WTCR targets “one-off annual event” as future format

WTCR promoter Discovery Sports Events plans to run a “one-off annual event” as its format revamp following the end of its existing championship this season.

Mikel Azcona, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR

The FIA World Touring Car Cup’s current format of staging multiple rounds across the globe will end this year with the conclusion of the ongoing campaign in Bahrain (11-12 November) and Saudi Arabia (26-27 November).

Both the organisers and the FIA are assessing options for a new format for the series, while still using the existing TCR technical rules and regulations, with details set to be revealed once a new format is approved by the motorsport governing body.

But WTCR promoter chief Francois Ribeiro, head of Discovery Sports Events, has teased the idea of one major event held each year while explaining the reasons behind ending the existing format and schedule.

“Last year, when we announced the extension of our long-term partnership with the FIA to promote the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup for the mid-term, we did so with the aim of making WTCR even more environmentally sustainable as part of our roadmap to deliver more sustainable motorsport,” Ribeiro said in a statement.

“The introduction of 100% sustainable fuel was central to this. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that 100% fossil-free fuel is not yet compatible with the production engines used in the TCR category because it puts too great a demand on mechanical components.

“With more and more corporate sponsors not wishing to be associated with a category that does not use fossil-free fuel, we have very real concerns that this will have a negative impact on WTCR grid numbers next season, which have already been compromised by the global health pandemic, the war in Ukraine and weakened economic outlook.

“A future one-off annual event will help to address these concerns.”

Tiago Monteiro, LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, Honda Civic Type R TCR, Attila Tasi, LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, Honda Civic Type R TCR

Tiago Monteiro, LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, Honda Civic Type R TCR, Attila Tasi, LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, Honda Civic Type R TCR

Photo by: WTCR

Discovery Sports Events had signed an agreement to promote the WTCR until the end of the 2025 season, but Ribeiro says that deal depended on its option to activate it which the company has opted against.

“The agreement to cover 2023, 2024 and 2025 was dependent on an option being exercised,” he explained.

“We made the decision not to take up this option and work on developing a new format instead and one which will ensure the best possible future for the premier global competition for combustion engine touring car racing.

“We are really optimistic, with WSC, that the new format will be very relevant to the TCR category, while providing car manufacturers a platform to incentivise their customer teams and showcase their racing cars at their best.

“We aim provide more details once arrangements have been finalised.”

Ribeiro has also confirmed the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup will remain unchanged for 2023.

Following the announcement of a one-off event the World Sporting Consulting, owner of the TCR regulations, has fleshed out the plan with the creation of the TCR World Tour.

The idea shares similarities to the ATP finals and WTA finals in tennis, which hosts a final tournament at the end of the season contested by the players at the top of the rankings.

The TCR World Tour will consist of nine selected events where points earned at each will be increased by 50% compared to regular TCR events.

Drivers will earn TCR World Tour points aiming to make the TCR World Ranking Final, with the top 15 drivers in the rankings qualifying directly for the event.

Then, the top 45 drivers in the overall TCR World Rankings – taken from outside of the TCR World Tour rankings – will join the 15 drivers who qualified from the TCR World Tour to make up the 60 drivers to contest the final.

The nine events that count towards the TCR World Tour will be announced in the coming weeks, covering four continents, with the first event set to take place in Europe.

The main event will be called the TCR World Ranking final and will take place within four months of the end of the TCR World Tour. The event is set to take place every year over four days using a playoff format.

The TCR World Ranking Final will award drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ titles.

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