GWR Australia has confirmed that Michael Almond will race one of its Hyundai i30 N TCR cars in the opening round of TCR Australia this weekend, taking the total to three of the South Korean cars on the grid.
The Sydney-based team currently has two Hyundai cars, but has only entered one for the first event of the season, whilst HMO Customer Racing has entered two of the cars for Nathan Morcom and Will Brown.
Almond has competed in Porsches for the past eight years, spending six seasons in the Carrera Cup Championship. He is currently competing in the category, where he is seventh in the standings with Sonic Motor Racing Services.
The 35-year-old also has experience of competing in Touring Car Masters and V8 Utes. At present, he says the deal is only for one round, with further outings contingent on further support if there is sufficient interest.
“It’s just for one event at the moment, but we’ll see how we goes,” said Almond. “If everyone gets excited and get more support, we’ll have a look and see if we can finish the season.
“I used to love playing TOCA [1990s video game]. That was some of my favourite times as a teen, playing the game. I was a huge fan of the BTCC. The racing is always close, with the cars going three wide and hard, solid racing.
“The cars have the paddle shift gearbox and a really nice Michelin tyre. Both of these things I’ll be used to from my Porsche racing.
“I haven’t done much front-wheel drive racing, but the recipe is there to have some fun so I’m really looking forward to it.”
GWR Australia Managing Director Garth Walden is pleased that his outfit can be part of history in competing in the first-ever TCR Australia event.
“It’s great to confirm that we’ll have one car on the grid for Sydney Motorsport Park,” said Walden.
“It’s going to be great to be part of history – the first round of TCR in Australia. I’m getting plenty of calls and messages about it, so I reckon they’ll be a big crowd there.
“It’s fantastic to have Michael Almond as the driver. He has been part of our team as a driver coach for a number of years and it’s good to have him in the race seat.
“He has raced in many categories and I’m confident that he’ll adapt to the front wheel drive TCR car quickly.
“It’s a shame that we’ll have our other Hyundai in the garage for this event, but we expect to get it out for Round 2 at Phillip Island.”