Promoters of the TCR International Series have revealed that 22 full-season entries have been lodged for the forthcoming season, representing nine teams and seven different brands.
The championship, which kicks off next weekend supporting the Formula One event in Bahrain, will feature a stronger grid, with numerous drivers and teams electing to remain in the series for a second season.
The SEAT León racer continues to represent the most popular choice of car on the grid, although its numbers are down to just six cars for Craft-Bamboo Racing and B3 Racing Team Hungary, who have three each.
Both newcomers Leopard Racing and returnees Liqui Moly Team Engstler have entered two Volkswagen Golf GTIs each.
WestCoast Racing, who last week announced that Gianni Morbidelli and Kevin Gleason would continue with the team and be joined by Aku Pellinen, will continue to race a trio of Honda Civics.
Three Opel Astra TCR cars have been entered by Target Competition, although only two will be present in Bahrain, for Jordi Oriola and Andrea Belicchi.
Two of the new Subaru STi cars have also been entered, with the Italian car builder Top Run Motorsport entering two. Elsewhere two of the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta cars will also be present, run by Mulsanne Racing.
The Hong Kong team FRD Motorsports have already revealed plans to enter two re-designed Ford Focus TCR cars, with the outfit planning to join the championship by the fourth or fifth event of the year.
“We are satisfied, as we must not forget that we are only entering in the second year,” said promoter Marcello Lotti. “The start-up phase is not over yet and some cars are still under development. However, it is clear that the championship will deliver a variety of different cars and that the level of teams and drivers is growing.
“We are pleased to see most of last year’s faces returning and to welcome the newcomers; among them I’d like to point out the participation of Michela Cerruti, the first lady to commit for the full season. And there is more to come. I am not allowed to name them, but we expect three more brands to join the championship during the season.”
Elsewhere, TCR promoter WSC Ltd. has also signed former World Touring Car Championship presenter Ben Constanduros to front its TV coverage, with Constanduros providing commentary alongside pit reporter Mark James.