BTCC teams planning non-championship festival event for 2016

British Touring Car Championship teams are drawing up plans for a special non-points festival-style touring car event that will take place next summer at Donington Park, Motorsport News has revealed

BTCC teams planning non-championship festival event for 2016

It is one of the ideas that have been tabled by the new British Touring Car Championship teams' commercial body, which was formed after Snetterton this season and is looking at ways of increasing the revenue of the entrants.

The prime movers behind the new group are Team BMR head Warren Scott and Triple Eight Racing head Ian Harrison, but Rob Austin Racing team manager Richard Austin has drawn up the festival plan.

He wants a special showdown that would provisionally take place on July 17, one week after the British Grand Prix.

Because the festival event will be outside the BTCC structure, races can be varied in length, the qualifying procedure can be different and guest drivers will be eligible to take part.

"What we want is a totally touring car-focused meeting, and we have had very positive early talks with Donington Park," said Austin Sr.

"We are definitely going to mix up the format of the race day, the whole thing.

"I want to make it totally immersive for the crowd in terms of the racing and the appearances of the drivers, and them getting close to the cars.

"One of the ideas is for heats and a final instead of just three races.

"We could even make it an endurance-style race or a two-driver race or we invite some star names in - that sort of thing has happened before.

"There are already people out there who want to do a one-off race in a touring car, and because this festival is outside the regulations, they would be able to take part."

The weekend would feature on-site entertainment, including a stage for bands to perform, and the push will be to get fans to camp over the course of the weekend.

Austin hopes the race meeting would be augmented by other support events, such as the HSCC-run Super Touring Car Trophy that has twice appeared on the BTCC's TOCA package.

Other teams have supported the idea, and 2013 champion Andrew Jordan is among several drivers also backing the concept.

"The touring car weekends are great as they are, but to give the fans something different is a super plan," he told Motorsport News.

"I remember the old days of the PowerTour package, and there was so much more going on around the race meeting than just the on-track stuff, and that sounds like what they are trying to do here.

"I am sure there will be some entrants who don't want to do it because of the costs, but mixing up the format would be exciting for the drivers and offer something different."

BTCC series director Alan Gow said he was aware of the plan and would not stop them putting together the independent event.

The last non-championship touring car events featuring cars from the BTCC was the RAC Tourist Trophy, which took place at Donington Park in 1997 and was won by Alain Menu's Renault Laguna.

For more on the plans, and reaction to the 2015 BTCC finale, pick up the latest copy of Motorsport News - available now

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