The World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) has added a second Chinese race to its 2014 calendar after logistical problems forced it to drop its US round in Sonoma.
The addition of the new race at Beijing’s Goldenport Park Circuit on October 4-5 means China will stage back-to-back rounds of the WTCC season, with the championship due to move to Shanghai International Circuit on the following weekend.
WTCC organising body Eurosport Events said it has elected to cut its Californian round due to logistics issues caused by the cancellation of the vessel that was scheduled to leave Oakland’s harbour on September 17, transporting cars and parts to Shanghai. The next vessel, leaving on September 21, would not arrive at Shanghai until October 9, not allowing enough time for teams to prepare for the event on October 12.
The addition of a second Chinese race comes with the WTCC enjoying a rise in popularity in the country. On June 8, Ma Qing Hua became the first-ever Chinese driver to win a WTCC race at the championship’s event at Moscow Raceway.
François Ribeiro, director of operations for Eurosport Events, said: “We had to face a logistical challenge and after consulting WTCC stakeholders, we went through all possible scenarios, including date change or air freight, but we came to the conclusion that keeping Sonoma on the schedule was not viable. Chinese Touring Car Championship promoter, our partner in China, has quickly reacted to change its CTCC schedule and put together an alternative event at Beijing, the week before Shanghai. This will not only allow WTCC to race in the two main provinces of China, and keep raising WTCC profile in the most important car market in the world, but will also simplify logistics and save budget for the teams.”
Xia Qing, CTCC promoter, added: “Beijing Goldenport is different from Shanghai International Circuit. It will offer Chinese motorsport fans compact and intense touring car races. It will also be interesting to see former CTCC driver, Ma Qing Hua, competing on his home soil with the top WTCC drivers. His first WTCC victory at Moscow has created significant amount of interest in China.”