WTCR investigating expanding joker lap use to more 2018 races

World Touring Car Cup boss Francois Ribeiro says he wants the joker lap concept to be adopted by more street circuits on the category's calendar, including the new Wuhan track

WTCR investigating expanding joker lap use to more 2018 races

The rallycross-style joker lap was added to the World Touring Car Championship's sporting regulations for the 2017 season and was first implemented at that year's Vila Real round.

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

The concept was carried over into the new WTCR world cup era, again featuring in Vila Real last month, and Ribeiro said he had presented the idea to officials in China ahead of the inaugural World Touring Car round in the city of Wuhan in October.

"I would love to expand the joker lap outside of Vila Real," said Ribeiro.

"We are analysing with the FIA where and how the joker lap can be applied in Wuhan. I'd really love to see a joker lap in Wuhan.

"I'm sure the event will be big and a success, but I think if we explain the concept of the joker lap to the Chinese people [they will be interested in it].

"I showed them drawings and videos and so on of Vila Real and the benefits it brought to Vila Real, and I hope we can implement it in Wuhan."

Ribeiro said he had explored how viable a joker lap would be in Macau, but said there was no adequate point on the Guia circuit to implement a secondary lane.

"I checked with Macau, but it's just impossible," he said. "There's no location to do a joker lap in Macau, physically - I have done a circuit lap 10 times and there is no place."

Ribeiro added he "hoped" the series would finally be able to implement the joker in Marrakech for 2019.

Safety concerns and political instability around the time of Marrakech's WTCC round last year meant a joker lane was not adopted for 2017, and did not feature as part of this year's WTCR opener either.

Under Ribeiro's direction, the WTCC also introduced the MAC3 concept, a Tour de France-inspired time trial for manufacturers, in 2016.

He said no major innovations were planned for 2019, but said one change ahead of the first WTCR season - introducing a third race to the weekend schedule - had been a success.

"I think it brought a lot to the championship," said Ribeiro. "When I took the decision last winter there was a lot of scepticism around it.

"But really I think it brings something, it helps to structure the event, it offers a better show to the viewers and spectators.

"I know teams have to work a busy day on Saturday, but I really like it and I want to keep it."

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Series WTCR
Author Jack Cozens
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