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Featured Talking Point: Is the WTCC in Big Trouble?

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    WTCC Lada Withdraw at Seasons End.jpg
    The FIA World Touring Car Championship could be heading into a crisis position shortly with the news that the factory LADA squad will be withdrawing from the championship at the end of the current season, joining the Citroen team in a mass exodus of factory backed manufacturers from the pinnacle touring car championship in the world.

    With the shock Lada withdrawal yet to be officially confirmed but widely acknowledged throughout the paddock, the WTCC is set to lose another key player in a series that finds itself lacking interest from new teams and manufacturers despite the impressive growth of its main rival in touring car circles, the TCR International Series. With the soon to depart LADA squad joining reigning champions Citroen at seasons end, only a compact Honda and Volvo teams remain in an official manufacturer capacity heading into the off season. Even though Honda are set to remain in 2017, the team have recently downsized their operation from running three full factory cars and two semi factory private vehicles under the Honda Hungary banner to just cars for former champion Rob Huff, F1 refugee Tiago Montiero and Hungarian hero Norbert Michelisz, proving that even a brand steeped in rich motor racing history are finding it hard to justify the benefits of running in a series once regarded as the ultimate racing championship for closed cockpit production related touring car machines.

    Recent paddock rumour suggests the FIA are looking to introduce Class One regulations from 2018 in a mirror to the rules run for the German DTM Championship and the Japanese Super GT Series, however the move smacks as a desperate attempt by the governing body to rekindle an enthusiasm for a championship that appears to have been on a downward spiral since its heyday under the S2000 regulations back in the mid 2000's. With many top drivers such as Gabrielle Tarquini and Yvan Muller looking for work next season, and only a smattering of works cars taking to the grid amongst a field of privateer cars running dated technology and lagging behind the development pace set by it's better funded factory rivals, the future does indeed look bleak for the World Touring Car Championship.

    Citroen WTCC Withdrawl.jpg
    In a planned move back into the World Rally Championship next season, Citroen, who have dominated the World Touring Car scene since their arrival in 2014, are also leaving as a works entry at the end of the current season. Having broken records for the amount of success found instantly by the French squad in touring car racing, it is expected that several ex-works vehicles will find their way into the hands of well healed private entrants next year, helping to prop up a grid that has regularly found itself dipping well below 20 entrants in recent times.

    TCR Internation Seat.jpg

    Conversely, Marcello Lotti, the man behind the World Touring Car Championship for many years during the boom period of the series, is having a far better time with his newly formed TCR regulation touring car championship. Initially forming the TCR International Series, a low cost alternative to the WTCC where teams run privately entered cars across a number of brands and models, TCR has been in the ascendancy of late and many national level championships have taken to adopting the formula, much like the acknowledged 'golden age' of Super Touring racing of the early to late 1990's. TCR has found itself attracting a lot of attention from manufacturers of late, with many brands such as Volkswagen, Audi and SEAT developing their own customer vehicles in house to sell in large quantities to teams across the world to run in the various national and International championships running under the TCR regulation banner.

    Once known as the showcase event in the WTCC calendar, the Macau Grand Prix has now been dropped from the WTCC schedule and was quickly snapped up by the TCR International Series for its final race of the season. Testament to the current popularity of a regulation set in only its second season, the 2016 Macau Grand Prix running under TCR regulations is set to field a capacity 36 car entry list in 2016. Featuring teams and drivers from the International and Asian TCR championships, the season ending race around the arduous street track is in stark contrast to the falling fortunes of its WTCC cousin that attracted only 19 entrants at the last event in China, nine of which ran privateer machines outside of the 'big four' manufacturers in the form of Citroen, Honda, LADA and Volvo.

    What comes down must get back up again, and it would be a fool who underestimates the power of the FIA to pull off a major coup when all looks lost to the outside world. However with recent developments and the growth of TCR, 2016 could well spell the end of the WTCC as a major international touring car force for the years to come.

    In life nothing lasts forever, and sadly the same is all too true for motorsport. Is this the beginning of the end? Only time will tell....

    RaceDepartment have all your motorsport needs covered, just head on over to the Motorsport section of our forum and join in the discussion with racing fans from around the world. Have something you want to discuss? Want to share interesting news and stories? Pop over to the sub forum and make a post!

    Are the best days of the WTCC behind it now? Will TCR take over the world? Can you see the WTCC recovering from this latest setback? Let us know in the comments section below!
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
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  2. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Yvan Muller doesn't look for work, he will retire from WTCC (and full time racing).

    However, the fact that TCR is doing their last Macau year now, and that there are talks about a FIA World Touring Cup (together with the FIA GT and FIA F3) at Macau from 2017 might point to an end of WTCC indeed.

    No matter what, WTCC needs to have a set of regulations that are used elsewhere as well, if not there will be a lack of private drivers/teams and lack of cars around.
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  3. Tobias Röhner

    Tobias Röhner
    Germany's greatest Indycar Fan. Premium

    I think it's been in trouble ever since factory teams dominated as hard as they did. WTCC had it's glory days 2005-2008. From then, it's been downhill unfortunately :(
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  4. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    Tarquini to the BTCC :D :cool:

    You heard it here first :D
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  5. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    I went to the old one back at Donington Park in '93 or '94. Man, that was epic.

    That is why touring cars need standard regs across the different series. Back then we had cars from the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and even South Africa and Japan!! I know one has a tendency to reminisce somewhat with the passage of time, but man those were the days!
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  6. Jimlaad43

    Nice apex, I'll take it! Staff Premium

    NGTC has been thriving since 2012, and really should be adopted everywhere. TCR hasn't been that exciting of a regulation set, so no wonder the WTCC is dying a death.
  7. Emerson Meyer

    Emerson Meyer
    Keep Fighting Premium

    Submarine races are more exciting than WTCC.
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  8. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    For me the NGTC is both good and bad. They look ok on TV, and the variety of cars in the BTCC is hard to argue against. However trackside they are simply awful. They sound like :poop: and just don't look right as a touring car. It's almost like they move on track like a poorly setup, and too heavy, GT3 type car.

    Also personally I think a turbo has no place on a touring car, give me a 2 litre normally aspirated high revving engine any day of the week! :D Sadly that's the way all touring cars are heading, so I'll have to let that one go I suppose.. :)
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  9. MoerasGrizzly


    Although I do love the TC1 cars as a car, it's quite obvious that the changes to the rules (from S2000 to the turbos in 2011 to what they have now) have turned the TC1 cars from "True" touring cars to GT cars with front wheel drive. Quite fast, yes, but also extremely expensive, which stilted the races.

    It's quite telling that the BTCC moved away from the FIA regulations for them being too expensive. It's quite telling that that the TCR is so popular. FIA should just adopt the NGTC or the TCR ruleset, and move on from that.

    It's hard to argue against 80s era tourers ;). I think Turbos are something everything is going to do, eventually, just because they are so good nowadays. It would be ineffecient not to.


    To adress the point made in the title: No, the WTCC is not in "Big trouble". It has been in a slow decline.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
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  10. Hannu Karesola

    Hannu Karesola
    Roaring Pipes Maniacs Premium

    Since the diesels were intorduced this series has slowly died in my eyes. After that it was always the manufacturer who put most money in was the winner.

    Lately only Tom Coronel has been the reason to watch this series because of his personality and full throttle attitude. Still no one never gave him a works seat.
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  11. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    TCR isn't the WTCC ruleset.
    However, TCR are getting bigger now. You've got VW, Seat, Opel, Honda, Alfa, Subaru, Peugeot, Renault, Citroën racing in different series this year (yes, there are privately built cars there, but that's kinda what you'd need in a touring car series)
    Audi is coming in with a car for 2017, Peugeot is selling their car for 98000 EUR (and they are coming with an upgrade for 2018, but still aims to be the cheapest car).
    Kia is coming in as well.
    I actually believe that the TCR regulations are the way to go forward. Not that NGTC should be abandoned, as it works good in the UK, but I really think TCR is the way to go.
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  12. There was a rumor in a Japanese magazine saying WTCC could use Class 1 (4cyl DTM/GT500) rules but it was just a rumor as they are more expensive than current cars
  13. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    touringcartimes have also reported on this, but I kinda "fear" that the FIA World Cup might be an end of WTCC.
  14. All they really need is a Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Renault Laguna, Vauxhall Vectra, Nissan Primera, Volvo s40, Audi a4 b5 and a Peugeot 406.
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  15. Azure Flare

    Azure Flare
    World's fastest mobile chicane Premium

    I think TC1 going the way of GT1. I think that TCR will step up and take over in the same way that GT3 has essentially taken over from GT1.
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  16. Nox

    Staff Premium

    WTCC is and has been the worst mainstream touring car series in the world for many a year now. Even the races on the Nords didn't give us exciting racing. They should adopt something along TCR regs, and maybe visit some more smaller twistier tracks that suit that class of vehicle a little better. Then, I might just start watching again. And to think they thought people would pay 100 euros for "WTCC Premium TV" coverage.
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  17. The whole diesel aspect was so poorly handled by SRO and the FIA. SEAT had such a massive advantage, yet all the balancing they did was entirely the wrong direction. They kept adding weight to the car, kept adding weight to an already heavy car. The car was a rocket down the straights but was super slow in the corners. What they should have done was lighten the car as much as they could, then cut the boost. Of course they never did this, and the car pretty much destroyed the field.
  18. fortyfivekev


    Touring cars is just one of those types of racing that doesn't travel well. Fans want to see drivers they know in cars they recognise. I just don't think there is a market there and there is nothing obvious they can do to change that.
  19. Yep. The amount of body roll and pitch change when they brake etc looks ridiculous to me. They are far too heavy in my eyes too, 1300kg is a lot for a touring car. NGTC has to be applauded in some respects as they have a 30+ grid, however the cars themselves I dont like much at all.

    I do hope TCR takes off and gains traction, I think its a much better ruleset than NGTC, however Alan Gow is stubborn and he reluctantly adopts other series regs for the BTCC.
  20. WTCC interest is proportional to the size of the cars. It was great when it started but as the cars got smaller and smaller it just seemed to be a 2nd class or an entry class event. The rules allowed it to die.