What to expect of the 2017 WTCC season?
The 2017 FIA World Touring Cars Championship season starts next weekend and the first impression is that we can’t expect fireworks of the declining series.
WTCC is trying to find its identity
The FIA WTCC is desperately trying to become more interesting and from year to year tries to turn bigger attention making a numerous changes. Despite all the efforts, it seems like the WTCC going backward and the assumption is that this trend will continue in 2017.
What to expect from the series which has only two manufacturer entries? Citroen, who dominated WTCC in the last three years, left the competition, just as Lada which finally made some steps forward in the previous campaign. Honda and Volvo are the only manufacturers with factory teams, while Citroen, Lada, and Chevrolet are represented by independent entries.
The number of rounds is reduced to 10 after the races in France, Russia and Slovakia were dropped from the calendar and replaced with the races in Italy and Macau. For the first time, the Race of China will be held at the new venue.
2017 WTCC calendar
|April 9||Afriquia Race of Morocco||Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, Marrakechn|
|April 30||Oscaro Race of Italy||Autodromo Nazionale Monza|
|May 14||Race of Hungary||Hungaroring|
|May 27||Race of Germany||Nurburgring Nordschleife|
|June 25||Race of Portugal||Circuito Interbacional de Vila Real|
|July 16||Race of Argentina||Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo|
|October 15||Race of China||Ningbo International Circuit|
|October 29||Race of Japan||Twin Ring Motegi|
|November 19||Guia Race of Macau||Guia Circuit|
|December 1||Race of Qatar||Losail International Circuit|
No new cars, very few new faces
Another thing to worry about is that there are no star drivers in the WTCC. Yes, there are many quality and experienced drivers but there are no stars. Yvan Muller, the most successful driver in the WTCC history, ended his career. Three-time champion Jose Maria Lopez also left the series while the long servant, Italian veteran Gabriele Tarquini, was unable to find a drive. However, the battle for the title is likely to be uncertain but the quality of the series is quite doubtful, mainly because of the lack of proper competitiveness.
Sadly, there won’t be many new faces, teams, nor cars. Some drivers for the first time will drive full WTCC season for the first time but many of them already have the experience in this championship. Some teams decided to switch to another manufacturer, some expanded their operations but that certainly won’t contribute to greater excitement.
Most important rules changes are that the length of race meetings will be reduced from three to two days and more points will be awarded to the winners of MAC3 team time trials. The points scoring structure will be revised with more points awarded in the main race which will be two laps longer than the opening race. Another change is the introduction of ’joker laps’ similar to the ones in rallycross, where it is possible.
2017 WTCC entry list
|3||Tom Chilton||Citroen C-Elysee WTCC||Sebastien Loeb Racing|
|5||Norbert Michelisz||Honda Civic WTCC||Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team|
|8||Aurelien Panis||Honda Civic WTCC||Zengo Motorsport|
|9||Tom Coronel||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||ROAL Motorsport|
|12||Robert Huff||Citroen C-Elysee WTCC||Munnich Motorsport|
|18||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Civic WTCC||Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team|
|25||Mehdi Bennani||Citroen C-Elysee WTCC||Sebastien Loeb Racing|
|27||John Filippi||Citroen C-Elysee WTCC||Sebastien Loeb Racing|
|34||Ryo Michigami||Honda Civic WTCC||Honda Racing Team JAS|
|61||Nestor Girolami||Volvo S60 Polestar TC1||Polestar Cyan Racing|
|62||Thed Bjork||Volvo S60 Polestar TC1||Polestar Cyan Racing|
|63||Nick Catsburg||Volvo S60 Polestar TC1||Polestar Cyan Racing|
|68||Yann Ehrlacher||Lada Vesta WTCC||RC Motorsport|
|86||Esteban Guerrieri||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||Campos Racing|
|99||Daniel Nagy||Honda Civic WTCC||Zengo Motorsport|
|TBA||TBA||Lada Vesta WTCC||RC Motorsport|