FIA WTCC at Sonoma

26 Sep

When it was announced that the FIA World Touring Car Championships (WTCC) series was coming to Sonoma, CA this year I was genuinely excited! I’ve been a huge fan of touring car racing going back to the 1990’s North American Touring Car Championships when Dodge and Honda were duking it out in Stratuses and Accords.

The touring car scene here in the US has had its ups and downs. In the early 2000’s, the Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car division was STACKED with tons of cars. I remember there being races at Limerock where they had to limit the car count! My wife and I also were thrilled to watch Roger Foo driver his Honda Civic to a commanding victory over the factory teams at Laguna Seca in 2001.  I can say that shortly thereafter, my wife became a fan of Mazda (due to their involvement in World Challenge), and since we’ve owned 5 of them (Protege5, Mazda6i, Mazda6s Wagon, CX-9, Mazda6 Wagon).

As Grand-Am started to become more popular with the professional and semi-pro racers, car counts in World Challenge began to fall. I was and remain to be more of a fan of the World Challenge touring car spec than of the GrandAm ST class cars.  GrandAM ST cars are simply too “stock” for my liking. I know why they are doing it (keeps costs down), but it makes the cars less appealing to the fans IMO.

I was hoping to make it up to Sonoma for the WTCC race this year, but it simply wasn’t in the cards to do so. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the FIA and Sonoma agree to bring the series back for 2013. I realize the spectator numbers may not have been huge, but this was the first year visiting the facility. If the WTCC consistently returns to Sonoma, and both parties involved do a good job of promoting the event, fan counts will increase.

As fans of this type of racing, we should all send an email to Sonoma, thanking them for hosting the WTCC and encouraging them to bring the series back in the future. Shoot them an email here:

For some additional coverage of the event, be sure to check out

And for a driver’s perspective, check out the coverage and photos from Larry Chen at

I know that many of us like to complain about SPEED mostly featuring NASCAR races and themed shows. So when we have a race like the WTCC air on SPEED, we need to do our part to make sure the decision-makers know there ARE fans out there who want to watch racing other than NASCAR.  Take a few minutes to send some emails out today! 🙂


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