The FIA World Touring Car Championship will not visit the United States as planned in mid-September this year after the planned event at California’s Sonoma Raceway was cancelled.
A replacement event has been scheduled at Beijing’s Goldenport Motor Park on October 4-5, one week before the series’ scheduled visit to the Shanghai International Circuit.
Series organisers have cited ‘unresolvable logistical issues’ for the Sonoma event’s scrapping: the teams’ freight will not make it to China in time for the final Far East rounds if the American race takes place on its scheduled date.
The Sonoma dates can’t be moved earlier either, as it would mean the equipment wouldn’t make it on time from the preceding round at Argentina’s Termas de Río Hondo circuit.
The American round was to have been the third of the WTCC’s three-year deal to race at Sonoma Raceway, but with manufacturer outfits Citroën and LADA having no commercial presence in the country, this year’s event was believed to have been the series’ last – for the time being…
Nonetheless, the 2014 World Touring Car Championship season will remain at twelve rounds, with an additional event in China slotted in after being rubber-stamped by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
“The Chinese Touring Car Championship promoter, our partner in China, has quickly reacted to change its CTCC schedule and put together an alternative event at Beijing, the week before Shanghai. This will not only allow WTCC to race in the two main provinces of China, and keep raising WTCC profile in the most important car market in the world, but will also simplify logistics and save budget for the teams,” WTCC series promoter François Ribeiro said in a media release.
The event will take place at Goldenport Motor Park, a 2.4-kilometre anticlockwise circuit located 10 kilometres north of China’s capital. Designed by Australia’s Michael McDonoughm the ultra-smooth circuit was opened in late 2001 and has since hosted the FIA GT1 Championship as well as serving as a regular venue for the Chinese Touring Car Championship.
Images via FIA WTCC Media