The announced departure from the TCR Series after only two years of its presence on the Macau Grand Prix program is raising questions about the future of the “Guia Race.”
Although rumored already for some time, the confirmation of the removal of Macau from the TCR Series came during the unveiling of the 2017 TCR Asia Series calendar. In it there are several changes that include a removal of the Macau round as well as two new visits to mainland China during the months of August and September next year for the races of Zhejiang (brand-new circuit) and the Season Finale which will happen in Shanghai.
“TouringCarTimes,” which specializes in Touring Car racing series, citing sources from within the TCR Series, said the key reasons for pulling out of Macau are the rule changes which came into force for this year’s edition which allowed the inclusion of cars from other series, namely the CTCC (China Touring Car Championship).
At the TCR Asia 2017 Calendar unveiling the CEO of the event promoter WSC Asia Ltd, David Sonenscher said: “We’re proud to have been the first TCR regional championship and to be continuing to break new ground in Asia with a concept that has proven especially successful around the world.” He concluded by noting, “with the expansion of TCR around the world this year and the recent announcements about the inclusion of such iconic marques as Audi, Peugeot and Kia alongside incumbents like Volkswagen, Honda, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Opel and Seat, things for TCR are just going to continue to improve and with that, TCR Asia will become one of the fastest growing categories in the region.”
The third season of the series will begin in Sepang, Malaysia, moving onto South Korea, before two events in Thailand; the first at the Chang International Circuit and the second at the famous street circuit of Bangsaen (a circuit with many similarities to Macau’s).
TCR made its appearance in Macau in 2015, replacing the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) category which, after ten-year racing in the region as a “Season Finale”, decided to switch the last event of the season with a night-race at the Losail circuit in Qatar.
The move from TCR opens the door to FIA (which has been more involved in the organization of the Macau Grand Prix this year) to add to the current two-series “World Cup.” A third race could be dedicated to touring cars
Other reports speculate that WTCC might consider a return to Macau.