Saturday, 12 March 2011 05:00
The start of the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship is just one week away as the series' seventh season will get underway once again at Curitiba in Brazil.
This will be the sixth time the 3.7km circuit has hosted the WTCC with the championships first visit to Curitiba was in July 2006 when a crowd of 34,000 attended the races that were won by Jordi Gene (SEAT Leon) and Andy Priaulx (BMW 320si).
From 2007 the Brazilian event was moved to March and given the honour of opening the season and BMW drivers Jorg Muller and local boy Augusto Farfus shared victories, and the attendance was even larger with 45,000 spectators.
In the latest years (2008, 2009 and 2010) Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini dominated the field, winning Race 1 and Race 2 respectively for three consecutive times with five of those six victories were for SEAT, while Muller's won for Chevrolet in 2010.
Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris today (8 March), the following decisions were taken:
The rules applicable to cars fitted with a 1.6L turbo engine competing both in WRC and in WTCC have been harmonised, for cost reasons. The compulsory depositing of the engine with the FIA must be done by 1 May 2011.
The Marrakech round of the 2011 FIA WTCC initially scheduled on June 5th was withdrawn from the calendar at the request of the FIA Championship promoter as the local promoter was unable to commit to an agreement for the organisation of the event.
The global engine opens a new era
Touring car racing and rallies are now significantly closer thanks to the adoption of the Global Engine.
After becoming the common denominator between the FIA World Touring Car and World Rally championships, the new 1.6 litre turbocharged power plant is set to be adopted in national and regional series as well.
The new unit for the WTCC cars supplies about 320bhp, with a significant increase of 30bhp compared to the 2.0 litre normally aspirated and turbo diesel engines.
However, more than power itself, the new engine's peculiarity will be reliability as in 2011 competitors will be only allowed one engine change during the season and after the ninth event, further changes will result in grid penalties and from the 2012 season all engine changes will be penalised.
Change of system for the reverse grid
The starting grid for the second race of each championship event is no longer based on the provisional results of the first race, but on the final results of Saturday's Q1 qualifying.
The number of the reversed positions was also increased from eight to ten, matching the number of cars that are allowed to proceed from Q1 to Q2.
The new system is set to prevent drivers from voluntarily losing positions during the first race with the aim to win pole position for the second.
Three circuits host WTCC for the first time
The seventh event of the season on July 17th, will take place at Donington Park that becomes the third circuit to host the WTCC Race of the UK, after Silverstone in 2005 and Brands Hatch from 2006 to 2010.
The tenth race meeting will be held on October 24th at Suzuka where the WTCC Race of Japan moves to Suzuka's East Circuit after being held at Okayama from 2008 to 2010.
On November 6th the World Championship will pay its first visit to Mainland China, as the Guangdong International Circuit will be home to the WTCC Race of China, eleventh and last but one event of the season before the traditional finale on the streets of Macau.
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