Sporting format changes approved by FIA ahead of 2021 WTCR

Sporting format changes for the 2021 FIA World Touring Car Cup were confirmed at an online meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council last night, including provision for a new award for female drivers.

The planned eight event 2021 calendar was formally ratified by the WMSC, with the series set to race at five events in Europe and three events in Asia.

The format of each weekend was also confirmed, with next year set to feature two practice sessions of 45 minute and 30 minute duration respectively, a single qualifying session, and two races.

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Qualifying will be split into Q1, Q2 and Q3 with the exception of the race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where a single session will be staged.

As in 2020, points will be awarded to the fastest five drivers at the end of Q1 and Q3 respectively, on the scale of 5-4-3-2-1. In Germany, points will be awarded to the fastest five drivers on the scale of 10-8-6-4-2.

As is the norm in WTCR qualifying, events taking place on street circuits (Vila Real and Macau) will feature an additional ten minutes in Q1 and an additional five minutes in Q2.

It was also confirmed at the online meeting that a new award will be handed out to women racers in WTCR through the creation of the FIA WTCR Female Driver title.

The series has yet to welcome a female racer, either full-time or in a wildcard appearance, although the new award is subject to a minimum requirement of three full-season entries.

In TCR racing below WTCR, female racers such as Jessica Bäckman, Michelle Halder and Rio Shimono have al sampled success in recent years in TCR Europe, TCR Germany and TCR Japan.

The WTCR Rookie driver title has also been renamed to the WTCR Junior Driver title for next season.

The award, which was won by Gilles Magnus in 2020, is open to drivers who are under 24 years old at the start of the year and who have not taken part in any FIA WTCR or FIA WTCC events prior to 2019.

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