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WTCC adds Tour de France-inspired MAC3 'team time trial' for 2016

The World Touring Car Championship will introduce a new, cycling-inspired team time trial in 2016, as part of a renewed focus on the manufacturers' championship

Each manufacturer will nominate three cars after qualifying to contest the new session, dubbed MAC3 and inspired by the team component of cycling events such as the Tour de France.

The drivers will start side-by-side and complete two or three laps - one on the Nurburgring Nordschleife - with the third driver's total time representing each brand, in a fight for additional manufacturers' championship points.

VIDEO: WTCC LAUNCHES 'MAC3' TIME TRIAL

"As a promoter, I usually find that we FIA world championships are not very good at promoting the world manufacturers' title," Francois Ribeiro told AUTOSPORT.

"If you put the manufacturers in a room and ask them which world title they want most, the manufacturers' title or the drivers' title, all of them immediately will say the manufacturers'.

"It's a kind of paradox, because you see the drivers' title is always the most exposed on media.

"For a while I have been looking for an idea, how to better promote the manufacturers' title, give it more value, so that it becomes a bit more than just the addition of the two best individual results of the drivers.

"I was watching a cycling race in May and I saw the team time trial and that reminded me of the pictures of WTCC qualifying a few years ago when there was no Q1, Q2, Q3.

"When the SEATs and then the Chevrolets were truly qualifying together to bring not only the first car but also the third or fourth car as quick as possible on the flying lap.

"I remember that it was beautiful on TV. I said to myself, 'why don't we import that team trial concept from cycling into motorsport?'"

The initiative has been embraced by manufacturers and the session will take place 10 minutes after qualifying, with parc ferme regulations applying other than fitting new tyres and topping up fuel.

"Some of them knew about cycling and team time trials, so it was easy for them to understand," Ribeiro said of the manufacturers.

"Some of them were not very familiar, so we showed them some simulations, how it would look on screen and how the TV format would look, and they they understood it would be very interesting to follow the dynamic within each team.

"In qualifying, the first thing a driver wants is to beat his team-mate, and exactly 10 minutes after, he will have to exactly the opposite exercise and drive together for their brand and their employer.

"The drivers will have to drive together, help each other, slipstream each other. If one of them is making a mistake, and this happens very often in Q3, then it will penalise the entire team."

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