The FIA World Touring Car Cup in tis current format will end at the end of 2022, with the FIA set to carry out an in-depth assessment of the top level of international touring car competition.
It means that FIA WTCR will conclude at the end of its fifth full season, with a new format being used in future years.
Discovery Sports Events, which has promoted the WTCC since 2005, will continue to promote the new FIA eTouring Car World Cup.
The promoter is also working in collaboration with WSC Group, the global rights holder for TCR, to develop a new one-off event format which will showcase the TCR category at the highest level possible.
Retaining the TCR technical regulations, the intention is to develop a format which promotes international participation to a great extent than WTCR is able to go in its present guise.
François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, cited the challenges of moving to a more sustainable fuel as one of the reasons for WTCR’s demise in its current format.
“Last year, when we announced the extension of our long-term partnership with the FIA to promote the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup for the mid-term, we did so with the aim of making WTCR even more environmentally sustainable as part of our roadmap to deliver more sustainable motorsport,” said Ribeiro.
“The introduction of 100 per cent sustainable fuel was central to this. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that 100 per cent fossil-free fuel is not yet compatible with the production engines used in the TCR category because it puts too great a demand on mechanical components.
“With more and more corporate sponsors not wishing to be associated with a category that does not use fossil-free fuel, we have very real concerns that this will have a negative impact on WTCR grid numbers next season, which have already been compromised by the global health pandemic, the war in Ukraine and weakened economic outlook.
“A future one-off annual event will help to address these concerns.”
Although the agreement for Discovery Sports Events to continue as WTCR promoter was extended into the 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons, Ribeiro explains that it included an option which is now not being exercised.
“For the agreement to cover 2023, 2024 and 2025 was dependent on an option being exercised. We made the decision not to take up this option and work on developing a new format instead and one which will ensure the best possible future for the premier global competition for combustion engine touring car racing.
“We are really optimistic, with WSC, that the new format will be very relevant to the TCR category, while providing car manufacturers a platform to incentivise their customer teams and showcase their racing cars at their best. We aim provide more details once arrangements have been finalised.”
The FIA is in the process of re-evaluation global touring car racing, although FIA Touring Car Commission President Alan Gow says that it will likely stick with TCR technical regulations for now.
“There is a need to identify and assess what is the best and most sustainable future for top-flight touring car racing as part of the FIA portfolio,” said Gow.
“Our goal would be to maintain a world title for conventionally powered touring cars and ensure the competition is strong and prestigious.
“Throughout its history, world touring car racing used different formats, with titles decided either through a series or at a single event.
“Currently we are considering all the possibilities, with the priority of ensuring that any competition has a stable base on which it can thrive for its long term future.
“With TCR we have a proven set of technical regulations, with a variety of automotive brands represented and more than 1000 cars racing worldwide.
“Therefore, the intention would be to continue with this platform going forward.”