JHS18

European Touring Car Championships

122 posts in this topic

It will soon be all change in WTCC.

After a couple of rather dud years where Chevrolet has been the only real manufacturer present, and predictably won everything, things are set to change. Chevrolet have left the championship, but there are new manufacturers lining up.

Honda will be present next year with a full works civic for Monteiro and Tarquini, and Ford are likely to remain a semi-backed outfit. SEAT too, are likely to come back in some form. Recently crowned champion Rob Huff, multiple champion Yvan Muller and Alain Menu are all scrambling to find drivers. But 2014 could be the year for that.

Citroen confirmed they would be entering the WTCC fully in 2014, and will do a few races to the back end of 2013 once the car is completed. Their only confirmed driver so far? A certain Sebastien Loeb.

Now, Renault are predicted to confirm their intentions to enter in '14 as well, with Yvan Muller rumoured as their first driver:

http://www.touringca...cle.php?id=8431

I'm excited. I know how good this championship can be. It was from 2004-2009 until BMW and SEAT rage quit about the regulations leaving only really Chevrolet left. But 2014 (as with pretty much damn near everything in motorsport) looks to be a great year already.

Honda, Ford, SEAT, Lada (don't laugh), Citroen, Renault, and maybe some others like Subaru. Guys, the WTCC is coming back...

Edited by JHS18

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Interesting list of young drivers Audi have tested recently.

They include Carlos Sainz Jr, Johan Kristoffersson, Will Buller, Tom Blomqvist, Nico Muller and Miki Monras.

Of those, the one who looks most likely at being in the DTM next year is Kristoffersson, who won three different championships this year, including the Superstars Series (driving an Audi) and the STCC.

Also be interesting to see if anyone from the existing Audi line-up makes the switch to Mercedes for next season...

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As you'd expect, with absolutely everything happening in motorsport in 2014, there's major changes to the regulations for the WTCC.

The FIA agreed on the new regs yesterday at the WMSC. Two of the key points for me are:

New Technical Regulations for 2014 Super 2000 cars were agreed in principle by the WMSC to provide for more spectacular cars with bigger aerodynamic devices and greater performance through weight reduction and power increase, while maintaining similar costs.

and

More technical freedom will be allowed in order to cancel the current system of waivers and balance of performance.

Big, big, big thumbs up from me on both points. S2000 cars are good, but I can't wait to see them with more power and looking more visually attractive too. My ideal scenario would be for them to look as spectacular as V8 Supercars to drive (quite physical, sliding around lots) with the power and performance of DTMs, however, somewhere in between for something close to the Superstars Series would be just fine too.

According to Neil Hudson, who writes for the website Touring Car Times...

From the outside, they might look a little more like the British Touring Car Championship's cars, but the internal changes will be nowhere near as drastic, with the cars continuing to be free for the manufacturers to develop as they see fit.

Now that, THAT is the way things should be. The BTCC have completely lost the plot with the completely stupid turbo equalisation rules that will effectively grant the slowest driver the biggest boost. I get of course that touring car racing should be about close-quarters racing, door mirror to door mirror, rubbing and bumping if necessary. Touring car racing wouldn't be as exciting if drivers just treated them like F1 cars. But, on the other side - the best car should be capable of winning. I don't understand why on earth Alan Gow thinks NGTC is at all attractive to manufacturers where you have very few options to make a difference when designing the car (most things are control parts) and then even if you do by some chance build a great car, get penalised to hell for it.

I'm excited for the WTCC's future. Talk of several new manufacturers, these new regulations...after a couple of flat years, there are signs that better times lie ahead.

Thank you FIA.

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As has been widely expected, Jamie Green has confirmed his switch from Mercedes to Audi for next year.

http://www.autosport...t.php/id/104777

Couple of things - I presume that bumps Rahel Frey out of her Audi driver on the basis that BMW will most likely not have a female driver, and Susie Wolff has left Mercedes. Before this year, Audi and Mercedes always used to run one female driver.

The other thing is I don't know where that leaves Mercedes now. They only have Paffett, Wickens, Mehri and Vietoris left. Autosport recently reported that Mercedes may only run six cars next year (perhaps early scaling back due to the possibility of new manufacturers from Super GT entering in 2014), but it is interesting to note Autosport's last comment on that link above. Ekstrom could jump ship and move to Mercedes. Scheider, as I've already mentioned in this thread, was already linked to Mercedes a number of weeks ago.

If Mercedes don't want to be left with the weakest driver line-up for next year, they really do need to try and poach a couple of drivers from Audi.

Edited by JHS18

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Alguersuari has been linked to the final BMW seat in recent days.

That's a bit of a shame if I'm honest. It'd be magic to see someone like Zanardi get that ride, but whatever. Also important to note that no-one who has left F1 and gone into DTM have really been any good at it. Mind you, they were all considerably older than Alguersuari is now.

Still no word on Mercedes. Getting a bit concerned they've just resigned themselves to having the smallest and weakest line-up out of the three for next season.

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You're calling Wickens weak? :P

Mercedes said they wouldn't announce anything until they had everything sorted out, and given that BMW did so well in their return season, there's less demand for a Mercedes seat. So, as long as there is an open one at BMW (as there is), it will be hard for Mercedes to fill any of theirs.

Moreover, Norbert Haug's leaving/dismissal/whatever probably complicates things.

The Mercedes is the least ugly car in DTM, in my opinion, so I wish they'd sign someone good. Gary Paffett's name alone screams mediocrity to me. :P

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Haha, he didn't do too bad in his debut year, but as things stand at the moment, Mercedes do have the weakest line up. Look at it this way:

BMW has x2 champions (Spengler and Tomczyk) plus a race winner (Farfus).

Audi has x2 champions (Ekstrom and Scheider) plus three race winners (Mortara, Green and Rockenfeller).

Mercedes has x1 champion (Paffett) and no other race winners.

I don't know what their solution is to addressing that, or whether they are prepared to accept next year as a downscale in preparation for any teams/manufacturers that may enter come 2014.

But as a neutral, I'd rather they didn't. I'd love to see them all having the same number of cars on the grid, all featuring a similar driver line up talent wise, but I guess that is pretty unlikely at this stage.

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I was just busting your chops...Wickens accomplished jack-all last year. I like good racing myself, so it'd be nice for Mercedes to not be at a huge disadvantage.

I like some of BMW's drivers, but I always root against BMW when I can, so it pains me that they've done so well. :P

I have no problems with Audi, though, since VWAG have been so kind to sports car racing and the R18 e-Tron Quattro and R8 LMS Ultra are two of the coolest racing cars out there right now.

As for Zanardi, I don't think he wants to make a comeback to full-time racing, so that's probably why the seat's more likely to go to Alguersuari.

I do wish we had better coverage of DTM here. It's an interesting series. Ever since I got into sports cars, I've had a harder time enjoying standard touring cars like BTCC or WTCC, and the rock-em-sock-em racing of the former, combined with Toby Moody's blurting, make the British tin tops extra hard to stomach. :P

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I've changed my opinion on all three too much recently, so I've got to a point where I just class myself as a neutral. But I guess if you really wanted an answer, Audi would be my answer too.

Autosport ran a story a few weeks ago about him sounding reasonably serious about it, but at the same time, he didn't sound too confident that he'd get a seat based on his DTM inexperience and lack of testing available to him.

But yeah, I agree. I wrote for another site that BMW really has revitalised the series for the better, on and off track. On track, the racing was a lot better than recently, and off track I've found it really fascinating too with manufacturers poaching drivers off each other. Before BMW entered, it had gotten a bit stale and...well, rather too German. Audi and Mercedes agreed not to try and sign drivers off each other, they kept a lid on driver salaries, froze development on the cars... now it is really a competition again, and even if only one other manufacturer joins in 2014, it'll get even better. The cars are spectacular too...when they're not confined to Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Still have absolutely no idea why they run these cars on that track.

I can see why you feel that way about the WTCC and BTCC. Certainly, the WTCC is nowhere near as good now as it was only a few years ago when BMW, Seat, Chevrolet, Alfa Romeo, etc, were all still there. But it will get better in time, with the 2014 regulations promising faster, more spectacular cars, and possibly quite a few manufacturers again too. Seb Loeb admitted that the new regulations for the WTCC were what convinced him to call time on his rally career and make the transition to circuit racing.

BTCC...it'll always have a place in my heart, just for being the first "big" form of racing I ever went to live. I've said a lot, and will probably say a lot more about why I'm not a fan of NGTC sometime. I'll continue to watch it, but yeah, man, when you see races from the 90s on YouTube I just wish we could get back to that type of thing rather than what the BTCC is now. In some ways, now it is better, with bigger grids and a better TV package, but in many ways in terms of the cars, drivers and racing, it is a lot worse.

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As you've probably read already, Timo Glock has left Marussia, despite having had a contract to race for them this season.

It is widely expected that he will make a move to BMW to drive in the DTM, therefore being their eighth driver.

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Judging by his Twitter feed, quite a popular guy amongst the F1 drivers. Best of luck to him in the DTM.

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Several guys were testing today. Among them, Timo Glock and a certain Robert Kubica. Timo was, as expected, in the BMW, whilst Robert was in the Mercedes.

No real times to report, but both guys apparently impressed. Glock soon became comfortable with the car, whilst Kubica's times were, from what I've heard, very impressive. It was a damp session and he was allegedly half a second faster than Paffett in those conditions. He also completed over one hundred laps, so it seems that whilst DTM cars aren't as physical to drive as F1 cars, the fitness is certainly there. Got to take testing with a pinch of salt I suppose, but that sounds encouraging.

For what it is worth, I've listed Kubica's name next to Mercedes in the post from a while ago as a possible contender to fill one of their seats. Would be great to see both these guys in the championship. From the rumours I've read, Glock's arrival ends any chance that Alguersuari had at BMW.

Edited by JHS18

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Which Mercedes driver?

Don't they only have one signed up? :P

(Before you tell me they have three signed, I'll tell you they have three signed).

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Mercedes will field six cars this year. Their final two drivers are likely to be Ralf Schumacher (was pretty certain he'd left the series but whatever) and Robert Kubica.

Oh, and this is Timo Glock's livery for his BMW this year:

182631_559252690765377_2106184416_n.jpg

Edited by JHS18

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Always thought those rear wings were weird...mounting under the pillars like that...physics and leverage suggests that the wing moves down, pulling the high end of the pillars down, and in turn lifting the pillar attachment end,and thus creating lift on the car....

...but what do I know?

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Mercedes will field six cars this year. Their final two drivers are likely to be Ralf Schumacher (was pretty certain he'd left the series but whatever) and Robert Kubica.

They've confirmed three (Paffett, Wickens, Merhi) and now have a "final two" (Schumacher and Kubica). That doesn't equal six. Who is the fourth driver?

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Christian Vietoris. I believe he is remaining with them for another year, despite having a pretty average time of it last season. But then again, I thought it was certain that Schumacher was leaving, so I could well be completely wrong. tongue.png

Edited by JHS18

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Always thought those rear wings were weird...mounting under the pillars like that...physics and leverage suggests that the wing moves down, pulling the high end of the pillars down, and in turn lifting the pillar attachment end,and thus creating lift on the car....

...but what do I know?

Is the intended purpose to be weird, though? DTM is nearly a full-on spec series now. Everything is so tightly controlled by the rules, and anything the rules won't control, the manufacturers will control through "secret" agreements to "not embarrass each other" or to saddle their teams with vanity cars.

Is it possible these wings are part of that mentality? Reduce performance, keep things even? You know I hate that line of thinking, but it's there. Hell, they all have to pit within a few laps of each other.

Christian Vietoris. I believe he is remaining with them for another year, despite having a pretty average time of it last season. But then again, I thought it was certain that Schumacher was leaving, so I could well be completely wrong. tongue.png

Pretty underwhelming. The Kubica thing is obviously interesting, but a big question mark. There's nothing wrong with Paffett, but I'm always overwhelmed with how underwhelming he is. Vietoris/Wickens/Merhi have a lot to learn, clearly. Schumacher's...not worth talking about.

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Mercedes line-up confirmed: Paffett, Schumacher, Wickens, Vietoris, Mehri and Daniel Juncadella. Seems to be the weakest line-up out of the three manufacturers.

Shame Kubica won't be there.

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Oh come on...that's a bit harsh...just because a Schumacher is there, doesn't mean that the team will tank...or have more success fielding a tank....

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The weakest lineup in 2013, maybe, but what if they aren't thinking 2013? Things are changing in 2014 with the DTM/Super GT combined regulations.

Mercedes have the youngest driver lineup of any of the teams. You can win now with a bunch of retreads and steady hands, but I wouldn't be too hard on Mercedes for introducing new, talented prospects to DTM and trying to build a team that can win for years to come in the future.

Robert Wickens, 23, is a Formula Renault 3.5 champion and GP3 and F2 vice-champion.

Christian Vietoris, 23, has won in GP2 and is a European F3 vice-champion. He's also had some decent results in DTM.

Roberto Merhi, 21, is a European F3 champion. He has podia in GP3.

Daniel Juncadella, 21, is a European F3 champion who has also won Macau and the Masters of F3. He has a podium in GP3.

In a few years, all four will be experienced in DTM, and they're all clearly talented drivers, some of whom were once linked to F1 teams. At that time, Mercedes will have a team loaded with young, talented, and experienced drivers. It's a long-term approach, which is admittedly annoying for the impatient Generation Y who just want everything done on their iPhone RIGHT NOW. Be patient with them.

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That's true, but when Paffett is the only decent (relatively speaking), experienced guy they have for this year, I have a feeling they could get rather left behind by BMW and Audi this year. But we'll have to see what happens in 2014. For all we know, several new teams/manufacturers may be there, or there may be none at all.

Anyway, we now have all the line-ups for this year confirmed.

BMW: Spengler, Tomczyk, Farfus, Werner, Priaulx, Hand, Wittman, Glock.

Audi: Mortara, Ekstrom, Scheider, Green, Rockenfeller, Tambay, Albuquerque, Molina

Mercedes: Paffett, Schumacher, Wickens, Vietoris, Mehri, Juncadella.

All in all, a very strong 22 car grid. Hoping for some more good racing this year.

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