TCR Australia title twist for Hyundai after challenging Queensland Raceway round.

14 August, 2023

  • Hyundai drivers Josh Buchan and Bailey Sweeny have swapped positions at the top of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship
  • A weekend of missed opportunities for Sweeny, who was forced to fight back from an electrical issue and subsequent disqualification in Race One
  • Buchan had to settle for consistent mid-field results, after being involved in numerous on-track skirmishes

Hyundai drivers Josh Buchan and Bailey Sweeny have swapped positions at the top of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship after a challenging fourth round of the series at Queensland Raceway.

On a weekend of missed opportunities for HMO Customer Racing, Buchan inherited the championship lead - by a solitary point - after Sweeny was forced to fight back from an electrical issue that disqualified him from the first of three races.

The weekend started with plenty of potential, with Sweeny and Buchan setting the fifth and sixth fastest times in the opening practice session. Sweeny, the winner of last year’s Rookie of the Year award, showcased his pace in the second practice session with the second fastest time. Meanwhile of the other side of the garage, Buchan’s mechanics fine-tuned the handling of his Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR, but he could only manage 10th place on used tyres.

Sweeny backed-up his speed in qualifying with the second fastest time - just 0.17sec behind the polesitter - while Buchan narrowly missed out on a second row starting position, ending the session with the seventh-fastest time.

The HMO Customer Racing garage was sent into a frenzy moments before the opening race when Sweeny’s car failed to start with an unexpected electrical issue. The team scrambled to get the Hyundai i30 N TCR out of the garage in time for a pit lane to start, but the car stalled moments before the start and was forced back into the garage. He managed to get out on track two laps behind the leaders and soldiered through the remainder of the race while managing the issue.

However, he was later disqualified from the results with the race stewards declaring the vehicle was not re-started in accordance with the regulations.

Buchan, meanwhile, was involved in a titanic mid-field tussle throughout the 21-lap opening race, and eventually made up two positions to cross the finish line in fifth position.

He couldn’t capitalise on the improved starting position in the second race (top-10 reverse grid) after being boxed out in a wheel-banging brawl on the opening lap, ultimately losing one place to finish sixth.

Similarly, Sweeny couldn’t take full advantage of his outright speed, now that his car was fully repaired, having been forced to start from the rear of the grid. He managed to charge his way past the back markers and climbed from 13th to finish ninth.

Both drivers were hampered during the final race by unnecessary driving incidents. Sweeny, again starting from the back of the grid was held-up on the opening laps, before being nudged off the track following an ambitious overtaking move under brakes into the final turn.

He quickly reclaimed his position and set about charging his way through the field to cross the finish line in sixth - he was later classified in fifth following a post-race penalty for defending champion Tony D’Alberto.

Buchan, meanwhile, was caught up in a desperate first-lap attack from rival Jordan Cox, who collided with his i30 Sedan N TCR damaging the front suspension. He did manage to continue, soldiered through with his mis-handling machine to finish seventh.

The fifth round of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship will be held at Sandown Raceway in Victoria on September 8-10.

Car 30: i30 Sedan N TCR - Josh Buchan

“Queensland Raceway hasn’t been kind to us again, but I leave here with the lead of the series - somehow! It was a weird weekend at my side of the garage, as we never really had a fast car, other than in qualifying, and I made a slight error which cost us a second row starting position that could have led to a much better outcome in the races. That’s on me, and I should have done a better job.

“In terms of the racing, this track does not suit our car one bit. To get away with more points than my teammate Bailey, and lead the series, means I can’t complain at all. I could have had a better result in the third race but got speared into.

“All in all, there is a silver lining to a tough weekend and I’m happy to roll onto Sandown in the championship lead.”

Car 130: i30 N TCR - Bailey Sweeny

“This weekend really threw everything at us, and it was a real character-building event on my side of the garage as nothing seemed to go right for us. The pace was there in the car, which we showed in qualifying and then fighting back through the field in the final race. I am confident we had the second quickest car all weekend, but the results don’t show that.

“We’re still in the battle, but we should have extended the lead we had in the championship coming into this round.”

Race Results: Round 4, Queensland Raceway, Victoria

  Josh Buchan     Bailey Sweeny  
Practice 1   P11 (1:15.6502sec)     P4 (1:14.8496sec)  
Practice 2   P10 (1:15.2359sec)     P2 (1:14.5483sec)  
Qualifying   P7 (1:14.2364sec)     P2 (1:13.8942sec)  
Race 1   P5 (1:15.1291sec)     DSQ  
Race 2   P6 (1:15.8994sec)     P9 (1:6.1195sec)  
Race 3   P6 (1:16.1270sec)     P5 (1:150168sec)  

2023 TCR Australia Championship Standings (provisional)

Position   Name     Car     Points  
1   Josh Buchan     Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR     457  
2   Bailey Sweeny     Hyundai i30 N TCR     456  
3   Aaron Cameron     Peugeot 308 TCR     425  
4   Jordan Cox     Peugeot 308 TCR     400  
5   Tony D’Alberto     Honda Civic Type R     387  
6   Lachlan Minneef     Audi RS3 LMS     384  
7   Ben Bargwanna     Peugeot 308 R     382  
8   Michael Clemente     Cupra Leon TCR     372  
9   Kody Garland     Peugeot 308 TCR     313  
10   Brad Harris     Honda Civic Type R     273  

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