The Super Touring era marked the zenith for the British Touring Car Championship. But budgets had crept above eight figures meaning those 'Formula 1 cars with mudguards' were not long for the motorsport world. As the new millennium approached, manufacturers headed for the door and took many of the star-name drivers with them.
The BTC-Touring regulations, introduced for the 2001 season, were drafted to rein in the crazed excess. Out went the swathes of carbon fibre and aerodynamic appendages, in came standardised brakes, gearboxes and differentials.
After such a peak, some kind of slump was inevitable. To minimise the impact as far as possible, what the flagship national series and its new boss Richard West needed was a grid packed with entries and a multi-make, hotly-contested championship battle. Instead, what lay ahead was a series suffering through one of its lowest ebbs.