The FIA World Touring Car Championship will bring its furious fender-banging style of competition to American soil for the first time in 2012 with a Sept. 23 event scheduled for the raceway in Sonoma.

The WTCC, one of the four World Championships ruled by the Fédèration International de l’Automobile, features the best in touring car racing with models such as BMW, Chevrolet, SEAT and Ford. There are 12 events on the 2012 calendar across North America, Europe, South America and Asia.

WTCC series representatives visited the raceway in Sonoma over the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, including drivers Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and James Nash. The drivers participated in a press conference to introduce the series and also gave media members laps around the twisting road course. They are looking forward to coming back to the circuit, Sept. 21-23. The WTCC has a three-year agreement with the Sonoma Valley facility (2012-2014).

“The track is great! Very demanding, with a lot of ups and downs, a couple of very fast turns and different places where overtaking is possible. It will suit very well our racing cars and I’m quite sure that we will treat American motorsport enthusiasts to exciting, action-packed races,” said 2009 World Champion Gabriele Tarquini.

The September race weekend in Sonoma will be highlighted by two 50-kilometre (approximately 31.06 miles) WTCC sprint races on Sunday, Sept. 23, that will include plenty of action. With just 30 minutes in each race, drivers will make active use of their fenders to reach the front of the field.

“The first time I saw these cars race, I knew they belonged on our track,” said Steve Page, raceway president and general manager, who attended the WTCC event in Valencia, Spain, last year.  “From the moment the green flag drops, the whole field is in a flat-out sprint for the lead.  It’s going to be quite a show.”

The September weekend will also provide the raceway with a global audience as the races will be broadcast on Eurosport, which reaches 123 million homes across 59 countries, and the TV feed will also be distributed to 78 channels worldwide.

For more information on the WTCC, please visit www.fiawtcc.com. For ticket information, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or visit racesonoma.com.