WTCC to race on Nordschleife in 2015
The World Touring Car Championship will race on the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 2015 as a curtain-raiser to the track's 24 Hours. The meeting is set to be the first world championship event on the circuit since the 1983 1000km World Sportscar race.
A three-year deal between WTCC promoter Eurosport Events and 24h-race organiser ADAC Nordrhein has been agreed. The event also marks the return of the WTCC to Germany, three years on from its last foray at Oschersleben.
The WTCC's usual event format, made of two 60km race, will be revised. Francois Ribeiro, Eurosport Events COO, explained: "To tackle this monument of car racing history, we asked FIA to revise the sporting regulations for that event.
"The idea is to hold one single 120km race, with one pit stop. The details of this particular format will be worked out between FIA, Eurosport Events and teams before the next FIA Touring Car Commission."
"We were told in Moscow it was likely to happen," Lada racer James Thompson said. "Not many [current WTCC drivers] will have raced there, certainly I haven't. I have a lot of laps to do before I can even think about being anywhere near competitive. It will be a fantastic race, I am sure."
Former WTCC promoter Marcello Lotti had investigated a race on the Nordschleife as far back as 2011, when he said that the only stumbling block was the circuit's license grade.
"I looked at a two-lap race before the Nurburgring 24 Hours, but the circuit needs a grade-four license from the FIA," said Lotti in 2011. "Even then we would need the support of the manufacturers. But I tell you, if tomorrow this kind of traditional circuit can be homologated, or can have a homologation that permits us to run, why not?"
Thompson admitted that safety issues were a potential concern.
"My only concern is the older you get the more you like safer tracks," he said. "You have to trust the organizers and the FIA make sure it is up to standard."
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