Eurosport Events, the promoter of the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), have outlined some changes that are set to be made to the competition ahead of the upcoming 2019 campaign. The changes have been made with the combination of cost-cutting and sporting variety in mind. It is also hoped that the alterations made to the series will result in a greater return in investment for manufacturers that take part.
The first major change is that each manufacturer will be limited to a maximum of four cars, spread across two teams. Each team involved in WTCR must compete with two cars in order to ensure a balance across the grid. Therefore, teams such as Munnich Motorsport and Comtoyou Racing (who ran three and four cars respectively in 2018) will have to downsize their operations in 2019.
Speaking to Autosport, Eurosport’s Francois Ribeiro explained the rationale behind this, saying: “We decided with the manufacturers, teams and FIA collectively that the right way next year is to say, ‘OK, we have eight brands represented. I said to them, ‘Look, I have the feeling if we don’t do something in the sporting regulations, we could end up with half of the grid with the same car brand which would create a problem for the others’.
“So I proposed with them to come up with a four-car maximum per brand, and only two-car teams. It will have to be two different licences and two different liveries. They can be side-by-side in the box and maybe there will be a common technical umbrella behind, but no one-car team, no three-car team, no five-car team.”
“That is I think the best level of protection we could set to make sure each brand who wants to support teams on the championship has a fair chance in terms of amount of cars on the grid versus competitors.”
The rule change creates a particular issue for Comtoyou Racing, who ran four Audi race cars last year. Leopard-Lukoil Team WRT are already set to run two cars from Audi in 2019, meaning that Comtoyou can only run two of their quartet again next year. As such, the team will have to either part ways with two of their drivers from 2018, or provide them with a programme that utilises cars from a different manufacturer. It is therefore quite likely that Comtoyou Racing will compete with two different marques in 2019.
The second big change to the sporting regulations is the fact that the points system has undergone an overhaul. In 2018, points could be won for finishing in the top ten, however, with the grid expected to reach a capacity of around 30 cars in 2019, the number of points-paying positions has been extended. In a similar fashion to the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), points will now be awarded to the top 15 drivers in each race, rather than the top 10.
Additionally, points will also be awarded during the two qualifying sessions as well as the three races per event. This is a change from the 2018 season, where points were not awarded in the first of the two qualifying sessions.
In conversation with TouringCarTimes, Ribeiro explained why this decision had also been made: “There was unanimous opinion from teams that it was already too difficult to get to the top ten, but next year it’ll be twice as hard, so the FIA was completely in line with the fact that we should give the points up to 15th, and getting to 15th next year will be tough – so I hope the World Motor Sport Council will go along with this,”