Fewer races as WTCR acts to cut costs

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A reduction from three races to two in a weekend heads a raft of cost-cutting measures announced by the WTCR FIA World Touring Car Cup for 2020.

The series has acted following a significant rise in budgets caused by manufacturer support of teams in the series, despite the WTCR running to TCR regulations and not permitting entries by full factory teams.

These rising costs have been brought into focus by both Audi and Volkswagen announcing they were ending their WTCR involvement after the 2019 season. WTCR promoter Eurosport Events has now submitted a series of cost-cutting measures, which will need to be ratified by the FIA’s World Motorsport Council on March 6.

Assuming the new measures are approved, most WTCR race weekends in 2020 will be held over two days instead of three, featuring just one qualifying session instead of the current two. And the series will revert to the two races per weekend format of its predecessor the World Touring Car Championship, rather than three races as in 2019. Both races will be held on the same day.

The WTCR restricted team personnel numbers in 2019 and will reduce them further for 2020. Two-car teams will be permitted 12 personnel and three-car organizations 18, but only 10 per team will be issued with pitlane armbands, allowing them to work on the cars.

Tire allocations per car will fall from 22 for the first race and 18 thereafter to 18 and 12 respectively.

Head of Eurosport Events Francois Ribeiro described the changes made as “a must, not a nice to have,” and added that they have resulted from the desire to succeed on track causing budget rises that are becoming challenging to sustain, while moving WTCR away from the TCR category’s ethos as a customer racing activity.

“We have acted decisively and responsibly to protect WTCR, keep it strong for all the stakeholders, maintain its appeal among fans and media, and ensure it remains attractive and accessible for new privateer teams wanting to race at the highest possible level of TCR,” Ribeiro added.

“Unsustainable budgets and acknowledging the impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on the global economy has accelerated the introduction of a number of cost reduction measures and format changes developed together with the FIA and team representatives.”

The 2020 WTCR is scheduled to begin at the Hungaroring in Hungary on April 26.

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Andrew Charman is a regular contributor to PMW. He has been working in motorsport for more than 35 years, specialising in Touring Cars and US motorsport, particularly NASCAR.

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