The FIA World Motor Sport Council has finalised the details of the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship calendar, with the published schedule featuring a number of significant omissions and new events.
The championship season will start at Argentina’s Termas de Río Hondo circuit in March and end in November with an all-new event at Qatar’s Losail circuit, which will play host to the series’ first ever night race. Despite a number of last-ditch negotiations, the traditional season finale at Macau has been dropped. The rounds will follow a traditional two ‘sprint race’ format.
Following the championship’s sole visit to the Americas at the start of the season, the field heads to the streets of Marrakech – home of this year’s carnage-filled season-opener – before a run of European races, kicking off in May with a round at the Hungaroring.
The series then has its ‘blue ribbon’ round, where it plays a supporting role to the iconic Nürburgring 24 Hour race at the famous Nordschleife circuit. Following it are rounds at Moscow Raceway, the Slovakia Ring and Paul Ricard, before the calendar’s second new venue, a round on the streets of the Portuguese town of Vila Real.
There’s a two-month break while the equipment is shipped to three rounds in the Far East, kicking off with another new round at Japan’s Motegi road course, which is followed by the more familiar surrounds of the Shanghai International Circuit. The former will be the third different Japanese venue to host a WTCC round, with TI Aida and Suzuka (in ‘East’ and full ‘Grand Prix’ configurations) both having had turns in previous years.
The beginning of November will see Thailand’s Buriram International Circuit stage its first FIA-sanctioned World Championship event, before the grid heads to the Middle East to Qatar’s Losail circuit, which will be floodlit for the championship’s inaugural night race.
Gone from the schedule are rounds at Spa-Francorchamps – which returned in 2014 after a nine-year absence – the popular high-speed Salzburgring (pictured top), the traditional Macau finale and the little-loved Goldenport circuit in Beijing, which was a last-minute stand-in for the cancelled United States round at Sonoma Raceway.
2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship Calendar:
|08 March||Race of Argentina||Termas de Rio Hondo, Rio Hondo|
|19 April||Race of Morocco||Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech|
|03 May||Race of Hungary||Hungaroring, Budapest|
|16 May||Race of Germany||Nürburgring Nordschleife, Nürburg|
|07 June||Race of Russia||Moscow Raceway, Moscow|
|21 June||Race of Slovakia||Slovakia Ring, Orechová Potôň|
|28 June||Race of France||Paul Ricard, Marseilles|
|12 July||Race of Portugal||Vila Real street circuit|
|13 September||Race of Japan||Twin Ring Motegi road course, Motegi|
|27 September||Race of China||Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai|
|01 November||Race of Thailand||Buriram International Circuit|
|22 November||Race of Qatar||Losail International Circuit, Lusail|
Image via XPB Images