A leading touring car championship has been added to the support race programme of the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

It will be the Bahrain debut of the globally renowned championship.

The support programme now features two exciting categories, including TCR and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.

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TCR will be holding the first of 11 rounds in its 2016 season at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”. The rest of the campaign will see events in Estoril (Portugal), Spa (Belgium), Monza (Italy), Salzburgring (Austria), Oschersleben (Germany), Sochi (Russia), Buriram (Thailand), Singapore, Sepang (Malaysia), and Macau.

The event format features two free practice sessions and one qualifying session split between Q1 (for the whole field) and Q2 (for the fastest 12 drivers). There are two 60km races at each meeting; the grids for both races are based on the qualifying results, with the fastest ten drivers in Q2 reversed on the grid for race two.

Subaru STi - TCR
Subaru STi - TCR

TCR International Series was conceived and launched by Marcello Lotti, the man who revived the FIA World Touring Car Championship back in 2005. He envisioned a new class that could fill a gap at the bottom of the Touring Car pyramid, one that was affordable for car manufacturers and independent teams alike and was capable of offering close and exciting races.

Six brands of car manufacturers are to be represented at in the series’ races in Bahrain – SEAT, Honda, Volkswagen, Opel, Subaru and Alfa Romeo – with at least two more planning to join the series within the coming months.

Stefano Comini from Switzerland was crowned the inaugural TCR International Series Drivers’ Champion in the season finale in Macau last year and he returns to defend his title in a Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR.

Among the other returning drivers are Gianni Morbidelli, Kevin Gleason, Pepe Oriola, Mikhail Grachev, Jordi Oriola, Sergey Afansasyev and Loris Hezemans, while drivers new to TCR include Dušan Borković, Mat’o Homola, James Nash, Michela Cerruti and Jean-Karl Vernay.

The addition of the TCR International Series to the support race programme adds to the many offerings for race fans at the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

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