The calendar for the inaugural World Touring Car cup has been revelled. It borrows much from the WTCC championship, with the opening round in Morocco with the finale in Macau in November.
Marakech opens the season at the start of April, and will showcase the new 3 race format that the series will use this year. It will also be the first time the TCR machinery will race around the circuit Moulay El Hassan. The series will then visit the Hungaroring just 2 weeks later, where both series visited last season. Then on May 13th, the WTCR heads to the Nordschliefe, as a support race for the infamous 24 hour race around the Green Hell.
Then there is the first new race on the calendar. The WTCR will race in the Netherlands for the first time in 10 years, with a round at Zandvoort. There is just a week between the German and Dutch races, so time could be tight for those suffering damage at the Green Hell. After that there is a 1 month gap before a return to Portugal and the Villa Real street circuit. Last season, the street circuit saw the introduction of joker laps to the WTCC. It hasn’t been said wether the WTCR will follow suit with this, there are quite a few people hoping that they don’t.
Then the fly away season starts, the first being in Argentina in August. This will be the sixth straight year that the Termas de Rio Hondo will hold an international touring car race. The WTCC became the stomping ground of numerous fast Argentine drivers like triple champion Jose Maria Lopez. Last season it was Nestor Girolami and Esteban Guerrieri who made a big impression on the championship. The latter was called up to Honda after Tiago Monteiro’s testing crash in September.
The end of September sees a return to Ningbo, China. Last season the WTCC round here was mared with poor weather, causing the feature race to be abandoned after just 4 laps behind the safety car. A month later, the series visit’s Suzuka, sharing the bill with the finale of the Super Formula championship. This marks a move from Twin Ring Motegi, which hosted the WTCC for the last 3 seasons.
The grand finale will take place around the streets of Macau in November. Both the WTCC and the TCR International series have raced around the streets of Macau, with a number of WTCC drivers entering the TCR series to race there. Macau also returns to it’s origional position as the final round of the championship. This is a move away from Losial in Qatar which hosted the WTCC finale for the last few seasons. Also missing from the calendar is Monza which both the WTCC and TCR series raced at last season.
The calendar also features a TBC race, slated to take place on July 22nd. There is no news on the venue, however the promoters, Eurosport have said that they have never worked with either of the circuits on the table. An announcement is due soon.
2018 WTCR Calendar
April 8th – Marrakech, Morocco
April 29th – Hungaroring, Hungary
May 13th – Nurburgring, Germany
May 21st – Zandvoort, The Netherlands
June 24th – Vila Real, Portugal
July 22nd – TBC
August 5th – Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
September 30th – Ningbo, China
October 28th – Suzuka, Japan
November 18 – Guia, Macau
Words: Tom Gibson @WA10Tom
Image: ADAC Motorsport