World Touring Car Masters

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World Touring Car Masters
WTCM Logo.png
Category Touring Car
Country/Region Worldwide
Founder(s) FIA
Inaugural Season 1988
Last season 2004
Tyre supplier(s) Bridgestone
Records
Driver's Champion Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Tim Harvey
Team's Champion Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Kaliber Industrial Control Services Racing
Records WTCM Records
Motorsport current event.svg.png Current season


The World Touring Car Masters was the sucessor to the World Touring Car Championship, ran in 1987 by the FIA. It ran for 18 seasons, from 1988 until 2004, when it got replaced by the reformed World Touring Car Championship in 2005.

History

After the fiasco of 1987 with the World Touring Car Championship - where politics took much more of the headlines than racing ever did throughout the year, culminating with the champion Roberto Ravaglia only getting crowned in March 1988 (with WTCM already starting) - FIA realised things needed to change.

For 1988 then, the WTCC idea was scrapped and was replaced by the newly formed World Touring Car Masters. In spite off still beeing organized by the FIA, the series featured inputs from all the sucessfull regional touring car series, in order to build the most secure set of rules possible. A 11 race calendar was introduced for 1988 - featuring rounds at places like Bathurst and the mythic Nordschleife - with the race format beeing the big change. Instead of the usual endurance race and two driver teams, FIA announced that teams would have just one driver per car with separate rules for manufacturer and privateer entries - manufacturer backed entries beeing allowed 4 cars per event while privateer entries only 2 entries per event. The usual one race weekend was replaced by a two race format, the first race of the weekend beeing a long endurance race (with distances ranging from 250km to 1000km, starting in 1989), followed by a shorter 100km race sprint race on sunday, with the top 10 of the endurance race beeing reversed on the grid. The format vastly improved racing, with specially the sprint race beeing lauded for introducing a new variable into touring car racing as a whole.

But with the focus beeing on racing, 1988 didn't start as expected. In February 1988, the FIA received a request from Nissan to homologate their new Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, also known as the "Godzilla" in the future. Nissan exploited a loophole in the regulations which allowed to homologate prototypes, without having need to feature those modifications in their road car - the R32 the car was based off only scheduled for release to the public in October of that year. So, when the first round of the year came along, Nissan showed up with the R32 GT-R, and promtply beated the Andy Rouse Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth - leading the american manufacturer and the british team to follow a protest to the legality of the R32 after Bathurst was done, with Ford threatening to quit WTCM in case the R32 wasn't banned.

Before Fuji came along, FIA announced that the R32 was indeed illegal, and was banned until Nissan had built the required number of cars to homologate the car as a Group A car. Nissan used the R31 for the rest of the year, with Ford - knowing what was coming in 1989 - bringing regular updates to the manufacturer backed RS500. With the banning of the R32, Ford and the RS500 prepared by Rouse dominated the season - taking 16 wins in the process of the 21 races possible - while also winning the non-championship race, the famous Bathurst 1000 - with 3 other victories beeing achived by Ford privateers, two by the Merkur Racing (which rumours believed around the paddock to be a Ford backed team, to be used to test new parts in the Ford Merkur RS500) and another by Zakspeed, courtesy of Manuel Reuter.

Despite the sucess of Kaliber and Ford, growing stress between Andy Rouse and Ford started brewing over the year - Rouse posing as the main challenger to Tim Harvey in the title race, eventually losing the title due to major technical glitches in his car across the year - led to Kaliber stopped to beeing backed by Ford at the end of 1988 season and switching efforts to the german team Zakspeed, who despite their efforts to keep champion Tim Harvey aboard the project, saw the british depart to lead the Mercedes manufacturer effort in Class C.

List of Champions

Drivers

Season Driver Team Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Tim Harvey Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Kaliber Industrial Control Services Racing 6 15 254

Independents

Season Driver Team Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of Germany svg.png Klaus Ludwig Flag of Germany svg.png Zakspeed 2 16 290

Teams

Season Team Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Kaliber Industrial Control Services Racing 19 44 611

Manufacturer

Season Manufacturer Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of the United States svg.png Ford 20 21 312

Class A

Season Driver Team Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Tim Harvey Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Kaliber Industrial Control Services Racing 7 25 369

Class B

Season Driver Team Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of Japan svg.png Naoki Nagasaka Flag of Japan svg.png Nismo Motorsport 9 19 324

Class C

Season Driver Team Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of Germany svg.png Roland Asch Flag of Germany svg.png Mercedes-Benz AMG Team 7 16 361

Class D

Season Driver Team Wins Podiums Points
1988 Flag of East Germany svg.png Andrea Geisler Flag of Germany svg.png Joest Racing 6 11 176