For the first time ever the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and the Asian Le Mans will feature together in the same race meeting: the WTCC Race of Japan that will take place at the Okayama International Circuit from Friday, October 30th to Sunday, November 1st.
This combination of the short and breathtaking WTCC races and Asian Le Mans‘ long distance runs with the excitement of pit-stops is set to offer a unique show to the Japanese fans.
The WTCC-Asia Le Mans meeting in Okayama has all the ingredients to be rated as one of the highlights of the international motor sport season.
The event was launched today during a press conference at the French Embassy in Tokyo.
WTCC’S PENULTIMATE EVENT
The WTCC – one of the three FIA World Championships alongside Formula One and WRC – returns to Okayama for the second consecutive year, for its penultimate event of the season, before the Grand Finale at Macau, on November 22nd.
During its fifth season, the WTCC has continued its steady growth in terms of global popularity and exposure.
During the current season the WTCC is broadcast on more than 75 TV networks across 160 countries, including live extensive broadcasts on Eurosport, the n°1 pan-European TV channel.
This unique coverage includes high-quality and innovative Live TV production, as the series has become this year the first FIA World Championship produced in native High Definition.
And these efforts are paying off as is highlighted by the recent intermediary study released by German independent Institute IFM. The study showed that after 7 out of the 12 events, a global audience of 313 million viewers watched the WTCC races, against a total audience of 350 million for the entire 2008 season.
Now the series is about land in Japan for rounds 21 and 22 after visiting ten countries in three continents – America, Africa and Europe – with a strong field of 27 cars that includes some of the Japanese fans‘ favourits like Alex Zanardi, Tom Coronel, Rickard Rydell, João Paulo Lima de Oliveira and local heroes Seiji Ara, Nobuteru Taniguchi and Masaki Kano.
The meeting in Okayama will mark the championship’s second visit to the land of the Rising Sun after an extremely successful maiden appearance in 2008 that resulted in two exciting races that – in spite of very wet weather – were attended by a crowd of 28,000.
"We are very honoured and proud to come back to Japan. Last year’s first visit to Okayama represented an important landmark for WTCC, as we finally managed to reach one of the main goals we had set since 2005: bringing the FIA touring cars to the land where many of the major car manufacturers are based," campionship promoter Marcello Lotti explained.
And he added: "The 2008 race meeting was blessed by a success that even exceeded our expectations in terms of attendance at the track and media coverage. This year we aim to go even further. With the addition of the Asian Le Mans and – hopefully – milder weather, we are confident that the 2009 WTCC Race of Japan may definitely plant the seed of touring car fever in Japan!"
The WTCC Race of Japan was launched today in a press conference at Tokyo
2009 FIA WTCC Race of Japan – 31st October / 1st November, in Okayama