It has been announced that Auto GP will join the World Touring Car Championship as a partner series in 2011. The series, which had its first season in 2009, will replace the FIA Formula Two Championship as the main support for the WTCC.
Auto GP, which uses the Lola-Zytek cars formerly used by A1 Grand Prix, will partner the WTCC at six rounds next season, as well as having its own standalone race on the streets of Bucharest in Romania. As a partner of the WTCC, Auto GP will benefit from its races being broadcast live on Eurosport.
The Auto GP season will kick off on March 23-24 for a two-day official test session. The Italian-run series will then join the WTCC round at Monza in May, before supporting the races at Marrakech, Brno, Donington Park and Oschersleben in June and July. The Bucharest round will take place in August, with the season finale in support of the WTCC round at Valencia in September.
Former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean won the inaugural season of Auto GP in 2009.
Auto GP General Manager Enzo Coloni said: “After a great 2010 season that saw us grow to quickly become one of the most competitive feeder series, we clearly stated that our plan for 2011 was to step-up and be able to offer the best package around. We knew that professional partners and an improved TV coverage were key factors to this, and I'm happy that we achieved the best possible result with both of this aspects. Our discussions with WTCC were very fruitful from the beginning so we look forward to a very close collaboration. I guarantee that at Auto GP we will keep the same frame of mind during the season, aiming to build together a great show”.
Marcello Lotti, head of WTCC organiser KSO, added: “We are very pleased to welcome Auto GP as a partner series in six of our 2011 FIA WTCC events. Not only this agreement brings high level single-seater racing in the WTCC package once again, but also completes the attractive programme offered to the fans on site and on TV, that covers all the major forms of car racing: touring cars, one-make GT series and formula cars”.
Auto GP has also announced that it will use Formula 1’s points system for Saturday races during 2011. The system will be altered for Sunday races, with 18 points given to a victory rather than the 25 awarded on Saturdays, with points only covering to top eight finishers instead of the usual ten.
2011 Auto GP calendar:
13-15 May Monza (I)
3-5 June Marrakech (MA)
17-19 June Brno (CZ)
15-17 July Donington Park (GB)
29-31 July Oschersleben (D)
19-21 August Bucharest (RO)
2-4 September Valencia (E)