While Touring Car racing is often viewed as the grassroots base for sports car competition throughout the world and the launching pad for many up-and-coming drivers looking to cut their teeth and climb the motorsports ladder, don't let that fool you – the competition is intense and sometimes unpredictable, and features some of the best door-to-door road racing found anywhere.
The TC America Touring Car classes showcase a strong diversity in machinery throughout the TCR/TCR DSG Cup, TC, and TCA categories. Across the various classes, Touring Car is the place where the world's leading OEM manufacturers like Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai, MINI, Nissan, BMW, Audi, Alfa Romeo, Mazda, and Subaru fight for supremacy. And the driver lineup is just as diverse with up-and-comers looking to make their mark against genuine stars looking to add to their win columns.
With five race weekends already completed and teams and drivers heading to Watkins Glen August 30 to September 1 to begin the final leg of the 2019 season, the push for the championships is in high gear.
In TCR, FCP Euro top the team championship standings and have put VW into the lead in the manufacturer's category heading into the final three race weekends of the season. The team's Golf GTI TCR drivers Michael Hurczyn and Nate Vincent have been dominant thus far – Hurczyn has three wins and four second place finishes, while Vincent has one win, three second place finishes and three thirds.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta team Risi Competizione sits in fourth with driver James Walker Jr. in third – Walker had a season-best second-place finish at St. Petersburg in Round 3.
Looking to close the gap on the leaders, McCann Racing, a storied name in SRO America competition, sit second in the team standings. Team principal Michael McCann Sr. was the GT Rookie of the Year in 2004 and before he retired from competition posted over 50 series starts. Second generation driver Michael McCann Jr. driving the team's Audi Sport RS3 LMS (DSG) sits third in the TCR DSG Cup driver's championship standings. The team's second driver Christian Cole is in second entering the Watkins Glen weekend, while Audi sits second in the manufacturer's championship. Audi is also represented by eEuroparts.com ROWE Racing – slotted into third in the team championship standings – with driver Bryan Putt sitting atop the TCR DSG Cup driver's championship standings.
In TC, Rooster Hall Racing campaigning the BMW M240iR Cup sit atop the team championship standings because of the strong performances of their two drivers Johan Schwartz and Steve Streimer. Schwartz, the 2015 TCB driver's champion, leads the TC driver's championship on the strength of five wins this season, including a sweep of the most recent race weekend at Portland. Teammate Streimer won Round 5 at Sonoma and sits in fifth.
Toby Grahovec, owner/driver of the former championship-winning operation Classic BMW and the 2016 TC Driver's Champion, has six second place finishes this season behind the wheel of his BMW M240 iR. He sits second overall in the driver's championship standings heading into Watkins Glen. Classic BMW sits second in the team championship standings heading into the last part of the 2019 season.
BimmerWorld, another long-standing series team, returned to fulltime SRO America competition this season – team principal James Clay started 65 series races throughout the 2000s. The Virginia-based squad currently sits third in the team championship standings with their two BMW M240iR racers Cameron Evans and Chandler Hull sitting fourth and sixth respectively in the driver's championship. Cameron won his first career TC America race in Round 6 at Sonoma.
Auto Technic Racing, sitting fourth in the team championship standings, is also competing out of the BMW stable. Driver Robert Nimkoff coming off a season-best second at Portland sits third in driver's standings, while teammate Tom Capizzi sits eighth.
The TCA category boasts serious efforts from Honda, Mazda, MINI, and Subaru with multiple strong teams and drivers vying for championship honors. Headlining the class is reigning TCA manufacturer's champion Subaru returning with TechSport Racing. TechSport Racing and Subaru enter the Watkins Glen weekend leading in the team and manufacturer's championship standings. Canadian Nick Wittmer behind the wheel of one of the team's five Subaru BRZ tS cars has five wins this season and sits atop the driver's championship standings. Wittmer's teammate and fellow Canadian P.J. Groenke sits eighth overall.
Mazda team Copeland Motorsports, campaigning the Mazda Global MX5 Cup NDs, is looking to dethrone TechSport this season – the team sits third in the team standings on the strength of driver Tyler Maxson's two wins and two second place finishes earlier this season.
Second in the team championship standings is the MINI JCW Team – drivers Mark Pombo and Nate Norenberg pilot the team's MINI Cooper JCWs. Pombo and Norenberg sit third and fifth respectively in the driver's championship standings.
Sitting fourth in the team championship standings, is newcomer Chris Haldeman's X-Factor Racing operation campaigning the Honda Civic Si in TCA. X-Factor's driver lineup is a mixture of experience and young, hungry drivers. Haldeman sits fourth in the driver's championship while teammates Taylor Hagler and Cole Ciraulo sit sixth and seventh respectively. X-Factor is also associated with the #TEAMSALLY Honda Civic Si entry for Sally McNulty who brings a wealth of time attack experience to the table in her debut season in TC America. McNulty sits 10th.
Jose DaSilva, piloting the Ives Motorsports Mazda Global MX5 sits ninth in the driver's championship standings, while fellow Mazda driver Ian Lacy Racing's Jenny Gannett, the 2018 TCA Most Improved Driver, sits 11th.