The calendar for the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) has been revealed in St Petersburg today (Wednesday), featuring a new race in Malaysia and only one race in China.
The season will get underway at the Circuit Moulay el Hassan in Morocco in early April, before moving on to the Hungaroring later in the same month.
The Slovakiaring, which was added to the 2018 calendar as a last-minute substitution for Argentina, has a slot with the third round in May, one week before the series returns to Zandvoort in The Netherlands at the same time of year as in the inaugural WTCR season.
The calendar then follows a familiar pattern, with the event at the Nürburgring Nordschleife next up in June, a month later than in recent years, followed by the street race in Vila Real in early July.
The Asian leg of the season is kicked off by the Race of China in Ningbo in mid-September following a ten-week break, followed by events in Suzuka and Macau.
The second race in China was held at the Wuhan International Circuit in 2018, but the street race has been dropped for 2019 due to a clash with the Military World Games in the city around the same time making it logistically challenging to hold the event, as reported by Autosport.
The new race in Malaysia is listed as the last event of the season in Sepang, although no date has been provided by the promoter as yet.
2019 FIA WTCR Calendar
|1, 2, 3||Marrakech||5 – 7 April|
|4, 5, 6||Hungaroring||26 – 28 April|
|7, 8, 9||Slovakiaring||10 – 12 May|
|10, 11, 12||Circuit Park Zandvoort*||17 – 19 May|
|13, 14, 15||Nürburgring Nordschleife||20 – 22 June|
|16, 17, 18||Vila Real||5 – 7 July|
|19, 20, 21||Ningbo International Speedpark||13 – 15 September|
|22, 23, 24||Suzuka Circuit||25 – 27 October|
|25, 26, 27||Circuito da Guia||15 – 17 November|
|28, 29, 30||Sepang International Circuit||December|
* Subject to promoter agreement
Expanded entry list for season two
The maximum number of entries for the season has been increased from 28 to 32 for next year. In 2018 the maximum was for 25 full-season entries, with up to three wildcards permitted at each event.
A limit to the maximum number of cars from each manufacturer has been implemented, with no more than four cars per brand permitted. Vehicles from Alfa Romeo, Audi, CUPRA, Honda, Hyundai, Lynk & Co, Peugeot and Volkswagen are expected to take to the grid in 2019. In addition, the maximum number of cars for each team has been limited to two.
In practice, this means teams such as Münnich Motorsport, who fielded three cars throughout 2018, and Comtoyou Racing, who fielded four cars, will have to either reduce in size or run full satellite operations in 2019.
Changes to the points and penalties systems
Elsewhere changes to the points allocation have been proposed, with the different system for each race of the weekend ditched in favour of a consistent scale for the top fifteen drivers in each race as follows:
25 points, 20, 16, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Points will be awarded for both qualifying sessions, unlike in 2018 where only the second qualifying session saw drivers rewarded. The same 5-4-3-2-1 format will be used for the top five drivers in each session.
Should a driver cause a red flag in the qualifying sessions then the best lap of the offending driver will be deleted, with the intention being to cause fewer disruptions to the timetable.
Elsewhere, the driver penalty point system will be “updated to bring it in line with other major FIA championships – meaning that if a driver accrues 12 penalty points, they will be disqualified from the following race, following which 12 points will be removed from their record.”