The FIA World Touring Car Championship will get an extra tier in 2017 with the launch of FIA WTCC-2, part of a rules revamp approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Vienna today, designed to further increase the WTCC’s appeal and spectacle.
Catering for cars built to the world governing body’s TCN2 technical regulations, WTCC-2 will provide an accessible starting point for drivers and teams aiming to reach touring car racing’s top echelon, albeit in a high-profile and competitive environment.
WTCC-2 will be administered by the same team behind the WTCC from the FIA and Eurosport Events. The WTCC-2 sporting and technical regulations will be published shortly by the FIA.
TCN2 cars are designed for use in national and international competitions and are equipped with up to two-litre turbocharged engines, sequential gearboxes, homologated roll cages and limited aerodynamic aids. They also benefit from safety fuel cells and side-impact protective door foam.
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCC promoter, said: “In the current economic climate we recognise the challenges being faced by drivers and teams to secure the finances required to race a TC1 World Touring Car. While the WTCC will clearly remain the pinnacle of touring car racing, WTCC-2 will provide a good platform for aspiring World Touring Car champions of the future to showcase their talents on a global stage, compete for an FIA title, but at a reduced cost by limiting WTCC-2 to TCN2-specification cars, which are more affordable to prepare and maintain. WTCC-2 competitors will benefit from the high event organisation standards, global media exposure and promotional activities in common with the WTCC.”
WTCC MAC3 takes two
Following the success of Manufacturers Against the Clock (WTCC MAC3) season one, the Tour de France-inspired team trial – a first for international motorsport – will continue with more points on offer and the debut of Team Volvo Polestar in store in 2017. Although eight points will continue to be awarded to the second-placed team, the winning line-up gets 12 points (up two from 2016).
Joker laps for WTCC
The WTCC’s sporting regulations for 2017 will include the allowance for FIA World Rallycross-style ‘joker’ laps to be introduced subject to the approval of the FIA’s Safety and Circuit Commissions. Aimed primarily at spicing up the action during the street races in Marrakech and Vila Real, ‘joker’ laps cannot be taken until the third lap of a race and their addition at events will be subject to a full safety inspection being completed.
Main Race gets more laps and points
With the exception of the three-lappers at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the weekend-closing Main Race will be two laps longer than the Opening Race, while the points structure will be changed as follows: 1=30 points; 2=23; 3=19; 4=16; 5=13; 6=10; 7=7; 8=4; 9=2; 10=1.
Two-day events to reduce costs
WTCC events will be held over two days in 2017*. Friday testing will be no more with Free Practice 1 and 2 increasing from 30 to 45 minutes to ensure no track time is lost. *The timetable for WTCC Race of Germany at Nürburgring Nordschleife may require an extra day of activity.