WTCR sporting rules tweaks confirmed for 2020

WTCR sporting rules tweaks confirmed for 2020

Andy Priaulx
Photo: Frederic Le Floch / DPPI

Changes to the sporting regulations for the FIA World Touring Car Cup have been confirmed by the FIA for the 2020 season, which will see the compensation weight calculations based only on qualifying lap times.

The change was prompted by teams managing the lap time pace of their drivers in the races, prompting tactical driving rather than flat-out attack, in order to prevent a too-fast race lap time inhibiting a team or driver at the next event.

Instead, the compensation weights will now be calculated based only on the qualifying lap times of each model of car.

The calculations will also be made without the effect of ballast being taken into account. Instead, a correction to the lap times will be applied based on the ballast carried in previous events.

A statement issued by Eurosport Events explained that “the changes to the Sporting Regulations have been made to discourage teams – in tandem with customer racing brand engineers – from instructing drivers to effectively set slower race lap times to help limit the amount of additional weight added to their cars for the subsequent race weekend.”

Commenting on the changes, Head of Eurosport Events François Ribeiro explained that the change is intended to improve the show.

“When you have a successful product like we do with WTCR, it’s important to avoid making wholesale changes, only adjustments to further improve the show,” said Ribeiro.

“Including qualifying lap times only in the compensation weight calculations is the best possible decision for WTCR and the fans watching the racing.

“For too long we’ve seen engineers on the pit wall focusing on lap-time management and scratching their heads over their live radio communication with drivers.

“I am thankful to the FIA for sharing this opinion.”

In addition, a new rookie classification for drivers aged under 23 on the 1 January 2020 will be introduced. This is for drivers who have participated in no more than three WTCR events.

The rookie challenge is being created to showcase the emerging young talent making its way into WTCR. In 2019 drivers under the age of 23 competing in the series have been Attila Tassi, Luca Engstler, Mikel Azcona, Ritomo Miyata and Yann Ehrlacher.

During 2019, the average age of the field was 34 years and 11 months.

“Right from the start of WTCR, one of our continued aims has been to attract young guns to take on established professionals, which will be the case well into the future,” said Ribeiro.

“There’s an increasing number of young talents coming through the ranks in touring car racing and it’s important WTCR is accessible for the most talented of them.”

Ribeiro also explained that whilst a race in Japan had been dropped in favour of a new event at the Inje Speedium in South Korea, an agreement remained in place between the promoter and Mobilityland for another series.

Eurosport Events has already been named as the promoter of the new-for-2020 all-electric E-TCR series, which has yet to reveal its initial calendar.

“We welcome South Korea and Inje Speedium to the WTCR family,” said Ribeiro. “Once again, we have included four events in Asia to acknowledge the region’s considerable importance to the WTCR.

“While the 2020 calendar will not include an event at Suzuka, our long-term partnership with Mobilityland, the local promoter in Japan, remains firmly in place to bring another series to Suzuka in the future.”