Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC), in conjunction with the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), can today confirm that, subject to signature of the Event Promoter’s Agreement, Saudi Arabia will host the FIA World Touring Car Cup 2022 finale at the world-class Jeddah Corniche Circuit later this year in a series of night races.
Set to take place on 25th-27th November, the arrival of the exhilarating and action-packed series from Discovery Sports Events and the FIA in Jeddah marks the first official international touring car race to ever take place in the Kingdom. The Saudi event will form Rounds 17 & 18 of the final calendar and joins the 2022 WTCR calendar alongside two additional races in Bahrain (Rounds 15 & 16) in place of the planned Asia leg of races that could not go ahead this year due to restrictions resulting from the global health pandemic. The changes have been approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council and represent a big opportunity for the WTCR, which has never previously visited the Middle East, a key motorsport hub.
As a current host of Formula 1, Formula E, Dakar Rally and Extreme E, the confirmation of WTCR’s arrival in Saudi Arabia continues to showcase the Kingdom as the new home for global, prestige motorsport events in the Middle East. In doing so, it furthers the SMC’s long-term goal of leveraging the power of motorsports to deliver directly against the Kingdom’s transformative Vision 2030.
As part of its commitment to expanding its motorsport portfolio and hosting top level events, SMC has devised a shortened homologated FIA Grade 3 track within the existing Jeddah Corniche Circuit complex that will allow for some thrilling racing action. The exciting, alternative 3.45-kilometre track is a shortened variant of the main track that has been home to the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix since 2021. With a new shortcut at beginning at Turn 4, the new layout has been tailor-made for bumper-to-bumper, doorhandle-to-doorhandle racing whilst channelling the Jeddah Corniche Circuit’s status as the world’s fastest street circuit. The FIA WTCR 2022 will be the first racing series to put wheels to track on this exciting development in what is expected to be another flood-lit night race on the Red Sea coast.
HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the Saudi Motorsport Company, was delighted to welcome WTCR to Saudi Arabia, highlighting the many opportunities hosting such a prestigious event brings: “We are thrilled to host the FIA World Touring Car Cup for the first time later this year and are immensely grateful to the FIA and Discovery Sports Events for helping to make this happen. The arrival of another racing series of global stature in Saudi Arabia confirms the extent of the Kingdom’s transformation into a centre for motorsport in the region and further speeds up the rate of progress we are seeing as a result of hosting such major events. This year alone we have been home to the Dakar Rally, Formula E and Extreme E events. Additionally, we hosted Formula 1 for the second time at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in March. We now look forward with great excitement to continuing this run of success by staging the FIA World Touring Car Cup season finale on our newly configured circuit.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, WTCR Director, Discovery Sports Events, said:“The opportunity to complete the 2022 season in Saudi Arabia and at the state-of-the-art Jeddah Corniche Circuit is fantastic for the WTCR and its stakeholders and we thank the Saudi Arabian Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and Saudi Motorsport Company for their ongoing support. But this will be no ordinary event as the excellent facilities available at the track will allow the deciding races of the year to take place at night. This will not only enhance the spectacular show the WTCR drivers will provide on a made-for-touring-car-racing layout specifically homologated for our series but will also create an extra buzz for fans at the track and watching on TV and online around the world. We hope this will be the first of many visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we look forward to a warm welcome, creating new partnerships and making new friends.”