounds of the new TCR World Tour in Australia, including the penultimate round at Sydney Motorsport Park and the Bathurst International finale at Mount Panorama on back-to-back weekends in November.

The TCR World Tour, which replaces the previous WTCR World Touring Car Cup, will be contested over nine rounds from the 200 TCR-sanctioned events to be held across the globe in 2023 with 16 of the world’s best touring car drivers racing against the local competitors.

Every driver in all TCR sanctioned championships will score points on the TCR World Rankings with the top 30 then invited to compete in the TCR World Final at the end of the season.

The 2023 TCR Australia Championship will be broadcast live on Stan Sport in Australia.