The FIA World Touring Car Championship is having its first ever race in the United States this three-day weekend at Sonoma in Northern California. The eight-year old FIA Series travels around the world to most continents and now it’s added North America. This is the first of a three-year contract.
Sonoma is Round Nine of twelve, and the drivers are eager to get back into the cars after a eight-week hiatus.
For this weekend, the WTCC is using the full 2.50-mile, 12-turn road course.
The full-fendered large-scale production cars – BMW, Chevrolet, Ford and SEAT – have 1.6L turbo engines, six-speed sequential gear box and run upwards of 100 mph. They run Yokohama tires.
The WTCC drivers practice the ‘rubbin’ is racin’ philosophy, a la ‘Have at it, boys.’ We’re told to expect exciting, door-to-door racing with the gloves off.
The series usually has twenty drivers. At Sonoma, there are 22 on the entry list, twenty three on track, and a twenty-fourth TBD listed on the live Timing & Scoring screen.
There is one American drivers in the Series, just for this weekend. ROBB HOLLAND was a last-minute entry for the privateer bamboo-engineering Chevrolet Cruze team. Little else is known so far. Stay tuned.
The Friday schedule calls for one half-hour session in the early afternoon, when the track will be warm and sunny. Saturday there are two half-hour practice sessions in the morning, followed by a thirty-minute qualifying session mid-afternoon.
Sunday the series features two 25-minute sprint races, back to back, with twenty-minutes for a break. There are no planned pit stops.
Also racing this weekend will be the Maserati Trofeo World Series – a single make series, running for the first time in the United States. Also making its debut is the AutoGP World Series, a European formula racing series. The other support group is the U.S. Touring Car Championship.