Two night fights and Mondello on 2001 bill

The BTCC's 2001 calendar will definitely include two night races and a trip across the water to Mondello Park in Ireland

Two night fights and Mondello on 2001 bill

The new schedule was one of a number of BTCC facets confirmed by TOCA Tour director Richard West on Friday. Also on his bill of changes is reduction in the amount of testing allowed, confirmation that the Formula Renault, Lotus Elise and Renault Clio series will be the BTCC's only regular support races, and a strong indication that the rear-wheel drive Lexus will be eligible to run in 2001.

The new calendar features a number of changes from that previously published, the most notable being that Mondello Park is on the schedule without proviso. West is absolutely confident that the Irish track will be brought up to standard in good time, and confirmed that Silverstone will again run a night race, though not as in 2000 at the end of the season, but in mid-summer - on June 1/2.

The old half-day official test on the day before qualifying has been abandoned, but BTC Touring cars will have two 45-minute free practice sessions on qualifying day and BTC Production cars one 45-minute turn. "We've been looking at costs," said West, "and we've squeezed things into two days, which will save the teams money."

West revealed he has now received a formal request that the rear-wheel drive Lexus IS200 be put on the list of eligible cars for the BTC Touring class. Barring unforeseen technical obstacles the car, which privateer team ABG Motorsport has plans to run, will be allowed to race in 2001.

The shape of the BTCC's support package has also become slightly clearer. Stalwart series supporters Formula Renault and Renault Clios are back again, as is the Lotus Elise Championship, which ran at most meetings in 2000. In addition there will be up to two guest race slots at each meeting.

No decisions have yet been taken about how they will be filled, but West indicated that he is looking for races that will bring noise and spectacle to the show. He mentioned both Thoroughbred Grand Prix cars and the historic Supersports cars, plus the intention that races or demonstrations for historic Lotuses could be organised. He will also be making sure that there is space on programmes for non-competitive or off-track entertainment elements designed to appeal to the whole family.

A package of prize money and incentives is under discussion and should be announced by mid December, when finalised sporting regulations should also be published.


April 15/16, Brands Hatch Indy
May 6/7, Thruxton
May 19/20, Oulton Park (Island)
June 1/2, Silverstone International (night race)
June 16/17, Mondello Park
June 30/July 1, Donington Park (International)
July 21/22, Knockhill
August 3/4, Snetterton (night race)
August 11/12, Croft
August 25/26, Oulton Park Island
September 8/9, Silverstone International
September 15/16, Donington Park International
October 6/7, Brands Hatch Indy

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