The 2015 World Touring Car Championship calendar was today confirmed at the FIA World Motorsport Council in Doha, Qatar and features a season finale night race in Qatar instead of the traditional Macau street race.
Significant changes have been revealed for next season’s WTCC calendar, which no longer features the traditional end-of-season race around the streets of Macau – an event which has been a staple of the first ten years of the championship.
“As much as the Macau Grand Prix has helped the WTCC to get a first taste of racing in Asia, we now have a solid broadcast base in the region and a presence in China, Japan and now Thailand,” explained François Ribeiro, Eurosport Events COO. “We take this opportunity to thank the Macau Grand Prix organisers for having hosted us since 2005.
“The WTCC has matured over its 10 years of existence and we have therefore decided to look for new alternatives in a new region that can open up new markets, better TV schedules and be closer to our home base allowing the material to return quicker to Europe.”
Instead of Macau there will now be a night race in the Middle East, with Losail playing host to the season finale in mid-November.
The calendar also features the eagerly anticipated race around the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife, which will be held in support of the 24 Hour race at the circuit.
The season will kick off in Argentina, where new champion José María López is sure to receive a warm welcome. There will then be more than a month until the second round in Morocco, before the series heads to Europe for a six-event sequence in the space of two and a half months.
Making a first appearance on the calendar for 2015 is a race in Buriram, Thailand – a move which follows the recently announced draft TC3 International Series calendar which will also make an appearance in the South-East Asia state.
The Race of Portugal also returns to the calendar, albeit at a different venue to that from previous years. The event will take place at the Villa Real Circuit, having previously been held at Estoril and the Circuito da Boavista street circuit.
Along with Macau, the WTCC Race of Austria around the Salzburgring has also been dropped in favour of a return to Germany at the Nürburgring.
FIA WTCC 2015: calendar at a glance
Round 1: WTCC Race of Argentina (Termas de Río Hondo), 6-8 March
Round 2: WTCC Race of Morocco (Moulay El Hassan), 17-19 April
Round 3: WTCC Race of Hungary (Hungaroring), 1-3 May
Round 4: WTCC Race of Germany (N’ring Nordschleife), 15-16 May
Round 5: WTCC Race of Russia (Moscow Raceway), 5-7 June
Round 6: WTCC Race of Slovakia (Slovakia Ring), 19-21 June*
Round 7: WTCC Race of France (Paul Ricard), 26-28 June
Round 8: WTCC Race of Portugal (Vila Real), 10-12 July
Round 9: WTCC Race of Japan (circuit TBC), 11-13 September
Round 10: WTCC Race of China (Shanghai), 25-27 September
Round 11: WTCC Race of Thailand (Buriram), 30 October-1 November
Round 12: WTCC Race of Qatar (Losail), 20-22 November*
* Subject to Event Promotion Agreement.