WTCC Race of China WTCC Race of China WTCC Race of China

The penultimate round of the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship season takes place this weekend, with the series making its second visit to the Shanghai International Circuit.

While the battle for outright championship honours is now over, there’s still plenty to focus on ahead of Sunday’s two races. Let’s take a look at our event preview…


The Circuit

2013 WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE OF CHINAShanghai International Circuit (WTCC layout)
Date: 1-3 November 2013
Venue: Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China
Lap Length: 4.603km
Race Lap Record: 1:55.233, Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) – 2012
Event Schedule: Open Test Session Fri 12:25-12:55
  Free Practice Session 1 Sat 08:00-08:30
  Free Practice Session 2 Sat 11:10-11:40
Qualifying Session 1 Sat 14:10-14:30
Qualifying Session 2 Sat 14:35-14:45
Sunday Warm-Up Sun 08:50-09:05
Race 1 (13 laps, 60km) Sun 15:35-16:05
Race 2 (13 laps, 60km) Sun 16:35-17:05
Past Winners: Alain Menu (RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) 2012 (Race 1)
Rob Huff (RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) 2012 (Race 2)
Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) 2011 (Race 1)*
Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) 2011 (Race 2)*

* Denotes event held at Tianma Circuit, Shanghai

WTCC Race of China

To have the World Touring Car Championship expand its reach into China was a long-term goal of series promoter Marcello Lotti, a feat he proudly ticked off in 2011 when the field made its first appearance there in 2011 at the Tianma Circuit in Shanghai.

On what was effectively little more than an oversized karting circuit, the first event – while well-attended didn’t produce much in the way of great racing, and so the series found a new home at the Shanghai International Circuit, albeit racing on the shortened ‘touring car’ layout.

Being another Hermann Tilke concept, the track features his trademark use of wide expanses, ultra-modern facilities, and the usual mix of tight corners, the occasional quick directional changes and a long straight fit for overtaking.

Built on what is now a drained swamp, the entire circuit is actually built on some 40,000 polystyrene piles as its foundation.

While the circuit is not renowned for providing fans with edge-of-their-seat Grand Prix races, as a touring car venue its layout produces plenty of wheel-to-wheel racing, certainly if last year’s two races were anything to go by.

The track’s 1.3-kilometre back straight presents a fierce test for engine and turbo power, not to mention good braking as the drivers try an overtaking move on each other.

One of the circuit’s trickiest sections is its first corner complex where the track doubles back on itself in an ever-tightening right-hander that feeds into a sudden double-apex left-hander. Opening-lap contact is not uncommon through this corner as cars jostle for position.


The Players

A bumper 31-car field – the largest of the season to-date until the curtain-closing round in Macau – will tackle the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend.

A fifth manufacturer will enter the field, with Volvo Polestar Racing making a one-off return to the championship with its delightful C30 WTCC racer, which will be piloted by this year’s newly-crowned Scandinavian Touring Car Champion, Thed Björk.

He and his compatriot Rickard Rydell will be proudly flying the Swedish flag this weekend. The former works SEAT driver is also having a one-off outing behind the wheel of NIKA Racing’s Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, marking his first WTCC appearance since the 2012 season-opener at Monza.

The only other changes are Yukinori Taniguchi’s switch from Weichers-Sport (due to full-time driver Fredy Barth’s return after missing the previous round at Suzuka) to Campos Racing.

Here’s this weekend’s provisional entry list:

No. Driver Entrant Car
1. Robert Huff GBR Münnich Motorsport SEAT SEAT León WTCC 1.6T
3. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Castrol Honda WTCC Team Honda Honda Civic WTCC
5. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport Honda Honda Civic WTCC
6. Franz Engstler* DEU Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW BMW 320 TC
7. Charles Ka-Ki Ng* HKG Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW BMW 320 TC
8. Mikhail Koslovskiy RUS LADA Sport Lukoil LADA LADA Granta
9. Alex MacDowall* GBR Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
10. James Thompson GBR LADA Sport Lukoil LADA LADA Granta
12. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
14. James Nash* GBR Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
15. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW BMW 320 TC
18. Tiago Monteiro POR Castrol Honda WTCC Team Honda Honda Civic WTCC
19. Fernando Monje* ESP Campos Racing SEAT SEAT León WTCC 1.6T
20. Hugo Valente* FRA Campos Racing SEAT SEAT León WTCC 1.6T
22. Tom Boardman* GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT SEAT León WTCC 1.6T
23. Tom Chilton GBR RML Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
25. Mehdi Bennani* MOR Proteam Racing BMW BMW 320 TC
26. Stefano D’Aste* ITA PB Racing BMW BMW 320 TC
33. Yukinori Taniguchi*^ JPN Campos Racing SEAT SEAT León WTCC 1.6T
37. René Münnich* DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT SEAT León WTCC 1.6T
38. Marc Basseng DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT SEAT León WTCC 1.6T
38. Thed Björk˚ SWE Volvo Polestar Racing Volvo Volvo C30 1.6T ‘Drive’
55. Darryl O’Young* HKG ROAL Motorsport BMW BMW 320 TC
60. Filipe de Souza*^ MCU China Dragon Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze LT
61. Ng Kin Veng*^ MCU China Dragon Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze LT
66. Jerónimo Badaraco*^ MCU Son Veng Racing Team Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze LT
69. Rickard Rydell SWE NIKA Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
73. Fredy Barth* SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW BMW 320 TC
74. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
77. Mak Ka Lok*^ MCU RPM Racing BMW BMW 320si
88. Henry Ho Wai Kun*^ MCU Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW BMW 320si

* Denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor.
^ Denotes EuroSport Asia Trophy competitor
˚  Denotes ineligible to score championship points
Entry list is subject to final FIA confirmation.


Facts, Stats & Predictions

With Yvan Muller having wrapped up a fourth WTCC crown last time out at Suzuka, focus will now shift to who can claim runner-up honours this weekend.

Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini currently sits a comfortable 28 points clear of Muller’s teammate Tom Chilton, who is just two points ahead of James Nash in the Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet.

One challenge Tarquini will face is that – courtesy of the Civic WTCC’s super pace over the previous two rounds – he, teammate Tiago Monteiro and the Zengõ Motorsport Honda of Norbert Michelisz will be running at the maximum compensation weight this weekend.

The Independent Trophy Championship is unlikely to be wrapped up this weekend, although series leader Nash will be looking to extend his 32-point lead over teammate Alex MacDowall, while Mehdi Bennani is still within mathematical contention of stealing the title for himself.

This again promises to be a fascinating weekend of touring car action. As always, make sure you visit RichardsF1.com for all of the latest news and analysis from Shanghai!

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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