Brands Hatch has added another world-class motorsport event to its calendar for 2006 with the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) joining the grid for the next three years.
The legendary Kent venue will host rounds five and six of the Championship on its full-length 2.6-mile Grand Prix circuit on May 20/21 next year. The date will be the only WTCC event in the UK next season and means that newly crowned champion, Briton Andy Priaulx, will defend his title on home ground.
Guernsey-born Priaulx won the WTCC crown at the final round of this year's inaugural championship in Macau, China, for BMW Team UK. He is Britain's first circuit racing World Champion since Damon Hill won the F1 title in 1996.
With manufacturers of the calibre of Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford and SEAT all represented in the series, the WTCC combines top-class machinery with the rough and tumble of touring car racing. As well as British champion Priaulx, who is sure to draw big support from his home fans, the championship also features some of the best tin-top racers in the world, such as former British Touring Car champions Alain Menu, Rickard Rydell, Gabriele Tarquini and James Thompson.
Motorsport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer, who himself raced for BMW in touring cars in the past, commented: "Top touring car racing provides fantastic entertainment and I have been very impressed with the rapid development of the WTCC. We are thrilled that the UK round of this FIA World Championship will be racing on our Grand Prix circuit for the next three years at an event that could be the biggest of the year at Brands Hatch, as Andy defends the title in his BMW."
Marcello Lotti, General Manager of Championship promoter KSO, said: "We are delighted to have a three-year agreement with MotorSport Vision. With its superb viewing, spectacular setting, proximity to London and the impressive improvements that Jonathan Palmer's team has achieved, we have no doubt that Brands Hatch will be a success for the Race of UK."