BTCC could adopt new qualifying format again for 2021

The British Touring Car Championship could adopt the experimental qualifying format used for last weekend's penultimate round at Snetterton at more meetings next season

BTCC could adopt new qualifying format again for 2021

Instead of a single 30-minute qualifying session to set the grid for the first of the three races, the field was sent out for a 25-minute session.

This set the starting order for 11th position down, with the top 10 then going through to a 10-minute pole position shootout following a five-minute break.

"I think it worked well, although there's a couple of things I'd change just operationally," BTCC boss Alan Gow told Autosport.

"When the 25-minute session finished we probably needed to leave a bit more time, because especially on this long lap the cars coming into the pitlane need more time to sort out tyres and things for the shootout.

"Other than that, operationally it went well, and generally the teams liked it.

"We have an annual teams' meeting a couple of weeks after the last race, and we'll discuss whether we'll expand it for more rounds or all rounds," he added.

Snetterton is the longest circuit on the BTCC schedule, with lap times in the mid-1m50s, and some believe that the format could be better suited to shorter tracks.

Last weekend's shootout was also affected by cold weather, with eight of the 10 cars involved going out at the start of the session and circulating for four flying laps to get heat into their tyres.

AmD boss Shaun Hollamby, whose team runs the MB Motorsport Honda Civics and Trade Price Cars Audi S3s, said: "I think it would work better on a shorter circuit where people would get two stabs at it [with a mid-session pitstop].

"The pressure is the same as it always is to get in the top 10, but strategy does come into it with tyres.

"For example, we sent Jake Hill out at the end of the first session just to get some heat into the rear tyres to carry into the shootout."

Championship leader Colin Turkington, who put his BMW on pole via the new format, said: "I enjoyed it - it was definitely more pressure than a normal qualifying.

"I was conscious just to do enough in Q1, and I got a pretty good opening run, which was good enough to make it through, but in Q2 the pressure was on."

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Series BTCC
Teams BTC Racing
Author Marcus Simmons
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