It’s unusually cold at Vallelunga and not ideal for testing a front-drive racing car on slick tyres. In fact, warns Volkswagen Motorsport’s resident legend, Hans-Joachim Stück, it’s like driving a racing car at the front and a shopping trolley at the back. There is no traction control, no skid control and no ABS to save you from the hockey pucks attached to the rear axle. There’s just aerodynamics and the Golf GTi TCR’s inherent grip, coupled with your own prudence. You might not have heard of TCR (touring car racing). Its format has championships across the world. In 2016 more than 450 cars took part in 230 races worldwide in 23 championships, with the brands including Seat, Audi, Opel, Honda, Hyundai, Alfa Romeo, Kia, Peugeot, Ford and Subaru. Which is probably why last week the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) became the World Touring Car Cup, adopting all the TCR regulations but losing the FIA championship status the WTCC has had up to now. It also means the end of the fact...

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