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European Touring Car Championships

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Been a little while since I last updated this thread with WTCC news, but now seems a good time to do so on the basis that it is the first round of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship. A solid 25 cars entry for Monza this weekend.

Some things to look out for (if anyone cares):

Chevrolet are no longer represented as a manufacturer, meaning quite a shake-up on the grid. RML continues to run two Chevrolet Cruzes however, with Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton filling the seats. Despite no longer having manufacturer backing, RML still know their way around these cars and will be in contention this year. But reigning champion, Rob Huff, moves away from RML to new squad Münnich Motorsport - he'll drive a SEAT Leon for this season and will be keen to defend his crown. However, the last Chevrolet refugee, Alain Menu, will not be present on the grid. He moves to the Porsche Supercup for this year, but already there's whispers that he won't be away for long. Some have linked him to Citroen when the French marque enters the championship with Sebastien Loeb next year.

There's manufacturer backing for the championship in the form of Honda. Italian team JAS Motorsport run two cars for Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro, whilst a third car under the Zengõ Motorsport banner will be run for Norbert Michelisz. All three drivers are capable of challenging for regular victories this season as Honda aims to become the first manufacturer ever to win the championship in their first year of competition.

Lada return to the field this year too, with two cars, one for James Thompson, and a second for Russian driver Aleksei Dudukalo. Another driver to look out for this year? Marc Basseng. You've probably seen him racing in GTs over the last few years, but he makes the switch to WTCC this year, also driving for the Münnich Motorsport squad. If he can manage to adapt to a front-wheel drive touring car from a rear-wheel drive GT car, he could be a contender for podiums and even race victories later in the season.

In summary, I think there's plenty to look forward to. Some may argue that Chevrolet's absence is a blow to the championship, but their domination has been so great in the last two years that it probably makes the series a lot more open this time around. It'll be fascinating to see Huff, Muller, Tarquini, and possibly a couple of others, fighting for the title, all in different machinery. The WTCC's revival starts here...

Your full list of runners and riders:

1 – Rob Huff – GBR – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC

3 – Gabriele Tarquini – ITA – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC

5 – Norbert Michelisz – HUN – Zengõ Motorsport – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC

6 – Franz Engstler* – GER – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC

7 – Charles Ng* – HKG – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC

9 – Alex MacDowall* – GBR – bamboo-engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

10 – James Thompson – GBR – LADA Sport Lukoil – Lada Granta

11 – Aleksei Dudukalo – RUS – LADA Sport Lukoil – Lada Granta

12 – Yvan Muller – FRA – RML – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

13 – Jean-Philippe Dayraut* – FRA – ANOME – BMW 320 TC

14 – James Nash* – GBR – bamboo-engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

15 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC

17 – Michel Nykjaer* – DEN – Nika Racing – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC

19 – Fernando Monje* – SPN – Campos Racing – SEAT León WTCC

20 – Hugo Valente* – SPN – Campos Racing – SEAT León WTCC

22 – Tom Boardman* – GBR – Special Tuning Racing – SEAT León WTCC

23 – Tom Chilton – GBR – RML – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

25 – Mehdi Bennani* – MOR – Proteam Racing – BMW 320 TC

26 – Stefano D’Aste* – ITA – PB Racing – BMW 320 TC

37 – Rene Münnich* – GER – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC

38 – Marc Basseng – GER – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC

55 – Darryl O’Young* – HKG – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC

73 – Fredy Barth* – SUI – Wiechers-Sport – BMW 320 TC

74 – Pepe Oriola – SPN – Tuenti Racing Team – SEAT León WTCC

* = Eligible for the Yokohama Independents’ Trophy

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BMW have released the liveries for their cars.

Few changes from last year as you'd expect with a different line-up.

Slight change to Hand's car. Darker scheme, and no blue. Not the best light in this picture.


Samsung, which was on Hand's car last year, now moves over onto Werner's


Glock uses the Deutche Post colours that Werner had last year.


Finally, Marco Wittman's livery


Bit of other livery news. Jamie Green will be in Red Bull colours at Audi this year.


Miguel Molina, who occupied that car last season, now has this very red livery.


Lastly, Paffett will use the Euronics colours at Mercedes, whilst Wickens' car remains largely unchanged, with Stihl replacing Stern.



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Wickens needs to go back to his late-2011 hairstyle. That's about the only input I have right now.

Did they ever make a decision on DRS?

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They haven't so far. The ITR (series promoter) is still debating it. They trialled it at the most recent tests, and drivers have said it makes a difference. A lot are asking for it to be on the cars for this year.

They've still got a bit of time to make a decision, with the first race being not till May 5th.

Don't know if I mentioned it earlier either, but they're also trialling more degradable tyres. Hankook will produce an option and a prime, like in F1, in the hopes it'll improve the racing and increase the chance of differing strategies. Drivers have, unsurprisingly given the moaning that has been going on in F1 about tyres, been quite positive about them so far.

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A WTCC update:

Round one at Monza went according to play. That man Yvan Muller won both races in appalling conditions.

However, round two in Marrakech? Completely different. Two first time winners in Michael Nykjaer (Chevrolet) and Pepe Oriola (SEAT), Honda starting to come good in the hands of Tarquini too, who started race one from pole.

Got a feeling this will be a better year for the WTCC already.

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Seems to be the way to go for a lot of these series: some kind of pass assist (DRS being one, KERS being another, push-to-pass being a third) and some kind of option tire. The cars have all converged on similar ideals, both through access to better technology and by way of regulations (I know DTM is under fairly tight control). It's hard to get passing in those situations, so you have to have something to help that along (i.e. DRS), and make something about the cars "defective" (option tires) since the defects (or differences) are less likely to occur naturally.

Not praising it or knocking it. I enjoy the products of many different approaches (F1, sports cars, IndyCar, etc). No "right way" to go about it, and I think it could help make things more interesting. Purity is nice, but we've seen that in modern times, purity leads to perfection, and perfection leads to boredom from many (I personally have a hard time finding cars going that fast to be particularly boring, but hey). So, I think I support these ideas in the context of the actual world, and not some fictitious, romanticized throwback to the way things can no longer be.

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I've got mixed views.

I'm not as critical about DRS being on a touring car, as I still am about it being on an F1 car, because let's face it, touring car racing is about excitement. It's about close fought racing, bumper-to-bumper action, trading paint, and more important, having plenty of overtaking. You can make a degree of comparison between touring car racing and stock car racing - it's all about the show and giving the crowd some exciting racing. Whereas it seems out of place in F1 the pinnacle of motorsport it SHOULDN'T be easy to overtake a competitor. It takes some of the skill away.

On the other hand, it is a bit of a shame that a touring car championship has to resort to DRS and fragile tyres to get excitement. If you think about all the ingredients DTM has - big, V8, rear drive saloons with a lot of horsepower, and it is hard to understand how they ITR have come up with something that is so...lacking of spectacle. It is in stark contrast to something like V8 Supercars, or heck, even BTCC and WTCC. Other than the obvious (the cars still being far too reliant on aero) I don't know why that is.

But still, I praise the ITR for trying new things. It strikes me that since BMW entered, they've been willing to try new things more than they were before where hardly anything changed in the regulations for several years. So if this is another product of BMW's return, then great. I just hope it doesn't become too artificial and gimmicky.

Nevertheless, still looking forward to the DTM this year. It looks like it'll be another strong season.

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The 2013 DTM season kicks off at Hockenheim this weekend.

Four new faces on the grid - Juncadella, Wehrlein, Wittman and Timo Glock. Plus plenty to talk about with the arrival of DRS and soft compound tyres which should improve the racing even more.

The brilliant Andy Blackmore has released a spotter's guide. Some nice liveries this year too:

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Also - this is interesting - DTM now has a YouTube channel and is promising to show qualifying and the races live.

I'm loving how more and more championships are now streaming their races live and legally online. Pity F1 is still in the 20th century when it comes to the internet though...

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Please let the live races be available in the U.S. I need something new to get into now that sports car racing has frustrated me more than it gives me pleasure. If they use the "well, a channel you don't get shows the race highlights in December with 30 minutes of ads in the hour block at 2 AM, so we can't stream to the U.S." card everyone else uses, well...that's just how it goes.

Streaming's great. You have to make the product available to the people who want it. Exposure at a loss to the series is better than no exposure, because at least exposure at a loss can turn into a future gain. Plus, it helps the teams with sponsorship to have better distribution. A lot of series are hesitant to do anything that costs money because we're in a world that tells you all expenses are bad expenses. Not so. Some are investments. Streaming content will prove to be one in time. Or at least I think so, in the biased opinion of someone who benefits greatly from streaming...

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It'd be a good choice on the basis that DTM is slowly taking over the world of motorsport and you'll probably end up watching it in one guise or another sooner rather than later anyway...

I think it'll be a good year. Honestly see the championship being fought out between BMW and Audi, with Paffett in there too. The rest of the Mercedes line up will come good with time, but I don't see any of them regularly challenging this year. Maybe Wickens or Mehri will start to get on the podium or even win a race towards the end of the year.

Some more DTM news today. Interesting read - they're set to adopt turbo engines by 2016.


Can't say I'm that happy about it. I much prefer NA engines to turbos because they just sound so much better, cleaner. It is one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of NGTC - the turbo engines just don't sound as good. Turbos just don't interest me as much. It's a pity to see V8s being consigned to the pages of history, because (in my old fashion view) racing cars should always have big engines. I miss the days of the V10s from F1. But if it attracts manufacturers and cuts be it.

It would be nice to know if any manufacturers have said they'd enter if they adopted those new engines though. I'm a bit bored of these generic "it's what manufacturers want these days" statements. That's what they said about the new F1 engines, and whilst there is time yet, Honda has been the only taker. Has all the expenditure and other problems it is going to cause been worth it just for the sake of one manufacturer? It was pretty damning what Porsche said recently.

I just hope that they do have assurances from manufacturers that they'd enter with those new regulations, otherwise, what is the point? Sure, it might be what manufacturers want these days, but if no-one enters, it looks like a pointless move.

On the streaming thing - I think it is the future for a lot of forms of racing. More and more use it these days. I'm at a risk of going off at a tangent here, but there was an article recently that says MotoGP in this country will move from the BBC (and Eurosport) to BT Sport in 2014. If that happens, it means the only form of live racing that you'll be able to follow through the entire year will be BTCC on ITV4. I think it is increasingly difficult for motorsport to be shown on a main channel that everyone has access to. Those days are gone, and in many ways, the internet is killing off the TV slowly. I'd much prefer to watch motorsport online than it be on some random channel I can't access. There's a lot more freedom with what a championship can do with online coverage too, how they present it, compared to the constraints they have on TV.

Given the positive reaction that the DTM YouTube channel has had, it is clear to me anyway that it will probably get more viewers in this country alone than those half an hour highlights programmes on ITV4 got last year.

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Race being shown in excellent quality on the YouTube channel. If you're around Eric, it should be available in the US too.

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Someone with the DTM doesn't understand time zones, so I missed the race.

The race started around 13:30 UTC +1 (German time). That's 7:30 where I am.

The problem is, the DTM website has a countdown clock. The countdown clock just assumes you are in Germany (or the UTC +1 time zone) and counts you down to 13:30 based on the time on your computer. It is 10:07 right now, and the website tells me this:


It's counting me down to 13:30 UTC -5. The race apparently hasn't been run yet. :P

So, that messed me up. For my part, I should have probably considered that a race starting 13:30 my time would be 19:30 in Germany, which is sort of late for a race. But, I just blindly followed the countdown clock, and never checked the event schedule.

Oh, well.

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Haha, that is very unGerman like. tongue.png

It was a good race. Lots of overtaking and plenty of close action. I enjoyed it. Very impressed with the likes of Wehrlein and Juncadella, both of whom led for a time in their first race. Glock was going pretty well too, running as high as second for a while before he was forced to retire after a wheel fell off following a pit stop. Werner too...from stone dead last on the grid to finish second? Where did that come from? Good stuff. Also, Farfus seems to have been the BMW guy had adapted fastest from WTCC to DTM. Won a race last year, and wins the first race of this season. He'll be a championship contender.

Confused by why Priaulx seems to be relatively nowhere. Even more confused by what happened to the Audis today...

Wickens retired with a sticking throttle, but Hand, from memory, finished ninth and got involved with some good dices.

Hopefully all the races will be this good. if that's the product of these new tyres and DRS, I say bring it on.

Only one thing lets the side down. The commentary. Andrew Marriott really, really irritates me. Blabbers on about irrelevant crap, has long pauses even when there is stuff going on...and, well, his voice just annoys me. Could they seriously find no-one better? I had to mute the commentary and resort to listening to music half way through for the sake of my sanity. Marriott works well as a pit lane reporter, but he's just horrid as a lead commentator.

Also don't hold out much hope for Brands Hatch despite the race today. Running those cars on Brands Hatch Indy makes absolutely no sense at all. It's hard to overtake on the Brands Hatch Indy track in something like BTCC, but with cars like DTM it is virtually impossible. Wish they'd choose a different venue for the British round, but then, perhaps I'm biased... ;)

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As good a race as you're ever going to get running these cars on Brands Hatch Indy yesterday.

Some good battles and action, certainly more than you'd have got before they started using DRS and option tyres. You can watch the race here if you're interested, so I won't say too much about the result.

Couple of things I will mention though. Wickens third following a post race penalty for Gary Paffett, who was deemed to have not slowed suitably enough for yellow flags. Hand finished fifth after qualifying third - first time he's ever made it into the final part of qualifying. Also impressed by Wittman - second race, and a fourth place finish. Know he was BMW's test driver last year, but that's impressive.

Can't avoid mentioning this too:


Unbelievably stupidity towing a retired car across the racing line with a pack of cars approaching at top speed. There are several ways you can look at it - that the drivers should have slowed down more with the yellows out etc, but I personally feel the race director is the person to blame. Farfus stopped on the start/finish straight in a dangerous position, and yet he didn't deploy the safety car. No idea why.

Of course, Farfus himself is also to blame. He could have pitted. He knew he had a problem and was costing around the circuit before stopping. He passed the pits. Again, no idea why. Some are saying it was a deliberate ploy by BMW to get a safety car, which would've helped Spengler close up on Rockenfeller for the lead...

Also, that situation could have been avoided if they just used the GP loop at Brands! The cars would've been around the back of the circuit, and they'd have been able to move the car like that no problem. But on the Indy circuit, where it is a 40 second lap for these cars, and 22 cars on track, chances are there is going to be a consistent stream of cars coming past at that late stage in the race.

I've said before, and I'll say again, it makes no sense to run these cars on the Indy track, a track that if it was any smaller would be a go kart track! There are noise restrictions which means they can't run of the GP loop, which is a real shame. But if that's the case, DTM should definitely look at hosting the race at a different British venue. Personally speaking, I'd love to see them back at Donington like they used to be years ago, but then I'd be biased. tongue.png

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