Portugal will be back on next year’s FIA World Touring Car Championship calendar at an all-new venue. Organisers have announced a round at the Circuito Internacional de Vila Real, a street circuit located 100km east of the city of Porto, the last venue in the country to host the WTCC grid in 2013 (pictured).
The round will take place on the weekend of July 11-12 at the tail end of the European leg of the 2015 calendar.
Located in Portugal inland wine-growing region, Vila Real’s first car race dates as far back as 1931 on a twisting 6.9-kilometre long street circuit. The layout remained unchanged for decades, and its heyday came in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was a regular host to sports car races fielding the likes of Stirling Moss, David Piper and John Miles – many who raced on it declared it to be one of the best street circuits in the world.
“(To) internationalize the Vila Real Circuit was one of the goals of the city council and FPAK, for years to come. The opportunity came and we were able to grab it, thanks to the efforts of all stakeholders,” Vila Real’s mayor, Rui Santos, is quoted as saying in an official press release.
The full calendar for the 2015 World Touring Car Championship season is still to be finalised – a final publication is expected this week – although the latest rumours suggest a substantial shake-up in the order of a number of events.
Argentina’s Termas di Río Hondo is expected to host the season-opener in early March, while it is understood that last-minute negotiations have secured a renewed deal to see the field end its season on the streets of Macau. A special round supporting the Nürburgring 24 Hours will take place at the iconic Nordschleife circuit in May.
Image via XPB Images