Event preview: WTCR Race of Germany
Twenty-two of the world’s best touring car drivers face-off on the toughest track of them all next week (June 3-5) when the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife hosts the opening races of the hotly anticipated 2021 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup season.
A 25.378-kilometre high-speed rollercoaster, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is the ultimate test of driving talent and has formed part of the WTCR roster since the series began in 2018.
Representing five customer racing brands, 11 top teams and 12 nationalities, the line-up features six FIA world title winners −including current King of WTCR Yann Ehrlacher − plus nine drivers 25 or under. A total of 63 race wins are shared between the talent-packed entry.
Some of the best drivers in the business, including category experts and young talents aiming for the top, compete in turbocharged TCR cars from Audi, CUPRA, Honda, Hyundai and Lynk & Co. A Balance of Performance formula, sustainable biofuel from P1 Racing Fuels and tyres from Goodyear provide a level playing field, with power capped at 360bhp and speeds reaching 260kph.
Significant cost-control measures help maintain strong grid numbers and allow privateer teams with limited technical support from manufacturers to fight at the front.
The 2021 season is set to comprise five weekends in Europe ahead of a three-event Asia leg. Practice, qualifying and two races are timetabled at each event, which enjoy extensive live global broadcasting.
As well as the FIA Drivers’ and Teams’ titles, the FIA Junior Driver Title is for the best racer 24 or under at the start of 2021 with no WTCC/WTCR experience prior to 2019. Independent racers are eligible for the WTCR Trophy, while the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophyand TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver accolade are awarded at each event.
The Goodyear #FollowTheLeader recognises the driver at the head of the title standings after each qualifying session or race. They are presented with the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader yellow jacket and carry the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader yellow windscreen strip on their car until such time that they no longer top the points classification.
Rounds: 1 and 2 of 16
Date: June 3-5, 2021
Venue: Nürburgring Nordschleife
Location: Otto-Flimm-Straße, 53520 Nürburg, Germany
Track length: 25.378 kilometres
WTCR qualifying lap record:
Néstor Girolami (Honda Civic Type R TCR), 8m51.802s (171.7kph), 24/09/20
WTCR race lap record:
Frédéric Vervisch (Audi RS 3 LMS), 8m59.076s (169.4kph), 12/05/18
Thursday June 3
Free Practice 1: 14h30
Free Practice 2: 19h00
Friday June 4
Saturday June 5
Race 1: 09h00 (3 laps, 76.134 kilometres)
Race 2: 10h20 (3 laps, 76.134 kilometres)
Germany’s WTCR host venue offers a challenge like no other with its daunting 25.378-kilometre lap, 64 heart-stopping corners and changeable Eifel mountains weather. Opening for business in 1927 and a German Grand Prix regular until Niki Lauda’s near-fatal accident in 1976, the Nürburgring Nordschleife joined the FIA World Touring Car Championship schedule from 2015-2017 as part of the ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen weekend. The WTCR took over in 2018 and delivered even more action with Yvan Muller, Esteban Guerrieri and Thed Björk sharing the wins. Guerrieri was a winner again in 2019 and 2020 when Yann Ehrlacher also took a victory.
No Driver (NAT) Team Car*
3 Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR
5 Norbert Michelisz (HUN) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR
8 Luca Engstler (DEU) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR
9 Attila Tassi (HUN) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
11 Thed Björk (SWE) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
12 Santiago Urrutia (URY) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
16 Gilles Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
17 Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
18 Tiago Monteiro (PRT) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
19 Andreas Bäckman (SWE) Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR
22 Frédéric Vervisch (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
26 Jessica Bäckman (SWE) Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR
28 Jordi Gené (ESP) Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
29 Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
32 Tom Coronel (NLD) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
55 Bence Boldizs (HUN) Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy CUPRA Leon Competición
68 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
69 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR
79 Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
86 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
96 Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición
100 Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & C0 03 TCR
*All cars equipped with Goodyear tyres, use sustainable biofuel from P1 Racing Fuels
WTCR RACE OF GERMANY 2020: THE WEEKEND’S BIG WINNERS
DHL Pole Position: Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
Reverse-grid DHL Pole Position: Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Race 1 winner: Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Race 2 winner: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Race 2 fastest lap: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
WTCR Rookie Driver Race 1: Gilles Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS
WTCR Rookie Driver Race 2: Bence Boldizs (HUN) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición
WTCR Trophy Race 1: Tom Coronel (NLD) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
WTCR Trophy Race 2: J-K Vernay (FRA) Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy winner: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Goodyear #FollowTheLeader: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
WTCE RACE OF GERMANY PREVIOUS WINNERS
Race 1: Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 2: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Race 1: Norbert Michelisz (HUN) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 2: Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) Volkswagen Golf GTI TC
Race 3: Benjamin Leuchter (DEU) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Race 1: Yvan Muller (FRA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 2: Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 3: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
KINGS OF WTCR
2020: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing / Lynk & Co 03 TCR
2019: Norbert Michelisz (HUN) BRC Racing Team / Hyundai i30 N TCR
2018: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) BRC Racing Team / Hyundai i30 N TCR
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2021?
*There will be double-headers only in 2021 with two rather than three races at each event
*New cars from Audi (second-generation Audi RS 3 LMS) and Hyundai (Elantra N TCR) join the grid
*P1 Racing Fuels is WTCR’s Official Fuel Supplier with drivers powered by a bespoke fuel featuring 15 per cent renewable components for the first time
*Jessica Bäckman is the WTCR’s first female driver and joins brother Andreas to form the WTCR’s first all-sibling team run by new all-season entrant Target Competition
*Like the Bäckmans, Jordi Gené is a WTCR newcomer, while Rob Huff and Frédéric Vervisch return after missing out in 2020
*Adria, Estoril and Inje are new to the WTCR calendar with Italy and South Korea set to stage WTCR races for the first time
*Germany hosts the season-opening event following on from Morocco (2018-2019) and Belgium (2020)
*The Rookie driver award is redefined and renamed as the FIA Junior Driver Title
*WTCR promoter Eurosport Events has been issued with the FIA’s Three Star Environmental Accreditation following a rigorous auditing process in line with the motorsport world governing body’s Environmental Certification Framework. Click HERE for more information.
DID YOU KNOW?
*Mikel Azcona, Tom Coronel, Luca Engstler, Néstor Girolami, Tiago Monteiro, Jean-Karl Vernay and Frédéric Vervisch are doing doubling up during the Nürburgring Nordschleife weekend by contesting the headlining ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen event, which gets underway at 15h30 on Saturday June 5
*The coveted #1 will not be carried in 2021 with King of WTCR Yann Ehrlacher electing to stick with #68, the number he used to win last year’s title and the number of Haut-Rhin, the French department where he’s from
*The Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition as the Official Safety Car of the WTCR for a second season. Bruno Correia is the Official Safety Car Driver at WTCR Race of Germany.
WHO SAID THAT?
Tom Coronel (NLD) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport / Audi RS 3 LMS: “There is no more challenging circuit on planet earth and to start the season there makes it extra exciting. Normally we start on a normal track, but now we are beginning the season on my favourite track and that helps a lot.”
Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co / Lynk & C0 03 TCR: “It’s a track I kind of like but you can’t say you completely like this track unless you lie or are not going fast enough. But I like the fact it’s a narrow track with fast corners where if you are brave you can go quick.”
Luca Engstler (DEU) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team / Hyundai Elantra N TCR: “It’s a home race for me but I’m probably the driver with the least experience of this track and it’s easy to smash it in the wall on your first flying lap quite easily. It will be an intense week.”
Jordi Gené (ESP) Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy / CUPRA Leon Competición: “I would have preferred if this was the third or fourth race because it’s very demanding. But, at the same time, when everything works well the reward of a good lap on the Nordschleife is unique, it’s fantastic.”
Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport / Honda Civic Type R TCR: “When you get confident with this track it can get you. It’s not about what I’ve achieved here but about being very focused and knowing that the challenge is ahead of me and all of us. Then you’ve got to go and do it because it’s a matter of doing it and to see what comes.”
THE BIG NUMBER: 16
All drivers use the single specification Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport tyre. For WTCR Race of Germany, each driver has 16 dry-weather slick tyres and 16 wet-tyres available.
HOW IT WORKS AT WTCR RACE OF GERMANY
Qualifying: While one three-phase qualifying session is the norm, the long track length (25.378 kilometres) at WTCR Race of Germany requires a single uninterrupted session of 40 minutes
Grids: The Race 1 grid is decided by the final qualifying classification with positions 1-10 lining up in reverse order. The Race 2 grid is decided by the final qualifying order with the fastest driver in qualifying on pole position
*The fastest five drivers in Qualifying score points as follows: 10-8-6-4-2
*The top 15 classified finishers score in each race as follows: 25-20-16-13-11-10-9- 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
*The same scoring system apples to the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Teams and the FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title. WTCR Trophy drivers score as follows: 10-8-5-3-1, 1 point for the fastest qualifying lap, 1 point for the fastest lap in each race
TYRE TALK WITH SEBASTIAN TRINKS, GOODYEAR EVENT LEADER WTCR
“The biggest challenge is the weather. You can have dry parts on one side of the track but on the other it’s fully wet or even snowing! The drivers need to be prepared for that and it’s the same in the morning. It’s colder and the track can be damp because of the forests and it can be hard to see the damp spots when you are arriving into a corner. We also have to deal with the high loads and how some of the older kerbing can impact on the tyre. The drivers need to know where these kerbs are, especially when they are in hard fights. There is also a height difference of 290 metres on the track so there can be different temperatures. With one week to go, the weather forecast looks pretty dry and up to 20 degrees at the moment. If the sun is coming out we will have a track temperature of up to 30 degrees for qualifying but on race morning, the track could still be quite damp in places with a track temperature of less than 10 degrees so the grip level will be different, particularly on the Nordschleife where there is a lot of Tarmac changes.”
WTCR − FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CUP 2021 CALENDAR
Rounds 1 and 2: WTCR Race of Germany, Nürburgring Nordschleife: June 3-5
Rounds 3 and 4: WTCR Race of Portugal, Circuito do Estoril: June 26-27
Rounds 5 and 6: WTCR Race of Spain, MotorLand Aragón: July 10-11
Rounds 7 and 8: WTCR Race of Italy, Adria International Raceway: July 31-August 1
Rounds 9 and 10: WTCR Race of Hungary, Hungaroring: August 21-22
Rounds 11 and 12: WTCR Race of South Korea, Inje Speedium: October 16-17
Rounds 13 and 14: WTCR Race of China, Ningbo International Speedpark: November 6-7
Rounds 15 and 16: WTCR Race of Macau, Circuito da Guia: November 19-21