The 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship calendar will feature one amendment to the draft that was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in September after the British round moves from Brands Hatch to Donington Park.
The switch was mainly dictated by logistics, and ends Brands Hatch's five-year hold on the round, which ran from 2006 until this season. Donington has yet to hold a WTCC championship round, but previously played host to the European Touring Car Championship between 2002-04 and, before that, staged the 1994 FIA World Touring Car Cup. A two-year agreement has been signed, with the 2011 round retaining the same 17 July date initially awarded to Brands Hatch.
"We are very happy with this agreement and we are sure that working in close collaboration we will be able to make the event one of the highlights of the WTCC season," WTCC promoter Marcello Lotti commented, "Donington Park is an historical venue for international motorsport and, after its recent renovation, it offers the level of facilities that our championship needs. The layout of Brands Hatch's paddock made the accommodation of the WTCC hospitalities difficult, and we will find more suitable facilities at Donington Park.”
Securing the WTCC's annual visit to the UK is a major boost to Donington Park, as it attempts to recover from a disastrous bid to wrest F1 from Silverstone. After doubts whether the circuit would even survive as a motorsport venue, extensive work to restore it towards its former glory has already seen British championships return, but the WTCC marks another step on the recovery.
“The FIA asked us to consider hosting the British round of the WTCC because the size of our paddocks and the excellent infrastructure we have at Donington fitted the bill for their ever-increasing operations," current owner Kevin Wheatcroft confirmed, "Getting the British round of WTCC is a real coup, both for the track and the local area. It is a huge event which attracts large crowds and is watched the world over, so we can't wait to bring it to Donington.
The WTCC will form part of an exciting calendar being lined up for 2011 at Donington, which also welcomes back the British Superbike and Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
“The WTCC, the return of the British Superbikes and the BTCC mean that we are already looking at a thrilling year of racing - and there is more to come,” Wheatcroft added.