WTCC to return to Macau, Monza in 2017

The World Touring Car Championship will return to Macau after a two-year absence, also adding Monza in Italy to its 2017 season schedule, with the calendar confirmed at the World Motor Sport Council in Vienna.

The WTCC 2017 calendar  will consist of just 10 events, down from the originally scheduled 12 of this year.

The races in Slovakia, Russia and France have been dropped - with the latter two influenced by the departures of Lada and Citroen from the championship.

France had returned to the calendar in 2014, with the championship visiting the Paul Ricard circuit for three years, while the Slovakiaring near Bratislava was added in 2012 and has held a round of the WTCC since.

The Moscow Raceway first held a WTCC race in 2013, although it was set to be replaced by Sochi for this season, before a last-minute change saw the Moscow restored to the calendar.

Monza is set to return after a three-year absence. The Italian circuit last hosted the 2013 season opener, where Yvan Muller won both races with RML on his way to what is now his last WTCC title.

The most significant change is the return of the Guia Race of Macau to the WTCC calendar.

The WTCC raced at the famous street circuit Macau for 10 years, with its last race in 2014 during the first year of TC1, but opted to move its finale to a night race in Qatar from last season, after negotiations with the former organisers over the race's schedule reached an impasse.

With the Macanese ASN, the AAMC, now having more involvement with the running of the event, the situation has changed. This year, the Formula 3 event now has official World Cup status along with the GT Cup, with the FIA having become more involved with the Macau Grand Prix in general.

As a result, Macau could in effect hold three FIA "World Cup" events in 2017, with Formula 3, the GT Cup and the WTCC.

The younger TCR International Series took over as the chief provider of entries for the Guia Race last year, holding its season finale there as it did this year. This year's race, however, was part of a combined event with China Touring Car Championship cars and a handful of non-regular TCR-class cars. The TCR series will not be continuing its association with the Macau event from 2017.

Although Macau is back on the calendar, it will not be the WTCC season finale. Qatar will still host the WTCC curtain closer, now two weeks after Macau at the Losail circuit.

Also announced at the WMSC was that the main race will award more points than the opening race from 2017 on.

The main race will give points to 10 cars, according to a 30-23-19-16-13-10-7-4-2-1 scale.

2017 WTCC calendar:

Date Track
April 9 Marrakesh
April 30 Monza
May 14 Hungaroring
May 27 Nordschleife
June 25 Vila Real
August 6 Termas de Rio Hondo
October 15 Shanghai
October 29 Motegi
November 19 Macau
December 1 Losail

 Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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