The FIA World Motor Sport Council approved the calendar for the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Just like in the latest years, the series will be run on twelve events and twenty-four races.
For the first time the championship will kick off at Marrakech, while the closing meeting will be held at Macau for the tenth consecutive year.
The only new venue is Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, that will host the second event of the season. The last time the WTCC raced in France was at Pau in 2009. The championship will also return to Spa-Francorchamps, nine years after its only visit there in 2005.
Other changes compared to the previous seasons are the postponement of Sonoma by one week and the reversal of dates between Shanghai and Suzuka.
2014 WTCC –Calendar
6 April Marrakech (MAR) *
20 April Le Castellet (FRA) *
4 May Hungaroring (HUN)
11 May Slovakia Ring (SVK)
25 May Salzburgring (AUT)
8 June Moscow Raceway (RUS) *
22 June Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) **
3 August Termas de Río Hondo (ARG) *
14 September Sonoma (USA) *
12 October Shanghai (CHN) *
26 October Suzuka (JPN)
16 November Macau (MAC) *
* subject to the ASN’s confirmation
** subject to the agreement with the promoter
YVAN MULLER CROWNED AT THE FIA GALA
Last night Yvan Muller was officially named 2013 FIA World Touring Car Drivers’ Champion during the traditional FIA prize giving gala in that took place at the Cité du Cinéma in Paris.
Muller collected his fourth Drivers’ trophy, while Gabriele Tarquini and James Nash received the awards for the second and third classified.
“Winning this title was a great satisfaction, because we were not even sure to be on the grid. It was already a victory to actually take part in the first event at Monza. I don’t know if it was more difficult than my previous titles; for sure it was difficult, but in a different way. It was difficult to find the sponsors and because we had a lower budget. But we were champions again, without the backing of a Manufacturer,” Muller commented.
HONDA RECEIVED MANUFACTURERS’ TROPHY
Also at the FIA gala in Paris, Honda received the WTCC Manufacturers’ Championship trophy. This was the first World Title for the Japanese Manufacturer since its Formula One triumphs between 1988 and 1991, when it was McLaren’s engine supplier.
Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC development at Honda R & D, collected the trophy on the stage where the Honda Civic racing car was exhibited.
“This World Championship honour for Honda represents a great reward for everyone who worked so hard on this programme, whether at the tracks or at home in Japan, Italy and Hungary. Thanks to the continuous dedication and expertise of the people at JAS Motorsport, Zengö Motorsport, Mugen and Honda R&D, not to mention the talent of Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and Norbert Michelisz, we achieved four victories and sixteen other podium results; something that gives you a real sense of pride for a first year in WTCC,” said Horiuchi.
LOEB GOES BACK TO SCHOOL…
Even a nine-time world champion may find himself in the position of going back to school.
This is the case for Sébastien Loeb who faces his maiden season in WTCC after a glorious career in rally that resulted in nine WRC titles.
Discover how Loeb became a student in the class of a very special teacher: the four-time WTCC champion and his new team-mate at Citröen Racing, Yvan Muller.
Watch the clip at www.fiawtcc.com!
HONDA’S 2014 WTCC CIVIC TAKES SHAPE
Honda has released the first visual of its 2014 World Touring Car Championship challenger reflecting the all new technical regulations for the FIA WTCC which will come into force for next year.
The Honda Civic WTCC render shows the subtle style of the wheel arch extensions, larger diameter wheels, sleeker aero package and extended rear spoiler. Add all this to increased engine power and the 2014 Honda WTCC racer is clearly ambitious to retain Honda’s Manufacturers World Championship crown and enable the drivers to challenge for the World Champion title.
Two works cars will be run by JAS Motorsport for Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro with two further cars to be entered by private outfits Zengö Motorsport and Proteam Racing for Hungary’s Norbert Michelisz and Moroccan Mehdi Bennani respectively.
RML TO BUILD NEW-SPEC CHEVROLET CRUZE
Multiple WTCC Champions RML officially confirmed they will design and build Chevrolet Cruze cars in compliance with the new 2014 FIA WTCC regulations.
RML’s expert team of engineers have been working hard on the new design of the Cruze since late summer, enabling work to commence in-house ready for the new season.
It has not yet been confirmed how many cars will be built, however customer teams will run the cars independently, with RML supplying an agreed level of support. Talks are ongoing with several interested parties for the purchase of the new car.
RML Chief Executive, Ray Mallock commented: “I am delighted that this project can now be officially announced and that RML will be supplying a number of customer cars to the 2014 WTCC grid. Strategically this opportunity is of great significance to RML as we reaffirm our commitment to the WTCC in the long-term and the introduction of the exciting new regulations.”
Mallock added: “The car is a completely new clean sheet design – it has to be to take advantage of the new regulations. The car represents a very significant step forward in performance over the existing Cruze, with significant aero gain, weight reduction and 20% more power increase. Of course with Citroën entering the championship next year along with Honda and Lada, we are in no doubt of the challenges that lay ahead to ensure that RML’s customers remain at the forefront of the series. The new car looks stunning and its performance will be way ahead of the current generation of cars.”
MALLOCK SAYS ALL ABOUT NEW PLANS
Following RML’s announcement that they will build a new Chevrolet Cruze in compliance with the new WTCC technical regulations, the company’s Chief Executive Ray Mallock agreed to answer a few questions.
Why RML decided to build a car for the new WTCC regulations?
“We firmly believe in the value of the WTCC as a platform for sponsors, drivers and manufacturers. WTCC should be the pinnacle of production car based competition and we want to be part of the series, supporting the transition to the exciting new regulations.”
How many cars have you planned to build and when will they be ready?
“We will build a minimum of four cars although this number could increase to six. The plan is to have first two cars ready around the 12th March. In case we build more than six, we will not be able to supply the additional cars before Marrakech.”
Will customer teams own the engines outright or will they be a lease deal?
“As is the case with our current customer teams in WTCC (Nika Racing, bamboo-engineering, Tuenti Racing) we will continue to lease our in house engine at all times.”
Is there any involvement from GM in this project?
“Our friends at GM have worked closely with us on the homologation of the car. Beyond that, no, although we continue to have a close and strong relationship with GM.”
Will RML be running any cars in 2014?
“No, we have agreed with our customer teams that RML will not run in direct competition with them.”
Will RML be supporting any teams?
“If we are asked to provide additional support, we are happy to do so. This support will be available to any of the teams.”
Will RML return to WTCC as a race team?
“WTCC is very close to our heart and RML has a lot to offer to a manufacturer wanting to compete at the highest level in WTCC.”
If RML returns in 2015 representing a manufacturer, what happens to the customer cars?
“We are a high performance automotive engineering company, experienced in running multiple programmes. Our customer programmes are a vital part of our business model. We have been supporting our customers to race and championship wins ever since we began in Touring cars in the early 1990s and that high level of commitment will continue.”
BENNANI UNVEILS HIS HONDA’S LIVERY
Mehdi Bennani unveiled the Morocco’s national colours livery that will be sported on his new Honda Civic during the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The launch happened Tuesday, during a press conference at Casablanca that was attended by Morocco’s most important media.
Among the guests were William De Braekeleer, Motorsport Manager Honda Motor Europe, Mehdi Tak Tak, General Director of Groupe Univers Motors, Honda importer for Morocco, and Valmiro Presenzini, Principal of Proteam Racing.
“I am very happy with this opportunity of racing a Honda; this makes me really optimistic about our future performance during the next season. My aim is to fight against the top WTCC drivers and I am also especially proud to defend the colours of Morocco colours in such an important international series,” said Bennani.