World Touring Car Championship set to keep similar calendar in 2016

The World Touring Car Championship is set to retain a similar calendar in 2016, despite an earlier aim to reduce its number of European events

World Touring Car Championship set to keep similar calendar in 2016

The WTCC calendar was overhauled for 2015, with the addition of the Nurburgring Nordschleife, Vila Real street circuit in Portugal and Thailand's Buriram track.

Qatar also replaced Macau as the season finale, while the Japanese round moved from Suzuka to Motegi.

Having suggested mid-year that the number of European venues could be trimmed from six to four in 2016, series boss Francois Ribeiro is now expecting only minor changes.

"In terms of countries [the calendar] will be the same - maybe the structure a bit different - but the calendar will be the same," Ribeiro told Autosport.

"I think that all of the five new events we have introduced so far work very well.

"The Nurburgring was a success, the street race in a Villa Real was a massive success and Motegi works much better than Suzuka for touring cars.

"We will do the first twilight race in Thailand, the first night race in Qatar, so I'm sure that will work fine."

What is more likely to change is the race weekend format.

A pair of 60km sprint races are currently held, with the top 10 on the grid reversed for the second, and discussions are centred around giving the second race a greater significance.

Measures such as race distances and points weighting are among those being evaluated.

"The debate we are having internally, between the FIA and teams, is about the sporting format of the two races," Ribeiro added.

"Maybe we can find a way to articulate race one and race two together, so that race two meets the perception to become the main race of the event, the last and the main race.

"We are working on this, but we are not exactly finished.

"At the next touring car commission at the end of October it will all be done."

The WTCC recently announced the first change to its 2016 weekends, the introduction of a cycling-style 'time trial' for manufacturer points.

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