New rules for BTCC

Next year's BTCC will be run for two-litre front wheel drive cars designed to look spectacular and encourage close racing, while costs are slashed dramatically

New rules for BTCC

New BTCC organiser British Motorsport Promoters (BMP) today (Tuesday) announced details of its technical regulations to a meeting of over 35 representatives of past and present BTCC manufacturers and BTCC and National Saloon Championship teams, less than a week after completing its purchase of its predecessor TOCA.

It has opted for a low-tech, low-cost formula, which harks back to the most successful years of the out-going 2-litre category in 1992 and 1993. Manufacturers requests to allow two-door cars like the Vauxhall Astra Coupe and larger hatchbacks like the Ford Focus have been agreed and you can expect to see both those cars competing in 2001.

A major part of the cost-cutting strategy involves the mandatory use of a parts kit. All cars will use a list of standard components from a single source and it's possible that all cars of a particular model will have to use another kit of standard parts from a single preparation firm. The aim is partly to reduce prices through bulk-buying and more importantly to freeze development, and its attendant costs, in key areas. Final decisions on the technical regulations will be taken in the next few days, and it is expected that race formats, sporting rules and promotion strategy will be announced within a month.

The use of the second kit of parts from the preparation firm is an idea taken from the Superstars formula proposed by Italian promoter Maurizio Flammini (whose company, like Brands Hatch Leisure, one of the major players in the BMP consortium of British circuits, is part of the Octagon Group of sports promotion companies). Rumours have abounded about a possible link between Superstars and the BTCC, and Flammini was at today's meeting, when his proposal of a 3-litre class for the BTCC was firmly rejected. It's still unclear whether Flammini will include a 2-litre BTCC rules class in his International Superstars Championship, which is due to be launched in Monte Carlo next week.

BMP expects that a 2001 works budget, to design and build a car and run a two car works team in, will be as little as £1.5million (current factory BTCC budgets are around £6 million to £10 million). The aim is to attract fields of 25 to 30 cars and produce close racing at speeds similar to those achieved in the halcyon days of 1992 -'93.

New BTCC formula key points:

Spec: 2-litre (from base-engines between 1.8 and 2.2-litres), limited to 270bhp by air restrictor, with particular scope to modify for reliability.

Near-standard, but modified for durability and safety. Wheel-arch extensions allow bigger wheels, without need to modify inner-arches. Neutral (ie ineffective) aero kit.

Close to production, but strengthened for reliability.

Six-speed sequential - standard box from single manufacturer for all.

Kit 1: Must be used by all cars and includes gearbox, wheels, brakes and diff.
Kit 2 (to be confirmed): Must be used by all competitors using a particular model, produced by a manufacturer-nominated preparation company it includes bodyshell, major engine parts and aero kit.

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