The World Touring Car Championship is set to add a second tier of cars to the grid in 2017, possibly called 'WTCC2', allowing cars that run to FIA’s TCN2 specification alongside the existing TC1 machinery.
TCN2 is currently the top class in the European Touring Car Cup, and is largely based on the fast-growing TCR technical specification touring car - albeit with some enhancements to make them compliant with FIA requirements, including better improved safety equipment and an FT3 fuel tank.
The announcement is set to be made at next week’s meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, and the addition of the class is designed to alleviate concerns of grid sizes in 2017 following the sudden departure of Lada, which will remove a further three cars from the field next season.
With no new manufacturers entering the championship in 2017, and with Honda and Volvo both stating they are unable to field more than three factory-run cars next season, the move comes as a necessary step in order to ensure the grid size doesn’t drop below the minimum of 16.
This is the level below which the sporting regulations specify that an event could be cancelled, most often linked to commercial agreements between the promoter and the circuit.
A number of teams are understood to have been approached about the possibility of running TCN2 cars next year, both those already on the WTCC grid and competing in other touring car series.
Zengo Motorsport and Munnich Motorsport already own TCN2 class cars with the SEAT Leon Cup Racer and Honda Civic TCR, which they’ve run in the ETCC and some of the TCR categories already, while the technical partner of Honda, JAS Motorsport, is the builder of all the TCR specification Honda Civics in competition around the world.
The WTCC promoter, Eurosport Events, has said it cannot comment on this development ahead of the announcement by the World Motor Sport Council.
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes