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WTCR set for truncated Europe-only 2020 season

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WTCR set for truncated Europe-only 2020 season
By:
Co-author: Marcus Simmons
May 20, 2020, 1:14 PM

This year's World Touring Car Cup is set to kick off in September with a short programme of events in Europe only.

The latest revisions to the WTCR calendar, which is expected to be confirmed in the middle of next week, is understood to be made up of six weekends at European tracks. 

Sources have revealed that two of the events will maintain the double-header format planned for this year, while four will run to the WTCR's former triple-header weekend schedule, meaning there will be a total of 16 races. 

That's down on the original 20 races, which the WTCR had been hoping to maintain as recently as last month.  

Francois Ribeiro, boss of WTCR promoter Eurosport Events, told Motorsport.com: "It is very possible that we will be starting in September. 

"We have submitted our dates to the FIA and there will be a communication next week when our calendar is revealed." 

Asked about the format of each weekend, he replied: "You heard it correctly."

A Europe-only schedule for WTCR means that the four-event Asian leg made up of races at Ningbo in China, Inje in South Korea, Macau and Sepang has been cancelled in its entirety. 

Ribeiro explained that the FIA had been very understanding as a series with official world status put together its revised Europe-only calendar in the face of the world health crisis. 

"Exceptional decisions are needed in exceptional times," he said. 

It remains unclear if the WTCR rounds planned for this summer at the Slovakiaring, Motorland Aragon and the Salzburgring will be on the latest calendar. 

The series opener at the Hungaroring scheduled for April and race on the undercard of the Nurburgring 24 Hours on its original date in May were cancelled back in March. 

The Portuguese race on the Vila Real street circuit set for June was removed from the calendar in April. 

Ribeiro revealed that he was hopeful of the grid holding up for the delayed start of the season, and said he would be "super-happy with 18 to 20 cars".

Macau Guia to take place outside WTCR

The Macau Guia tin-top classic will take place in 2020, despite its likely omission from the World Touring Car Cup.

Macau Sports Institute president Pun Weng Kun told Macanese radio that he was hopeful that international drivers will still be attracted to the event.

The Macau Guia looks set to be run for two-litre turbocharged cars, as it was in 2015 when the fledgling TCR International Series attached points for its own classification to the event.

The event was also a TCR International round in 2016, but reverted to the World Touring Car Championship, for which it had been a prestige event from 2005-14, in 2017. When WTCC promoter Eurosport adopted TCR regulations for 2018, effectively merging the two series, Macau was on the schedule, as it was in 2019.

Running the race for two-litre turbocharged cars will likely mean that the bedrock of the entry will come from the TCR China series, which finishes four weeks before the Macau event of 19-22 November, and the Chinese Touring Car Championship.

The race, traditionally run over a double-header format, ran outside of any global championship from 1972-2004, but was often fought out by teams and drivers from the European, Japanese and Australian touring car scenes as well as local entrants.

The status of the GT event on the Macau bill remains uncertain at this stage, including whether it will continue as the FIA-sanctioned GT World Cup.

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About this article

Series WTCR
Author Gary Watkins