Series organisers of the FIA World Touring Car Championship have officially confirmed that the Twin Ring Motegi road course circuit will play host to this year’s Race of Japan round of the 2015 season in September.

The 4.8-kilometre circuit located north of Tokyo was built in 1997 by Honda and has played host to rounds of the MotoGP and IndyCar Series championships. The venue is unique in having a separate road course and an oval circuit which can be used simultaneously.

Motegi 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 over the last ten years.

“We genuinely think WTCC has found its home in Japan at Motegi. MotoGP tracks usually deliver high-quality touring car races and we are certain that the Motegi layout will offer close racing and significant overtaking opportunities,” WTCC General Manager François Ribeiro said.

“The WTCC was a success at Suzuka with attendances increasing each year. Given that popularity and the degree of expertise of Japanese motorsport fans, switching venues was a decision we took very carefully in conjunction with our partner Mobilityland. Mid-September should hopefully offer the most favourable weather conditions in terms of the local climate and we’ll be working very hard with all our Japanese WTCC stakeholders to promote the WTCC in the Tokyo area to ensure a good crowd.”

While Ribeiro is outwardly trumpeting the move to Motegi, the circuit has its detractors. Its combined circuit set-up necessitated a number of design compromises, one of which was the poor placement of spectator grandstands for the road course. Sections of the oval circuit are known to block the best vantage points to view the road course, including its best passing spots.

Another major concern will be circuit access, with the remote venue – located 145km north of Tokyo – having just two public access points via a two-lane road. The area is not well serviced by public transport and a planned superhighway into the area has not been completed either.

2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship Calendar:

Date Event Venue
08 March Race of Argentina it Termas de Rio Hondo, Rio Hondo
19 April Race of Morocco it Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech
03 May Race of Hungary it Hungaroring, Budapest
16 May Race of Germany it Nürburgring Nordschleife, Nürburg
07 June Race of Russia ru Moscow Raceway, Moscow
21 June Race of Slovakia it Slovakia Ring, Orechová Potôň
28 June Race of France it Paul Ricard, Marseilles
12 July Race of Portugal it Vila Real street circuit
13 September Race of Japan jp Twin Ring Motegi road course, Motegi
27 September Race of China cn Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai
01 November Race of Thailand it Buriram International Circuit
22 November Race of Qatar it Losail International Circuit, Lusail

Image via XPB Images

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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.