This week, the Motorsport Series News Roundup is packed with all kinds of developments from around the globe.
In Sports Cars, I have news on the future of the WEC calendar, a new qualifying race in the Hankook 24H, the Bathurst 12 Hours returning to all pro lineups and more.
In Single-Seaters, the Road to Indy gets a rebrand, the future of Euroformula is looking shaky and seats are filling up in the Motorsport Games Formula 4 Cup.
Finally, Touring Cars was hit with the surprise announcement of the ending of the World Touring Car Championship. I have news on what is intended to follow it, veteran touring car driver Tom Coronel’s reaction to the news and more.
- The FIA World Endurance Championship is planning to further increase its schedule to eight rounds in 2024, as part of its continued rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic reports Sportscar 365. “We need to grow, but in a reasonable way. We believe that adding one event in 2023 is good, and the plan at the moment is to have eight races in 2024. In 2024 we have good interest and opportunities for the future. Definitely, we will have eight events in 2024.”
- Six automatic invitations to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans were confirmed after the conclusion of the European Le Mans Series season at Portimao on Sunday. The six automatic invitations from the ELMS grid join three previously other pass-holders to next year’s Le Mans edition, which takes place on the centenary of the French enduro’s first staging in 1923. Full details at Sportscar 365. The teams are:
- LMP2: Prema, Panis Racing & Cool Racing
- ELMS GTE: Proton Competition, Kessel Racing & Iron Lynx
- The Hankook 24H Series will introduce a six-hour qualifying race for a new round at Estoril as part of its 2023 calendar. “The championship says that the introduction of the qualifying race was inspired by ‘Sprint Race Weekends currently hosted by Formula 1 and MotoGP’.”
- The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will return to featuring all-pro driver lineups next year for the first time since 2020. The Pro class will return to Mount Panorama in 2023 when the race also reverts to its traditional weekend on February 3-5.
- The BRSCC has launched the SW Motorsports Audi TT Cup Racing Series for 2023. “The Audi TT Cup Racing series has been designed by SW Motorsports to offer drivers top levels of performance and awesome race car looks, as well as maximum value for money. All cars are equal in terms of performance, meaning getting the best out of them will be down to driving talent and racing skills.” To find out more about the new Audi TT Racing Cup, including build costs, contact details and to find out how to get involved, please head to the Audi TT Racing Cup formula page on the BRSCC’s dedicated website.
- The Swedish Motorsport Federation (SBF) has granted NXT Gen Cup the official Swedish Junior Title status for its inaugural season in 2023. “The groundbreaking and innovative NXT Gen Cup is just right for the development and growth of Swedish junior racing and we are delighted to start our cooperation with them ahead of 2023,” said Anna Nordkvist, managing director of SBF. ”The entire world is moving to electrification and this is obviously including motorsport on all levels, including junior racing. We have no doubt that the juniors will get a solid platform for their future careers via NXT Gen Cup.”
- Speed Cafe reports that the newly unveiled Toyota GR86 race car that will compete in the 2024 Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series has been described as “sharp, affordable”. Based on the GR86, the new race car has been developed by Neal Bates Motorsport and is now available for competitors to order with a turnkey package priced at $89,990. The new GR86 race car will be fully built by Neal Bates Motorsport and features a full roll cage, race seat and six-point harness, motorsport spec steering wheel, ECU and instruments, control wheels and tires, and upgraded suspension, brakes, exhaust, oil cooler and clutch. Maximum engine power and torque will be approximately 10 per cent greater than the standard GR86 road car’s outputs of 174kW/250Nm and the race car is approximately 70kg lighter than the GR86. Approximately 35 race cars will be available for competitors to order for the 2024 86 Series season and other performance specifications will be confirmed once final testing and validation is completed later this year.
- The World Racing League’s first ticketed spectator event will take place October 28-30 at Sebring International Raceway. “WRL has been growing and gaining traction and interest from both the community of drivers and teams, but also from fans of endurance racing,” the series said in a press release. “We’ve been inundated with unsolicited requests for spectator access over the last year with Sebring being one of the biggest points of interest for us during the 2021 season.” Fans will be restricted to midway/spectator areas and not allowed into the paddock during the event, with some exceptions for coordinated, fan-oriented activities.
- The American development series Road to Indy has been rebranded to the USF Pro Championships. “Although we are rebranding the Road to Indy, our goals remain the same – to develop drivers, teams and crew to advance to Indy Lights and ultimately the NTT IndyCar Series,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “With INDYCAR taking over the operation of Indy Lights this year, the Road to Indy designation really doesn’t work moving forward for all steps on the ladder. We are proud of our accomplishments under the Road to Indy banner and intend to further develop the full USF Pro Championships as the only real place for talented young drivers on the open-wheel path.” According to Motorsport Week, “Andersen Promotions is the long-time promoter of the junior series, and Motorsport Week understands that its loss of the ‘Road to Indy’ moniker is due to licensing requests from IndyCar itself.”
- Andersen Promotions then unveiled the 2023 calendars for all three levels of the newly rebranded USF Pro Championships Presented by Cooper Tires as well as an increase to series’ scholarships totaling over $110,000 to help drivers advance up the ladder of the world’s leading driver development program. In total, over $1.6M in prize money and awards will be on offer.
- Across the pond, rumors are building that a new series will replace a struggling Euroformula series. According to Formula Scout a meeting was scheduled to discuss Euroformula’s future. “There is paddock talk that there could be a new continental series in 2023, and teams and drivers have commented that they have been told that Euroformula dominator Motopark would not be invited to be involved. Motopark intends to race its six Dallara 320s next year, regardless of Euroformula’s fate.”
- The first 12 entries have been confirmed for the second edition of the Motorsport Games Formula 4 Cup, which is contested between nations, with several category stars taking part. KCMG, manufacturer of the hybrid-powered and halo-shod cars being used, expects a grid of over 20 at Paul Ricard on October 29/30 and has introduced a €10,000 prize for the gold medalist as an incentive for ASNs (national governing bodies) to enter the F4 element of the games.The gold medalist will also be in contention to join KCMG’s young driver development program.
- It has been announced by series organizers that the World Touring Car Championship will be terminated at the end of the 2022 season and replaced by a one-off annual event. In addition to this, the WSC Group has launched the TCR World Tour as a new global platform.
- “We have had a fruitful co-operation with the FIA and Discovery Sports Events during the latest years and so we respect their decision,” WSR president Marcello Lotti said. “We are now ready to continue working together to provide for the future of touring car competition. Since the inception of the TCR concept, WSC has built a large community of competitors. On this basis we are confident that the TCR World Ranking through the TCR World Tour and the TCR World Ranking Final will give teams and drivers the opportunity to keep on competing at a global level. At the same time, this plan is set to strengthen the co-operation we have established with the promoters of the regional and national series. This co-operation will make it possible to step up the level of the events selected for the TCR World Tour in terms of visibility, media coverage and atmosphere, also giving the local drivers the opportunity to measure themselves against strong, international participation. It is also an opportunity for the manufacturers to establish closer relationships with their own racing customers and increase their loyalty towards the brand.”
- Long time Touring Car driver Tom Coronel reflected on WTCR’s end and its TCR future. “I mean I have seen the World Touring Car Cup dying; I have seen it,” he told TouringCarTimes. “Everybody has seen it, only nobody is really speaking about it because somehow they don’t feel comfortable about it. But I’ve seen all the developments since 2001 [when he was in the European Super Touring Championship], and I’ve seen the politics in WTCR killing all the sporting side. This is why I’m in much more favour of TCR Europe than the WTCR. The WTCR is just very badly managed. Politically, basically just too many people who are getting involved instead of just racing. I think there were big changes needed, so it’s good that this is happening.”
- The TCR Scandinavia owners are currently in search of a new promoter for the 2023 season, when they plan to hold six race weekends in Scandinavia, following its split with the STCC which switches to electric touring cars next year according to Touring Car Times. “We are currently holding a dialogue with potential promoters ahead of 2023 when we aim to hold six race weekends on circuits in Scandinavia with primary focus on Sweden,” said Greger Petersson, managing director of TCR Scandinavia.
- A new TCR Asia Challenge title will be up for grabs in the 2022 running of the Macau Grand Prix next month. “I am very proud and excited to announce that this year will mark the running of the first TCR Asia Challenge in the frame of the Macau Grand Prix, keeping alive the tradition of seeing the TCR cars racing at the Macau Grand Prix that began in 2015,” WSC president Marcello Lotti said. “I am confident that the event will be very successful!”
- Grassroots Motorsports notes that online discussions are being had about a potential C-spec road racing class featuring inexpensive, common cars that can be found at or near the bottom of their depreciation curves.
- The Cars: This class would welcome naturally aspirated C-segment cars built about a decade ago–think pedestrian versions of the VW Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Mazda3, Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Mitsubishi Lancer, Subaru Impreza and the like. These cars are a size up from the ones currently found in B-Spec competition.
- The Why: Members of the C-Spec Racing Facebook group note that these cars feature a decent horsepower-to-weight ratio and, currently, a strong donor base. “This is the LAST chance to get an influx of NEW entry level race cars with a Manual Transmission into the club,” notes page admin Frank Schwartz.
- The Future: This movement isn’t affiliated with any sanctioning body, and the page’s About section notes that this is just a discussion: “It is entirely a concept being put forward to generate feedback and solicit potential future interest in creating yet ANOTHER class of racing. We are FULLY aware of the downside to that, however personally feel this can be easily incorporated within existing classes until it has enough support to function as a stand alone class.”