Mid-December WTCR finale and first Sepang wildcard confirmed

Mid-December WTCR finale and first Sepang wildcard confirmed

Photo: François Flamand / DPPI

The season finale of the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) will take place on the 13 – 15 December 2019, whilst TCR Asia series runner-up Mitchell Cheah has been confirmed as the first wildcard driver for the event.

Eurosport Events will promote the event together with the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorbikes, marking the first time that the Sepang International Circuit [SIC] will host both car and bike racing in the same weekend.

Saturday 14 December will see the inaugural Sepang 8 Hours event take place as round two of the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship for motorbikes.

The Sunday will then see the season finale of the 2019 FIA WTCR World Touring Car Cup, with the date subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on 7 March.

The final race will take place under the Sepang floodlights at 19:00 local time (11:00 GMT, 12:00 CET) – a first for the series, although not a first for World Touring Cars, after Qatar previous hosted WTCC night races.

Due to the need to make safety adjustments for cars and bikes, a unique timetable will see WTCR and EWC practice and qualifying take place on Thursday and Friday 12 / 13 December. The final three races of the WTCR season will all take place on the Sunday.

“We are very proud to be working with the Sepang International Circuit and writing with them a new chapter in the country’s and south-east Asia’s motorsport history,” said WTCR and EWC Promoter François Ribeiro.

“It promises to be a weekend of great action and entertainment for all the family with racing for bikes and cars at day and by night.

“As promoter of both FIA WTCR and FIM EWC, we proposed to SIC to run both series over the same weekend.

“The circuit has the highest level of homologation for both two and four wheels and has a long experience of putting on world championships events, so we feel confident to deliver a unique experience to fans, teams, drivers and riders. We really look forward to it!”

Razlan Razali, CEO, Sepang International Circuit, said the organisation of the event had come about inb part due to the departure of Formula 1 from Malaysia.

“With the departure of F1 in Malaysia, we were tasked to look into other world-class events to include in our annual calendar,” said Razali. “Through fan voting and further feasibility study, FIM EWC and FIA WTCR were the top two selected events, both promoted by Eurosport Events.

“This special collaboration with Eurosport Events will make the race exclusive and one of a kind which will create history for Malaysia to host two world championships together in one weekend.

“Both races will take place until sunset and the chequered flag will be waived under the new SIC Circuit Lights. Tickets are now available for purchase through SIC’s website and we encourage all fans to come and witness these exciting world-class championships as they make their #RoadToMalaysia.”

The first WTCR wildcard driver has also been revealed as 20-year-old Malaysian Mitchell Cheah. The young driver has already had a full season of TCR experience under his belt, after taking part in the 2018 TCR Asia series with Liqui Moly Team Engstler, where he finished second overall.

“In emulating the success of MotoGP, Malaysian participation is key to the success of these events,” added Razali. “Therefore, we have been developing talent from our Malaysian Touring Car category in which we discovered Mitchell Cheah, who won the TCR South East Asia Championship last year.

“We will continue to develop him in the TCR Germany this year and get him prepared for a wildcard entry for the Sepang race in December.

“I am confident that these fantastic world championship events with our local driver and riders will be a strong attraction and will pull the ever-enthusiastic Malaysian motorsports fans and fans from all over world to Sepang Circuit and Malaysia.”