As the now-defunct World Touring Car Championship has been replaced with the new World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) regulations, competitors and spectators will have to get used to a new event format as well as a change in the racing machinery.
In the previous 2017 WTCC season, a race weekend featured two practice sessions, one qualifying session, MAC3 (a manufacturer works team-only time trial event) and then two races on Sunday. For 2018, the WTCR takes a slightly different approach. The schedule will run as outlined by WTCR’s official statement:
Free Practice 1 (30 minutes); Free Practice 2 (30 minutes); Qualifying (30 minutes), Race 1 (top 10 classified finishers score points as follows: 27-20-17-14-12-10-8-6-4-2).
Qualifying Q1 (25 minutes), Qualifying Q2 (10 minutes), Qualifying Q3 (top-five shootout); Race 2 (top 10 [grid] positions reversed after Q2, top 10 classified finishers score points as follows: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1); Race 3 (grid as per combined order after Q3, top 10 classified finishers score points as follows: 30-23-19-16-13-10-7-4-2-1).
Evidently, the biggest change is the fact that there will now be three races per event rather than two, and that the first of those races shall take place on day one.
Another notable point of interest is the absence of MAC3. This was an event which would involve three representatives per manufacturer posting the fastest lap time that they could as a convoy. The timer would end once the final car crossed the line, so it was crucial for the lead driver not to hold their teammates up, or for the driver at the end of the convoy to lose touch with the cars in front.
The reward for performing well in MAC3 was points towards the constructor’s championship. However, fully fledged manufacturer works teams have been outlawed for 2018 (in order to promote competitiveness and reduce costs), meaning that there is therefore no constructors championship to worry about, and no purpose for MAC3 anymore.
Ultimately, the renewed format means that there will be more on-track action throughout the entire weekend. While this may prove difficult for teams who are under pressure to repair damage for example, more racing can only be a good thing for the spectacle of the WTCR – something which it arguably was lacking under its former WTCC-TC1 guise.