British Touring Car Championship rule tweak could hurt BMR Subarus

A British Touring Car Championship rule change for 2017 could remove a key strength of the Team BMR Subaru Levorgs

British Touring Car Championship rule tweak could hurt BMR Subarus

All cars will be examined to make sure that the centre of gravity of each different type does not give them a substantial advantage over other competitors in the category.

The move is designed to level the playing field between different configurations of car.

Team BMR built four of the estate-shaped Levorg machines for this season, with the factory-backed cars driven by Colin Turkington, Jason Plato, James Cole and team principal Warren Scott.

The two-litre turbocharged Subarus have a flat-four boxer configuration engine, which means the weight in the powerplant is carried lower down in the chassis compared to cars fitted with the usual in-line four cylinder motors.

The advantageous engine configuration was one of the reasons that Team BMR opted to build the Japanese car.

The Subaru had a difficult introduction, with fuel rail problems at the start of the season and an issue with the inlet manifold, which would not let the motor breathe properly.

Once the manifold was upgraded due to a technical dispensation from the series bosses, from the meeting at Oulton Park in June, the cars were often the pacesetters.

How Subaru's BTCC form turned around

The weight distribution was one of the key elements that made it the strongest package on the grid towards the end of 2016. But now it seems likely that this advantage will be removed.

Turkington won five races in the Levorg and finished in fourth place in the standings, while Plato won at Knockhill in August and was seventh in the points.

At a recent team managers' meeting, representatives of the other outfits on the grid voted in favour of series bosses coming up with a formula to level out the centre of gravity.

Team principal Scott said he was disappointed by the decision, but recognised that this had been done at the behest of rival squads.

"This is a shame, but it is how the championship works, and we signed up to the BTCC and its regulations," he said.

"There was a perception that we had an advantage with the weight distribution of the car, but I am not sure that is true.

"I would argue that our speed towards the end of the 2016 campaign came because we were going into each of the race meetings without too much success ballast.

"We have to accept this and move on."

The rule clarification means that Team BMR can now build examples for privateers if they are required.

Scott added: "We have looked into building more cars, and if there is a desire for them, then we could do that.

"We have yet to put our plans together for next year but we are working hard."

Sources in the paddock also suggest that Team BMR could operate two outfits next season.

One would be the factory-backed team and it could also field an independent team with two cars.

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