- Hyundai N Team driver Martin Cao secured the TCR China drivers’ title at the series' final weekend of the year on the Macau Guia Circuit
- Cao scored his fourth win of the season in Race 1 at the track to build a points advantage that was too large for his rival to overcome in the final contest
- His results helped the Elantra N TCR clinch the car model championship title in the series after Hyundai drivers won half of the series' 12 races during the season.
Hyundai N Team’s Martin Cao finished the 2023 TCR China season as he started it, with a winning performance to clinch the drivers’ title in his first season racing the Elantra N TCR.
Cao converted a second place start for Race 1 on the Macau street circuit into a fourth victory of the season. The result allowed him to take a giant step towards the drivers’ title, while also guaranteeing the car model championship title for the Hyundai Elantra N TCR. The points’ advantage the victory opened up in Cao’s favour proved crucial as he was forced out of Race 2 after contact while he made his way through the top ten after starting ninth.
He had started the season with victory in Race 1 of the opening weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit. He sprang from fourth on the grid to take the lead on the run down to turn one, and held the lead for the duration of the race to open the season with a victory.
However, it wasn’t until after back-to-back race wins at Race 2 at Zhejiang in treacherous, sodden conditions and Race 1 on the series’ first visit of the season to the Zhuzhou International Circuit that Cao took the championship lead for the first time. The final step on the podium in a 1-2-3 finish for Elantra N TCR drivers in Race 2 on the championship’s return to the former Chinese GP venue helped him keep the points lead, but he would slip to second after two more races at Zhuzhou, despite finishing both contests in the top five. Cao started the Macau weekend six points in arrears, but was able to retake the lead with his fourth win of the season.
The season brought large numbers of Hyundai Motorsport customers to the TCR China grid – led by multi-car entries from both the Hyundai N Team and Z Speed. The two outfits combined to put five Elantra N TCR drivers in the top ten of the championship as Elantra N TCR drivers won half of the 12 races during the year.
Customer Racing Junior Driver Max Hart finished sixth. The Irish Z Speed driver finished the season with a masterful lights-to-flag victory in Race 2 of the Macau weekend to add to his fourth in the opening race at the circuit. Cao’s Hyundai N Team stablemates Andy Yan and Rainey He finished seventh and ninth respectively, with Z Speed driver Zhang Zhen Dong between them – eighth in the final standings.
It was a great season after a difficult comeback in the points after round five. The car was very fast in Macau – the set-up and tyres were almost perfect which gave me so much confidence to push for a better result. Thanks for Hyundai and the Hyundai N Team for putting together the perfect package for us this weekend, and all season. I look forward to another good year in 2024.
The level of competition in TCR China this season has been fantastic. The racing between multiple manufacturers and drivers has been very close, and the championship lead changed hands several times – right down to the final race of the final weekend of the year. To win in such a competitive championship is a huge achievement, so Martin Cao and the Hyundai N Team can rightly be very proud. Cao won on every track the series visited – including in incredibly wet conditions at Zhejiang and at the final weekend in Macau. The victory for our Junior Driver Max Hart, after a superb drive in the final race of the year, completed an excellent season in TCR China for Elantra N TCR customers.
2023 TCR China Championship – Final Drivers’ Standings
- M. Cao 178
- J. Young 159
- J. Zhang 145
- M. Xie 111
- D. Zhu 101
- M. Hart 91
2023 TCR China Championship – Final Car Model Standings
- Hyundai Elantra N TCR 351
- Lynk & Co 03 TCR 303
- Honda Civic Type R TCR 253