New tracks plus weight rule tweak as WTCR revs up for next three seasons
South Korea and Spain included on 10-event 2020 calendar
The WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup continues to go from strength to strength with confirmation of a 10-event calendar featuring two new destinations, plus a revision to the compensation weight rule designed to spice up the racing.
At its meeting in Paris yesterday (4 December), the FIA World Motor Sport Council gave the green light to the additions of South Korea and Spain on the 2020 schedule and rubber-stamped the tweaked Sporting Regulations that had been previously approved by the FIA Touring Car Commission.
Meanwhile, the Council approved the extension of the WTCR promoter agreement between Eurosport Events and the FIA by three years to include the 2020-2022 seasons.
FIA President, Jean Todt, commented: “I am very pleased with the development of the partnership for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup and look forward to the continued development of Touring Car racing.”
KEY MARKETS, SPECTACULAR CITIES AND ICONIC RACING CIRCUITS
The continued success and global appeal of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup is underlined by visits to two new countries – South Korea and Spain – on the #RoadToMalaysia, destination of the 2020 season super-finale at the Sepang International Circuit from 10-13 December. The 2020 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup calendar is confirmed as follows:
WTCR Race of Morocco (Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech), 3-5 April 2020
WTCR Race of Hungary (Hungaroring), 24-26 April 2020
WTCR Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife), 20-23 May 2020
WTCR Race of Slovakia (Slovakia Ring), 5-7 June 2020
WTCR Race of Portugal (Circuito Internacional de Vila Real), 19-21 June 2020
WTCR Race of Spain (MotorLand Aragón), 3-5 July 2020
WTCR Race of China (Ningbo International Speedpark), 4-6 September 2020
WTCR Race of South Korea (Inje Speedium circuit), 16-18 October 2020
WTCR Race of Macau (Circuito da Guia), 19-22 November 2020
WTCR Race of Malaysia (Sepang International Circuit), 10-13 December 2020
— New entry South Korea strengthens WTCR’s ties with Asia
The Inje Speedium circuit, located 160 kilometres north east of Seoul, is the venue for the first WTCR Race of South Korea from 16-18 October. Gabriele Tarquini, who won the inaugural WTCR title driving a Hyundai i30 N TCR said: “It’s a very nice track, enjoyable with up and down sections, a bit like a small version of the Mugello circuit in Italy. When I drove there, it was complicated to find the line and this made it a good challenge. It will be good for our category of racing.”
— Spain gets ready for first WTCR appearance
MotorLand Aragón was announced as a WTCR venue back in September, will host WTCR Race of Spain from 3-5 July. Event-winning Spanish CUPRA-powered WTCR racer and top rookie Mikel Azcona is a big fan. He said: “You can have a lot of overtakes and battles. It will be really fun for the spectators.”
— Legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife to host the action earlier than in 2019
As well as new tracks, there’s a tweak to the event order for 2020 with WTCR Race of Germany, at the ultra-demanding Nürburgring Nordschleife, moving forward by one month from June to May (20-23), albeit once again coinciding with the ADAC 24h-Rennen week, which regularly attracts in excess of 200,000 fans. The dates of the events in Slovakia, Portugal and China are also earlier than in 2019.
WTCR HEADS EARLY TO ARAGÓN
As well as hosting the inaugural WTCR Race of Spain from 3-5 July, MotorLand Aragón will be the setting of the official pre-season test from 24-26 March. Additional activities to coincide with this event will be announced in due course.
TWEAK TO KEY WEIGHT RULE AND ROOKIE CLASSIFICATION
The FIA Sporting Regulations for the 2020 season have undergone a few adjustments as follows:
— Compensation weight calculations based on qualifying lap times only
Once the 2020 season is underway, race lap times will no longer be considered for the compensation weight calculations, meaning only qualifying lap times will count. Furthermore, the calculations will be made without the effect of the ballast being taken into consideration. Instead, a correction to the lap times will be applied, according to the ballast carried in the previous events.
The changes to the Sporting Regulations have been made to discourage teams – in tandem with customer racing brand engineers – from instructing drivers to effectively set slower race lap times to help limit the amount of additional weight added to their cars for the subsequent race weekend. The intended result is better racing as drivers will push on each lap to try to gain position, rather than driving with a compensation weight strategy in mind. The compensation weight calculations will be more accurate, fluctuate less and be close to the actual performance of each car in reality.
— Rookie classification to showcase new talent
Drivers 23 and under on 1 January 2020 who have participated in no more than three WTCR events will be included in the new rookie classification, which has been introduced to recognise the achievements of young racers in WTCR.
Q&A: FRANÇOIS RIBEIRO, HEAD OF EUROSPORT EVENTS, WTCR PROMOTER
Can you sum up the changes to the Sporting Regulations and the benefits they will deliver?
“When you have a successful product like we do with WTCR, it’s important to avoid making wholesale changes, only adjustments to further improve the show. Including qualifying lap times only in the compensation weight calculations is the best possible decision for WTCR and the fans watching the racing. For too long we’ve seen engineers on the pit wall focusing on lap-time management and scratching their heads over their live radio communication with drivers. I am thankful to the FIA for sharing this opinion.”
What’s the thinking behind the rookie classification?
“Right from the start of WTCR, one of our continued aims has been to attract young guns to take on established professionals, which will be the case well into the future. There’s an increasing number of young talents coming through the ranks in touring car racing and it’s important WTCR is accessible for the most talented of them.”
Why South Korea, why no Japan?
“We welcome South Korea and Inje Speedium to the WTCR family. Once again, we have included four events in Asia to acknowledge the region’s considerable importance to the WTCR. While the 2020 calendar will not include an event at Suzuka, our long-term partnership with Mobilityland, the local promoter in Japan, remains firmly in place to bring another series to Suzuka in the future.”
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