The 2017 World Touring Car Calendar has been released, which features some changes over that seen in previous years. The number of events is down from the usual 12 to just 10, meaning just 20 races will make up the 2017 season. The races in Slovakia, Russia and France will make way for a return to Monza and Macau. Monza returns for the first time in 2013, so 2017 will be the first time the current cars have seen the long Italian straights.
Macau will be the penultimate round of the season, with Qatar still being the season finale. This comes as the TCR series announced that it would not be returning to the Guia circuit. This combined with the increased involvement of the FIA in the organisation and running of the Macau “World Cup” meeting. The Macanese circuit will now host three world cup events, for GT, F3 and the WTCC.
The return to Macau brings the number of street circuits up to 3, with the rounds in Marrakech and Portugal held on temporary circuits. The latter two will have another new feature for 2017, joker laps. The organisers want to bring in this concept in order to “improve the show” at circuits which feature little overtaking. WTCC promoter Francois Ribeiro says, “It will bring an extra dimension to Marrakech and Vila Real where we think the local promoter will have enough space to implement an alternative route without compromising safety.” The WTCC wouldn’t be the first to include a joker lap, this was used by TC2000 in the last two years.
The return of Monza is also a popular one. The Italian circuit hosted the first WTCC race in 2005, but has been absent since 2013. The circuit will also hold an official test early next year, the date of which is still to be confirmed. The race will be the second round of the 2017 season in April, it is also the third Formula 1 circuit on the calendar. Monza joining the Hungaroring and Shanghai while the green hell returns where the WTCC and ETCC share the grid.
The full calendar can be seen bellow, with the season opener in Morocco on April 9th and the final round at the Losail circuit in Qatar at the beginning of December. The season opener could be the first time that we see joker laps in the WTCC, and whether they do spice up the racing. Let us know your thoughts below.
2017 WTCC Calendar
(S) denotes a street circuit
Marrakech, Morocco (S) – April 9th
Monza, Italy – April 30th
Hungaroring, Hungary – May 14th
Nordchleife, Germany – May 27th
Vila Real, Portugal (S) – June 25th
Termas De Rio Hondo, Argentina – August 6th
Shanghai, China – October 15th
Motegi, Japan – October 29th
Macau, China (S) – November 19th
Losail, Qatar – December 1st
Image: Yokohama EU