WSC and Creventic, the operators of the TCR concept and the 24 Hour Series respectively, have joined forces to create a new race set to take place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps at the end of the 2019 touring car season.
Known as the TCR Spa 500, the event will be open to TCR cars only, and take place over a distance of 500 laps around the historic Belgian circuit. As such, the race is likely to last for more than 20 hours, something which is largely unprecedented in the modern touring car racing scene.
Spa has a history of hosting highly-prestigious touring car endurance events. Indeed, the famous Spa 24 Hour race was primarily a touring car event during the 1990’s Super Touring era, as well as in the 1980’s and 1970’s too. However, the race later transitioned into an event for GT cars after the revival of sportscar racing in the late nineties.
The last time the circuit hosted such an event for touring cars was back in 2000, when Kurt Mollekens, Didier Defourny and Frederic Bouvy won in a Peugeot 306 GTi. Now, with the inception of the TCR Spa 500, WSC and Creventic hope to reignite a fantastic tradition which has been lost over the years.
Interestingly, the race has been created due to demand from TCR manufacturers for a stand-out flagship event to further aid their brand promotion.
The initial plan is for there to be three separate classes within the race, based upon driver ranking, much like what fans will be used to in respective GT endurance races (Pro, Pro-Am and Am). The Pro class will feature driver line-ups of full-time professionals, while the Am class will feature grassroots and gentleman drivers. Pro-Am will feature cars being driven by a mixture of both types of driver.
Organisers are working very closely with all TCR brands on forming a significantly large entry list for the race, which they hope will feature a minimum of 40 cars by the time the race comes around on 4-6 October 2019.
With brand promotion being at the forefront of the race’s inception, all cars set to take part in the race will form a parade into the Malmedy city centre, where fans can get close to their favourite cars and drivers. Alongside a range of support races, there will also be a parade for the TCR cars’ road-going counterparts around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit itself.
As a result of its promotion as a flagship event, the presentation of the TCR Spa 500 was always going to be important. WSC and Creventic hope to have found the perfect media combination, as the race will be shown on live TV as well as on a free online streaming service. In addition, commentary will also be provided by the well-renowned teams at Radio Le Mans and IMSA Radio. Further details regarding viewing options will be supplied closer to the event.
WSC Chairman, Marcello Lotti, said: “The growth of the category has been the success story in international motorsport for the past years. The idea of an international endurance race, exclusively reserved for TCR cars, is the icing on the cake.”
On behalf of Creventic, Gerrie Willems added: “We are proud that we can revive the long heritage of Touring Car endurance racing at Spa-Francorchamps.”