Hyundai scores fourth TCR Australia round victory with twin wins for Sweeny at Sandown.

11 September, 2023

  • Hyundai drivers Bailey Sweeny and Josh Buchan swapped positions at the top of the championship standings for the second consecutive round
  • Sweeny scores maiden TCR Australia pole position and two race victories, securing overall round win
  • HMO Customer Racing now faces an international challenge with the remaining championship rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park and Mt Panorama forming part of the TCR World Tour

Hyundai has reclaimed its front-running form with two race victories – and the overall victory – for Bailey Sweeny in the fifth round of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship at Sandown International Raceway.

It is the third outright victory for Sweeny this year, and the fourth for HMO Customer Racing which has now won seven of the 12 races held so far this season.

Sweeny also scored his maiden pole position in the TCR Australia Championship at Sandown and returned to the top of the championship standings - the 20-year-old holds a 30-point advantage over teammate Josh Buchan

The series now heads into the final two rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park and Mount Panorama where drivers will face an international challenge, with 12 of the world’s best TCR drivers arriving down under as part of the new-for-2023 TCR World Tour.

In typical Melbourne fashion, the Sandown round began in wet and cold conditions for the opening practice session on Friday, which both drivers treated conservatively, with Sweeny setting the eighth fastest lap time while Buchan was 13th.

The conditions improved in the afternoon, allowing the team to focus on fine tuning the Hyundai i30 N and Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR machines. Both drivers improved their positions, with Sweeny in fifth and Buchan in seventh.

In qualifying, Sweeny literally saved his best for the very last lap to snatch his first pole position in the TCR Australia while Buchan mustered the sixth fastest time in the i30 Sedan N TCR.

Unfortunately, Sweeny didn’t hold the top spot for too long when the lights went green for the opening race as he was swamped off the start line and then boxed out in a mixed-field melee on the opening lap. He crossed the finish line in fifth place but was later relegated to ninth following a post-race five-second penalty, which in turn elevated Buchan to seventh.

Coincidentally, this gave Sweeny another front-row start in the second race where the top 10 grid positions are reversed. He didn’t waste the opportunity this time around and quickly stormed into the lead to win by a comfortable 2.5 second margin, with Buchan hanging onto fifth place at the chequered flag.

Starting from pole position again in the third race, Sweeny once again lost ground off the start line but charged his way to the front after just three laps and managed the rest of the race to cross the finish line first, with Buchan in seventh.

The sixth round of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship will be held under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park on November 3-4 as part of the TCR World Tour.

Car 30: i30 Sedan N TCR - Josh Buchan

“We knew coming into Sandown that the track wouldn’t play to the strengths of the Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR, and we weren’t wrong - it was a pretty tough weekend on our side of the garage. We lack straight line speed, and Sandown’s long straights really highlighted that. We had good lap speed, but we couldn’t race when there were cars around us, and it made me a bit of a sitting duck.

“We worked hard all weekend and still scored good points in each of the three races. We’re still second in the championship and we’ve got two tracks to finish off the year that I’m really looking forward to and think will suit our car a lot better.”

Car 130: i30 N TCR - Bailey Sweeny

“I couldn’t be happier with two race wins, my first pole position and reclaiming the championship lead that I’ve held all year except for after the last round in Queensland. It’s great to have a bit of a buffer on the championship ladder heading into the final two rounds with the TCR World Tour, because I reckon there could be a bit of chaos with those guys on the grid at Sydney Motorsport Park and Bathurst. But I can’t wait to get stuck into it against them.”

Race Results: Round 5, Sandown Raceway, Victoria

  Josh Buchan     Bailey Sweeny  
Practice 1   P13 (1:24.1734sec)     P8 (1:23.2276sec)  
Practice 2   P7 (1:16.2149sec)     P5 (1:15.9433sec)  
Qualifying   P6 (1:14.6466sec)     P1 (1:14.1457sec)  
Race 1   P7 (1:15.6938sec)     P9 (1:15.1425sec)  
Race 2   P5 (1:5.5556sec)     P1 (1:14.89065sec)  
Race 3   P7 (1:15.5163sec)     P1 (1:14.9583sec - FL)  

2023 TCR Australia Championship Standings (provisional)

Position   Name     Car     Points  
1   Bailey Sweeny     Hyundai i30 N TCR     589  
2   Josh Buchan     Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR     559  
3   Aaron Cameron     Peugeot 308 TCR     551  
4   Tony D’Alberto     Honda Civic Type R     506  
5   Jordan Cox     Peugeot 308 TCR     496  
6   Ben Bargwanna     Peugeot 308 R     486  
7   Lachlan Minneef     Audi RS3 LMS     465  
8   Michael Clemente     Cupra Leon TCR     434  
9   Kody Garland     Peugeot 308 TCR     389  
10   Tom Oliphant     Lynk&Co 3 TCR     356  

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.

The Hyundai Elantra N currently sits second and third on the 2023 TCR World Tour with former champions Norbert MIchelisz and Michel Azcona first and second in the drivers’ championship standings and BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse second in the team’s rankings.

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.

  Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR Specifications  
Length 4,710 mm
Width 1,950 mm
Wheelbase 2,750 mm
Weight 1,265 kg (including driver)
Engine 1,998 cc turbocharged four-cylinder, DOHC, 16 valves
Power 257 kW at 7,000 rpm
Torque 450 Nm at 3,500 rpm
Transmission Six-speed sequential with paddle shift, front-wheel drive
Suspension (Front) Fully adjustable MacPherson strut with coil springs & anti-roll bar
Suspension (Rear) Fully adjustable four-arm multi-link with coil springs & anti-roll bar
Steering Electrically assisted rack and pinion
Brakes (Front) Six-piston callipers and 380 mm ventilated disc
Brakes (Rear) Two-piston callipers with 278 mm disc
Wheels 18” x 10” Braid alloys specifically designed for Hyundai Motorsport
Tyres Kumho TCR slicks
Fuel Tank 100 litres with dry-brake system

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.

As for the points scoring system, the fastest five drivers in qualifying score bonus points, and, in the three races, the first and third races are worth equal points while the reverse Top 10 second race is worth 80 per cent (see table below). The driver with the fastest lap in each of the three races also picks up an extra point.

Points Scoring System

      1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10  
  Qualifying     10     7     5     3     2                      
  Race 1 & 3     50     46     42     38     36     31     29     27     25     23  
  Race 2     40     36     32     28     26     24     22     20     18     16  

Uniquely, this season will include two rounds of the new TCR World Tour in Australia, including Sydney Motorsport Park and the season finale Bathurst International at Mount Panorama 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.

  2023 TCR Australia Championship Schedule  
Round 1 February 24-26, Symmons Plains, Tasmania
Round 2 May 12-14, Phillip Island, Victoria
Round 3 June 9-11, Winton Raceway, Victoria
Round 4 August 11-13, Queensland Raceway, Queensland
Round 5 September 8-10, Sandown Raceway, Victoria
Round 6 November 3-5, Sydney Motorsport Park, New South Wales
Round 7 November 10-12, Mount Panorama, New South Wales