tcr / Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team enter a new era
Vernay & Shedden are ready to race with their RS3 LMS cars on the streets of Marrakech where this weekend the WTCR (FIA World Touring Car Cup) will open.
The FIA World Touring Car Championship is be known as the WTCR (FIA World Touring Car Cup) in 2018, due to technical changes. It will see 25 drivers, 11 teams and 7 manufacturers contest a brand-new championship. The excitement and racing is set to be truly top-notch.
The rules see TCR and WTCC rules combined. On the TCR side, the rules allow for front-wheel-drive, four/five-door saloons or hatchbacks using turbocharged production engines with a capacity of between 1750-2000cc and with a maximum power output of 350bhp. The WTCR will remain as the top level world touring car series, the Balance of Performance (BOP) system has been developed to ensure a level playing field between the cars throughout. This will help to keep the championship close.
The first race of the year will be held in Morocco at the Circuit Moulay El Hassan, located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling hotel district. Designed by Hermann Tilke, a renowned architecture agency, the circuit takes in the most of the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech city walls. It is a tight and small circuit, just 2.9 km and with various tight, wall-lined turns, there will be no time to enjoy the views when the lights go out!
Two Qualifying sessions rather than the previous one will feature in all race weekends going forward, while an extra race has been added to the schedule to make it 3 in total. With 10 weekends between April and November, there will be a total of 30 thrilling races to enjoy. First Qualifying session and Race 1 will take place on the opening day of a weekend; on the second day with a three-phase qualifying session and 2 races with the first race from a reverse grid.
After a day of testing at the Barcelona circuit last week, both Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team’s drivers, Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay (reigning TCR champion) and Scottish driver Gordon Shedden (former BTCC champion) had the opportunity to understand and improve the setup of their Audi RS3 LMS on the eve of the Morocco event.
#69 Jean-Karl VERNAY:
“It was a good test, we needed it to understand the car better. Conditions were good but there’s still a lot of work to do apparently. I think it was overall very positive and now it’s time to understand the data and what changes helped. Now we’re looking forward to Marrakech.”
#52 Gordon SHEDDEN:
“It’s been a really productive test in Barcelona and great to be out there with some other cars to try and understand where we are with the Audi RS3 LMS. I think we made made some progress today. Obviously everyone is keeping a bit quiet on the time sheets but I’m confident for the first round.”
WTCR 2018 Afriquia Race of Morocco
circuit: Moulay El Hassan
length: 2971 m
Saturday, April 7th:
09:00-09:30 – Free Practice 1
11:00-11:30 – Free Practice 2
13:00-13:40 – First Qualifying
17:00 – Race 1 (18 Laps)
Sunday, April 8th:
10:30-11:00 – Second Qualifying Q1
11:05-11:20 – Second Qualifying Q2
11:30-11:40 – Second Qualifying Q3 (top-five shootout, awarded points as 5-4-3-2-1)
16:45 – Race 2 (18 Laps; top 10 positions after Second Qualifying reversed)
18:10 – Race 3 (21 Laps; grid as per combined order after Q3)
Top10 Races’ Points allocation:
R1 27 – 20 – 17 – 14 – 12 – 10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2
R2 25 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 – 1
R3 30 – 23 – 19 – 16 – 13 – 10 – 7 – 4 – 2 – 1
Photo Credit: Audi Media Center