New WTCR Trophy launched for independent drivers

New WTCR Trophy launched for independent drivers

Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI
Tamas Tenke, Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA TCR

A new WTCR Trophy for independent drivers has been created for the 2020 FIA World Touring Car Cup season, with eligibility being restricted to those drivers who are racing without the financial support of a customer racing department.

The move by WTCR promoter Eurosport Events means that an independent category returns to World Touring Car competition for the first time since the WTCC Trophy which featured in the World Touring Car Championship between 2005 and 2017.

Many drivers in the FIA WTCR to-date have been factory drivers, supported by customer racing departments such as Hyundai Motorsport and Geely Group Motorsport (Lynk & Co).

However other competitors, such as Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel and Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon, have raced independently of any factory support.

The WTCR Trophy will be a commercial award and thus not backed by the FIA, with all administration carried out by Eurosport Events.

“While the WTCR is a series for teams not manufacturers, we recognise that several manufacturers provide important support to drivers and teams,” explained François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events.

“But there are drivers and teams on the grid that don’t receive this kind of backing. To give them a better chance of the limelight, in what is a very competitive environment, and to ensure their achievements are recognised, Eurosport Events has created the WTCR Trophy for independent racers.

“It’s a revival of the very successful WTCC Trophy that helped drivers like Yann Ehrlacher, Esteban Guerrieri and Norbert Michelisz ultimately compete in the WTCR with the help of manufacturers.”

As part of the WTCR Trophy, drivers involved will receive additional media and promotional opportunities, whilst also taking part in their own podium ceremonies.

Full-season WTCR entries were reopened earlier this month, and thus the eligibility of drivers has not yet been revealed for the new classification.

Drivers will be assessed by Eurosport Events to determine their eligibility. Previous WTCC or WTCR title winners will not be eligible for the new Trophy.