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The FIA first introduced a European Touring Car Championship in 1963 with circuit races and hillclimbs originally qualifying rounds. Champions were awarded in three separate classes from 1965-71 before a single, overall winner was announced from 1972.
BMW dominated from the middle of that decade – the Munich-based manufacturer winning the drivers' championship each year from 1975-83. That run was broken by Tom Walkinshaw's Jaguar XJ-S that won both the all-important Spa 24 hours and ETCC title in 1984. The championship was suspended after 1988 with touring car championships now reserved for national series.
The European Touring Car Championship was restored to the calendar in 2000 as part of Eurosport television's Super Racing Weekend. Originally dominated by Fabrizio Giovanardi's Alfa Romeo, the series was elevated to World Championship status in 2005.