TCR Middle East winner to be gifted wildcard entry for 2020 TCR SPA 500
The region’s 2020 TCR champion will receive automatic entry for next year’s 23-hour endurance race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps free of charge.
Drivers competing in this year’s TCR Middle East Series will have more than championship glory to shoot for in 2020. For the first time ever, the newly crowned TCR Middle East Series champion will win a ‘wildcard’ entry for Spa-Francorchamps’ leading touring car endurance event, the TCR SPA 500.
The ‘wildcard’ winner will automatically join one team’s three/four-strong driver line-up for the 2020 TCR SPA 500, an opportunity valued at more than 15,000 euros. Several TCR teams have shown interest in this initiative, and CREVENTIC hopes to finalise arrangements within the next few weeks.
The initiative has been proposed by Dutch organising body, CREVENTIC, the official promoter of both the TCR Middle East Series and the TCR SPA 500, and has also received the blessing of the WSC Group, the founding body behind TCR.
Much like 2019, when three of the previous four TCR Europe champions competed at the event, this initiative will bolster what’s sure to be a star-studded event with yet more championship-winning pedigree.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity,” explains CREVENTIC’s Ole Dörlemann.“The TCR SPA 500 is an event we’re working very hard to establish at the top of every touring car driver’s bucket list on merit, and we feel this ‘wildcard’ entry is a great way to spread interest even further across Europe and the Middle East. In the past we’ve seen some very talented young drivers make their mark in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and if the TCR SPA 500 can help a newly-crowned champion continue their momentum, it’s win-win!”
The 2020 TCR Middle East Series will be the fourth iteration of the MENA-focused championship, and the second in succession to be officially promoted by CREVENTIC. Alumni of the series include newly crowned TCR Europe champion Josh Files, who also lifted the Middle East crown in 2017, and Luca Engstler, a multi-time race winner in TCR Europe and ADAC TCR Germany who succeeded Files in 2018. all-inkl.com Münnich Motorsport team owner René Münnich joined the illustrious list by becoming the 2019 champion earlier this year.
Next season’s TCR Middle East Series kicks off with two 30-minute sprint races at the Dubai Autodrome on 9-10 January, an event that will be the official support series for the 15th annual Hankook 24H DUBAI. Round two takes place just one weekend later down the road at the Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009.
This year’s TCR SPA 500 was the first touring car-bespoke endurance event to take place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in close to two decades. After 23 hours and close to 500 laps of frenetic on-track action, World Touring Car Championship mainstay Tom Coronel and former TCR International Series runner-up Pepe Oriola became the inaugural winners of the event for Red Camel-Jordans.nl, together with father-son duo, Ivo and Rik Breukers. The efforts of Coronel and Oriola also helped secure the EXO TCR Nations’ Trophy for The Netherlands.
In 2020, the second ever TCR SPA 500 will take place on 1-2-3 May. In what’s sure to be a spectacular showcase of endurance racing action, the touring car event this year forms part of a ‘double-header’ main event with the Hankook 12H SPA. Points scored at the TCR SPA 500 will also count towards the 2020 24H SERIES Europe TCE championship.