WTCC 2015 season preview
The 2015 World Touring Car Championship season wil be 12th season of FIA WTCC. Like in the previous season, 24 races will be held at 12 circuits with some changes of venues. Four races – Spa Francorchamps, Salzburgring, Beijing and Macau – are removed from the calendar, while the races of Germany and Portugal, at new Vila Real Circuit, are returned in the schedule. Also, two new races were included – Thailand and Qatar.
The season will start at Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo on March 8th and last race is scheduled for November 22nd at Losail International Circuit, but this race is still subject of confirmation by the promoter.
Citroen had perfect last year winning Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships, so for the French side ambitions are high again. Jose Maria Lopez will try to defend his title as a driver of Citroen Total WTCC team, but in his team mates Yvann Muller and Sebastian Loeb he will have main rivals. In this campaign Citroen will have five cars. Three of them will be full time entries by the main and title defending factory team, and the part time two will be entered by Sebastian Loeb Racing team. Place in of the part-timers is reserved for Mehdi Bennani who won a race in Shanghai last season as a member of Proteam Racing Honda Civic Team and remaining seat probably will be given to Ma Qing Hua who had few excellent races last season.
Lada Sport decided to switch from Lada Granta to a Lada Vesta for the 2015 season. Drivers line up will will be the same as in the last season with Mikhail Kozlovskiy, James Thompson and Robert Huff in the seats. After split with Lukoil during the previous year, Lada Sport have a new sponsor Rosneft, company owned by a Russian state.
Two teams are returning in WTCC. NIKA Racing, this time named as a Honda Racing team Sweden, will have one car with Rickard Rydell as a driver. Craft-Bamboo Racing, after year of absence, is coming back with Chevrolet CML Cruze and with a former McLaren GT racer Gregoire Demoustier as a driver.
ROAL Motorsport are set to field both Tom Chilton and Tom Coronel again in 2015, but is still to be confirmed. Munnich Motorsport is likely to return, but could reduce to one car with owner/driver Rene Munnich, potentialy leaving one car available to be picked up by another team.
Another two teams, Zengo Motorsport with Norbert Michelisz as a driver and Proteam Racing with new recruitment Dusan Borkovic behind the wheel, will enter as one car satellite teams fielding a Honda. It is also expected that Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro will take a seats of Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team, but it is still to be confirmed.
After Sebastian Loeb’s team, Proteam and Craft-Bamboo, fourth independent entry which is confirmed for the new season is Campos Racing Team with Frenchman Hugo Valente in Chevrolet.
After eight seasons in the series, Liqui Moly Team Engstler, which competed in TC2 series and was a champion last year, decided to withdraw and elected to participate in the TCR International Series.