WTCC and TCR series set to merge in 2018

The FIA World Touring Car Championship and the TCR International Series are set to merge in 2018, with talks between TCR promoter the FIA and WTCC promoter Eurosport believed to be nearing completion after months of discussion.

The WTCC has been looking for an alternative technical regulation after the loss of two manufacturers at the end of 2016, when Citroën and Lada both withdrew from the series.

Whilst Honda and Volvo remained this season, the high-cost Super 2000 TC1 cars have proven to be an impossible financial burden for the privateer teams to bear, with the series needing to look at alternative options in order to maintain a full grid of cars.

Although a move to Class One from 2019 was mooted at the end of last year, this was met with disinterest from both the manufacturer and independent entries.

With the WTCC looking to TCR regulations, maintaining both championships was viewed as impractical given that the two would be in direct competion for teams and coverage whilst using the same technical platform.

That has now led to a landmark move to merge the two championships – and strengthen the touring car platform – by combining the fast-growing TCR technical regulations with the marketing and broadcast experience of Eurosport Events.

An agreement is yet to be concluded, but it’s understood that WSC Ltd will licence the TCR regulations to the FIA in a two-year deal, similar to the agreement that has allowed the European Touring Car Cup to run to TCR regulations this year.

The result is rumoured to be branded the as the “FIA WTCR”, which would in theory mean an FIA World Cup designation as opposed to FIA World Championship status – with factory-backed entries prohibited and the customer racing model of TCR being maintained.

Until an agreement is finalised, there’s no comment from either championship expected, but its understood the agreement should be finalised within a matter of weeks.