The 17th and 18th rounds of the FIA WTCC will take place in Spain, at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo next week. This is the sixth consecutive visit of the FIA World Touring Car Championship to the Spanish stadium-like racetrack and the WTCC Race of Spain returns to its traditional date at the end of the European season after being held in the springtime from 2007 to 2009.
The 4km circuit does not seem to suit any particular car, as Manufacturers shared honours in the previous years. BMW and Alfa Romeo scored three victories apiece, while Chevrolet and SEAT claimed two each.
Yvan Muller (SEAT) and Augusto Farfus (BMW) won last year’s races, but the unforgettable race for the local fans dates back to 2005, when Jordi Gené started from pole position to give the new SEAT León its first win.
Proteam’s Sergio Hernández, who was born in Valencia, has also delivered some very good results here. In 2007 he scored his first championship point by finishing 10th in Race 2, and the year after he claimed his maiden victory in the Independents‘ Trophy.
The FIA WTCC is set to race at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit next week
THE FIA APPROVES 2011 WTCC CALENDAR
In Paris this Wednesday the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved the calendar for the 2011 World Touring Car Championship.
The series will visit two new countries: Argentina and China. The Argentine event will take place at Buenos Aires‘ Autodromo Municipal on April 3rd, two weeks after the traditional season opening at Curitiba, Brazil. The Chinese racetrack will be announced later, while the date has been fixed, on November 5th, between Japan and the Macau finale.
Other changes compared to the current season are the deferment of the event in Marrakech to the 5th of June, while the meetings in Brno and Oscherleben will be brought forward to the 19th June and the 31st of July respectively.
And finally, the WTCC Race of Portugal will return to the streets of Porto, while WTCC Race of Japan will change venue, from Okayama to Suzuka.
2011 FIA WTCC CALENDAR
20 March – BRAZIL, Curitiba
3 April – ARGENTINA, Buenos Aires
15 May – ITALY, Monza
5 June – MOROCCO, Marrakech
19 June – CZECH REPUBLIC, Brno
3 July – PORTUGAL, Porto
17 July – GREAT BRITAIN, Brands Hatch
31 July – GERMANY, Oschersleben
4 September – SPAIN, Valencia
23 October – JAPAN, Suzuka
5 November – CHINA, TBA
20 November – MACAU, Macau
In 2011 Porto’s Boavista street circuit will host the WTCC once again
COMPENSATION WEIGHTS DON’T CHANGE
The list of the compensation weight for Valencia does not change from the previous event in Oschersleben.
Taking into account the fastest lap times set in Brands Hatch, Brno and Oschersleben, the Chevrolet Cruze is still the reference car, but the BMW 320si and the SEAT León TDI are also on the maximum compensation weight of 40 kilos.
The old BMW cars will carry 10kg of ballast, while the Chevrolet Lacetti and BMW 320si equipped with the 6-speed sequential gearbox will again have 20kg deducted from their minimum weight as well as the petrol-powered SEAT León TFSI.
Compensation weight Valencia
+ 40 kg: BMW 320si, SEAT León TDI, Chevrolet Cruze LT
+ 10 kg: BMW 320si (old model)
– 20 kg: BMW 320si (with sequential gearbox), Chevrolet Lacetti, SEAT León TFSI
A PETROL SEAT LEÓN FOR MARC CAROL
Spanish youngster Marc Carol is set to make another one-off appearance in the FIA WTCC next week in Valencia.
The 25-year old from Sabadell will be at the wheel of a petrol-powered SEAT León TFSI as a reward for having won the 2009 SEAT León Supercópa. Carol was already given the same opportunity in 2005, when he was invited to race in the Valencia WTCC event as the 2004 Supercópa winner. On that occasion – when he was only 20-year old – Carol impressed at the wheel of a SEAT Toledo works car, finishing a brilliant tenth and eighth in the two races.
His León is entered by SEAT Customers Technology, a branch of SEAT Sport.
CHEVROLET READY TO TEST THE 1.6L TURBO
Defending their leadership in the Drivers‘ and the Manufacturers‘ Championships is not the only focus for Chevrolet and RML. The team are already working with an eye on the 2011 season that will see the introduction of the new 1.6 turbocharged engine. Chevrolet is devoting a lot of work to the new engine and since this week the unit designed, developed and built in-house at RML is being tested on a dynamometer. In the forthcoming days it will be track tested in the Cruze.
Arnaud Martin, Chief Engineer at RML Engines explained: "We started the project from a white sheet of paper on the second week of January and the engine was tested for the first time last Monday, so it has been eight months of very intense work. The parameters laid out by the FIA are quite stringent, especially in terms of reliability; the challenge for us has been to reach a higher level of performance than the one provided by the current 2.0 aspirated engine while ensuring superior reliability to match the new rules: only one engine change allowed during the season in 2011 and none in 2012!. At the moment the engine has had 15 hours on the dynamometer, for tests essentially aimed at calibration and mapping, but we have already done some tests at full power output and everything went as we expected. The next step is to put the engine in the car. Generally, it takes a couple of months to go from the dynamo to the track, here we are talking a couple of weeks, so we can say we are off to some record-breaking!"
Motorsport Director Eric Nève added: "While we are extremely focused on the final rounds of the championship and determined to finish the job, we are also preparing the future. These are days of a lot of work around the new engine and the new car for 2011. Designing a new racing engine from scratch and building it from A to Z is an ambitious programme and a tremendous challenge. Chevrolet has been one of the first manufacturers to believe in the new global race engine promoted by the FIA and we are anxious to hit the track with the new car!"