With the 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup set to be the fifth and final season in its current guise, WTCR promoter Discovery Sports Events (DSE) is looking to the future.
Preparing to complete its agreement as promoter of the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup after five seasons and 108 action-packed races when the 2022 title chase concludes next month, DSE will switch its focus on promoting the ETCR FIA eTouring Car World Cup while also developing a new competition format for TCR cars.
In cooperation with World Sporting Consulting (WSC), the owner of the TCR regulations and trademark, DSE is working to finalise details of a new one-off event format that will showcase the TCR category at the highest level possible, while also promoting greater sustainability.
Moving away from the WTCR’s current multi-venue format, DSE and WSC will aim to develop a competition that promotes international participation to an even greater extent than the WTCR is currently able to do, but still utilising the existing TCR technical regulations.
Full details will be revealed in the event of the proposed format being approved by the FIA with whom DSE has worked in partnership with over an 18-year period.
Q&A: FRANÇOIS RIBEIRO, HEAD OF DISCOVERY SPORTS EVENTS
Why is DSE working on a new competition format?
“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. The introduction of 100 per cent sustainable fuel was central to this. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that 100 per cent 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.”
In April 2021, a press release announced DSE’s (Eurosport Events as it was then) agreement with the FIA to promote the WTCR had been extended to include the 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons. What’s changed?
“For the agreement to cover 2023, 2024 and 2025 was dependent on an option being exercised. 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.”
What happens to FIA ETCR?
“Nothing changes and for 2023 FIA ETCR will continue as an FIA World Cup for touring cars across a multi-event format and will be a priority for DSE. Those electric cars are real racing beasts that deliver exciting racing. The presentation of the category is very modern and the format has been endorsed by top international touring car drivers. FIA ETCR is all about genuine racing and sustainability, two key assets to look positively into the future.”