Malaysian night race amongst 2019 WTCR calendar changes

by James Bowers

As part of the recent FIA meeting in St. Petersburg, the calendar for the upcoming World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season has been revealed.

A few changes have been made to the circuit roster for 2019, particularly in the latter half of the season. The famous Macau Grand Prix round on the Guia street circuit will no longer be the championship finale. Instead, that honour has been awarded to the Malaysian circuit, Sepang, which makes its debut in the top tier of touring car racing.

Intriguingly, the WTCR will be held under floodlights for one of the three races during the new Malaysian event, confirming that the series will stage its first night race.

Another adjustment to the calendar is the fact that the number of races held in China will drop from two to one. The round held at Ningbo circuit last year remains on the calendar, however the street race at Wuhan has been dropped. The reasoning behind this is that the proposed event date would create a logistical clash with the Military World Games, which is also set to be hosted by Wuhan in 2019.

The rest of the calendar will be rather familiar to those who watched the 2018 WTCR campaign. Once again, the series will kick-off at the Moroccan street circuit in Marrakech, before heading to the Hungaroring to begin the European-based leg of the season.

Next up, the Slovakiaring – which was a last-minute replacement for the Argentinean round in 2018 – has retained it’s slot on the calendar. It’ll be a little earlier in the year this time around though, bridging the gap between events at the Hungaroring and the fourth round of the season at Zandvoort.

The European stint will be concluded by a return to the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife and then the Vila Real street circuit in Portugal, where Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani famously caused one of the biggest touring car crashes in recent history last year.

A ten-week Summer break follows that, with the WTCR heading to Asia when the series recommences in September. There are four Asian rounds on the 2019 calendar, with Ningbo Circuit in China being followed by the Japanese round at Suzuka. The Macau Grand Prix race returns again in early November, before the World Cup reaches its conclusion at Sepang in Malaysia.

The full race calendar can be viewed below:

1-3Circuit Moulay el-Hassen, Morocco5-7 April
4-6Hungaroring, Hungary26-28 April
7-9Slovakiaring, Slovakia10-12 May
10-12Circuit Park Zandvoort, Netherlands17-19 May
13-15Nurburgring Nordschleife, Germany20-22 June
16-18Vila Real, Portugal5-7 July
19-21Ningbo International Speedpark, China13-15 September
22-24Suzuka, Japan25-27 October
25-27Circuito da Guia, Macau15-17 November
28-30Sepang International Circuit, MalaysiaTBC December

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