The full-season entry list for the 2017 TCR International Series has been revealed, featuring 20 entries, seven different brands, including the return of Leopard Racing and Zengő Motorsport.
In total 23 entries have been lodged, with three of these for drivers committed to competing in the European events in order to be eligible for the end-of-season TCR European Trophy.
Amongst the leading full-season entries are reigning champion Stefano Comini, who was on Wednesday announced with new TCR outfit Comtoyou Racing, and Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay, who remains with the team he competed with last year.
A second Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf has been entered, but the driver remains as TBA at present.
Elsewhere, Zengő Motorsport return to the series for the first time since the inaugural TCR season in 2015, when the Hungarian outfit ran SEAT cars for five different drivers.
Racing for the team in their KIA Cee’d TCR cars will be Ferenc Ficza, who switches from the World Touring Car Championship, and a second yet-to-be-announced driver. Ficza previously competed in the TCR International Series when he took part in the first-ever race in Malaysia in 2015.
DG Sport Compétition have confirmed Pierre-Yves Corthals and Mat’o Homola in their brace of Opel Astra TCR cars.
There will be no full-season entries from Liqui Moly Team Engstler this year, as the German outfit remain fully committed in their six-car TCR Germany and two-car TCR Asia teams respectively.
Also missing from the grid in 2017 are the Hungarian B3 Racing outfit, although Dušan Borković, Attila Tassi and Homola have all found seats in other teams for the forthcoming season.
Three drivers have already entered for the TCR European Trophy, including Serbian Milovan Vesnić, who revealed his plans on Wednesday, Norwegian driver Stian Paulsen and Danish driver Jens Reno Møller, who enters with his own Reno Racing team.
46-year-old Møller was previously a long-time entrant in the Danish Touring Car Championship throughout the 2000s.
Austrian outfit Zele Racing will also enter a SEAT León TCR for a race-by-race guest driver during the season.
TCR promoter Marcello Lotti is pleased with the diversity of the grid for the year ahead, with full-season entries from Audi, KIA and Opel for the first time.
“The TCR International Series is growing further in its third season and we are very pleased with the arrival of new brands, like Audi and KIA, and new teams,” said Lotti. “We are also delighted to see that the decision to change the format of the European Trophy is resulting in some competitors already entering in the European events of the International Series.
Lotti also went on to explain the reason why some of the teams and drivers will not be present at the season-opener in Georgia. 16 cars will line up in Georgia, with 18 in Bahrain and the full field present at the third event in Belgium.
“The deadline that was fixed to ship the cars to Georgia was very close to the Balance of Performance test, which made life difficult for the teams in the preparation of their programmes,” added Lotti. “As a result, some of the cars could not be delivered in time for the shipping.”
Further entries are anticipated from drivers such as Kevin Gleason and Grégoire Demoustier later in the season.