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WTCR series set to end in 2022

The FIA World Touring Car Cup will come to an end in its current format at the end of the 2022 season.

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After five seasons of running under the WTCR guise, having shifted from the WTCC format from 2018, the series will end following the conclusion of the current season, which has two rounds remaining in Bahrain (10-12 November) and Saudi Arabia (25-27 November).

Following a fraught three years for the series due to the COVID-19 pandemic and logistic challenges, WTCR promoter Discovery Sports Events will halt the series under its current guise and work with the FIA and the World Sporting Consulting, the owner of the TCR regulations, to revamp the series.

The series has roots back to 1993 with the FIA’s launch of the Touring Car World Cup, while a single season of the World Touring Car Championship was held in 1987 as a sister series to the European Touring Car Championship.

The series became a full-time FIA international championship from 2005 to 2017, running as the FIA WTCC, with stars including Andy Priaulx (three-time WTCC champion) Yvan Muller (four-time WTCC champion) and Jose Maria Lopez (three-time WTCC champion).

After a dip in popularity and manufacturer involvement the series switched to TCR rules in 2018.

But 2022 has seen its problems deepen, starting with the cancellation of rounds in the Czech Republic, Russia, South Korea, China and Macau due to either Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the logistic trouble which has been a knock-on effect.

This season’s German round was also cancelled midway through due to Goodyear tyre failures at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, which remerged at the Vallelunga round due to extreme temperatures, but the round was completed at the Italian track.

Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competicion

Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competicion

Photo by: WTCR

That appeared to be the final straw for the Cyan Lynk & Co squad, having previously voiced frustrations at the tyre situation and at the series’ Balance of Performance rules adding weight to its cars and exacerbating the tyre problem.

The Chinese-Swedish manufacturer withdrew its entries during the Vallelunga round and is set to miss the rest of the season. It left just 12 cars on the grid for the Anneau du Rhin round in August.

In a statement from FIA Touring Car Commission President Alan Gow, the organising bodies will look to assess the series’ new format while also confirming the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup will be unchanged from 2023.

“There is a need to identify and assess what is the best and most sustainable future for top-flight touring car racing as part of the FIA portfolio,” Gow said in a statement.

“Our goal would be to maintain a world title for conventionally powered touring cars and ensure the competition is strong and prestigious.

“Throughout its history, world touring car racing used different formats, with titles decided either through a series or at a single event.

“Currently we are considering all the possibilities, with the priority of ensuring that any competition has a stable base on which it can thrive for its long term future.

“With TCR we have a proven set of technical regulations, with a variety of automotive brands represented and more than 1000 cars racing worldwide. Therefore, the intention would be to continue with this platform going forward.”

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