The British Touring Car Championship is a touring car racing series held each year in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1958 as the British Saloon Car Championship and was renamed as the British Touring Car Championship in 1987.[1] The championship has been run to various national and international regulations over the years including FIA Group 2, FIA Group 5, FIA Group 1, FIA Group A, FIA Super Touring and FIA Super 2000. A lower-key Group N series for production cars ran for most of the 1990s.

The championship was initially run with a mix of classes, divided according to engine capacity, racing simultaneously. This often meant that a driver who chose the right class could win the overall championship without any chance of overall race wins, thereby devaluing the title for the spectators – for example, in the 1980s Chris Hodgetts won two overall titles in a small Toyota Corolla prepared by Hughes Of Beaconsfield, at that time a Mercedes-Benz/Toyota main dealer when most of the race wins were going to much larger cars; and while the Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500s were playing at the front of the field, Frank Sytner took a title in a Class B BMW M3 and John Cleland's first title was won in a small Class C Vauxhall Astra.

After the domination (and expense) of the Ford Sierra Cosworth in the late 1980s, the BTCC was the first to introduce a 2.0 L formula, in 1990, which later became the template for the Supertouring class that exploded throughout Europe. The BTCC continued to race with Supertouring until 2000 and for 2001 adopted its own BTC Touring rules. However, the Super 2000 rules have now been observed for the overall championship since the 2007 season. The 2000s have seen cheaper cars than the later Supertouring era, with fewer factory teams and fewer international drivers.

In 2009, the BTCC released details of its Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) specification, to be introduced from 2011. The introduction of these new technical regulations were designed to dramatically reduce the design, build and running costs of the cars and engines as well as reducing the potential for significant performance disparities between cars. The NGTC specification also aimed to cut costs by reducing reliance on WTCC/S2000 equipment, due to increasing costs/complexity and concerns as to its future sustainability and direction.[2]

Type of cars[edit | edit source]

File:BTCC Brands06 PaddockHill.jpg

2006 BTCC Race at Brands Hatch

Currently, the cars used are a mix of 2.0 L saloons (sedans) such as the BMW 320si E90 and Chevrolet Cruze and hatchback cars such as the Honda Civic and Ford Focus, based on models from a variety of manufacturers, using Super 2000 regulations matching those of the World Touring Car Championship. The series launched its own BTC Touring specification for 2001, a year before the WTCC began in its current form, however car counts were low. Super 2000 cars were allowed to enter from 2004 to encourage cars to be built for both championships, and became the only cars eligible to win the main title – although several independent teams still run BTC Touring-spec cars.

BTCC teams are a mixture of "works" teams from manufacturers (currently Honda and MG) and independent teams such as Team RAC, 888, and Motorbase. However, in 2010 there were two new works teams, following Vauxhall's decision to pull out of the series: Chevrolet, run by RML; and Honda, run by Team Dynamics.[3] In 2005, Team Dynamics became the first independent outfit to win the BTCC drivers and team championships; Matt Neal won the overall and independent drivers contests in his Team Dynamics Honda Integra. This included finishing all 30 championship races that year, something no other driver has achieved before or since. This ended Vauxhall's run of 4 victories in the drivers and teams championships between 2001 and 2004. Neal and Dynamics were also victorious in 2006, before Vauxhall won the 2007 title with Italian Fabrizio Giovanardi. Team Dynamics also achieved the first overall independents race win in the 'Supertouring' era when Neal won a round of the 1999 BTCC at Donington park, earning the team prize-money of £250,000. As a result of Matt Neal's championship victories, and the fact that Team Dynamics were designing and building their own S2000 Honda Civic Type R(with unofficial support from Honda), they were no longer entered into the Independents category, and were classed as neither an "independent" or "works" team until the 2009 season, when the Manufactures championship was renamed Manufactures/Constructors Championship to allow both Team Aon and Team Dynamics to compete with the now sole works entry of Vauxhall.

There are strict limits to the modifications which can be made to the cars, which are intended to reduce the cost of running a competitive team, which had become prohibitive in the final years of the Super Touring rules. These cost reductions have seen a rise in independent entries – teams or individuals entering cars purchased from the manufacturer teams when they update their chassis. These so-called "ex-works" cars have enjoyed some success. To further keep costs in check, the BTCC uses a "control tyre", with Dunlop the current supplier of rubber to all the teams.

The rules allow for a variety of different fuels in a bid to encourage more efficient cars. In 2004 Mardi Gras Motorsport independently entered a Liquified petroleum gas powered Super 2000 Honda Civic Type-R (which was subsequently replaced by a more competitive BTC-Touring Peugeot 406 Coupé, still LPG powered), and in 2005 Tech-Speed Motorsport converted an ex-works Vauxhall Astra Coupé to run on bio-ethanol fuel. In the middle of 2006, Kartworld's owner-driver Jason Hughes converted his 4-cylinder MG ZS to run on Bio-Ethanol, soon followed by the West Surrey Racing cars of championship contender Colin Turkington and Rob Collard, and for the final event at Silverstone, Richard Marsh converted his Peugeot 307 to run on bio-ethanol fuel. Only Hughes continued on this fuel in 2007 and 2008.

The regulations also permitted cars to run on diesel; attempted first in the 2007 season by Rick Kerry in a BMW 120d E87 run by Team AFM Racing. In 2008 SEAT Sport UK entered two Turbo Diesel Power SEAT Leons – the first diesel powered manufacturer entered cars.

At the start of the 2010 season it was announced that Team AON racing had converted both of their Ford Focus ST cars to run on LPG.

Car regulations[edit | edit source]

File:BTCC DP08 Neal pit 3.jpg

VXRacing Vectra being checked by the scrutineers

Current regulations[edit | edit source]

During the 2011 British Touring Car Championship season, there were three different sets of regulations, which cars have to be built to, eligible to race in the BTCC. There was also a hybrid regulation, S2000/NGTC. where cars were allowed to be built to S2000 regulations but for a NGTC specification engine (with turbo).

  • Next Generation Touring Car. Brand new set of regulations specifically developed for the BTCC as a way of moving the sport forward and cut costs for competitors. Introduced from 2011, these new technical regulations were designed to dramatically reduce the design, build and running costs of the cars and engines as well as reduce reliance on WTCC/S2000 equipment. NGTC cars will maintain present levels of performance until 2013, to ensure performance parity with current S2000 cars.
  • Super 2000. Regulations first introduced to the BTCC in 2004, allowing teams to build cars eligible to race in several different Touring Car Championships, including the World Touring Car Championship.
  • S2000/NGTC Hybrid. From the 2010 season, teams with S2000 chassis were allowed to use a NGTC engine with their car. As of the 2012 season, all teams with S2000 chassis, are using NGTC turbo charged engines.

Previous regulations[edit | edit source]

The following regulations have been applied to the championship:

  • 1958 - unique BTCC regulations [1]
  • 1959 - FIA Appendix J Category C [1]
  • 1960 - ‘silhouette’ special saloon cars (1000cc) [1]
  • 1961 to 1965 - FIA Group 2 [1]
  • 1966 to 1969 - FIA Group 5 [1]
  • 1970 to 1973 - FIA Group 2 [1]
  • 1974 to 1983 - FIA Group 1 [1]
  • 1983 to 1990 - FIA Group A [1]
  • 1991 to 2000 - 2 Litre Touring Car Formula, later becoming FIA Super Touring
  • 2001 to 2011 BTC Touring. The BTCC developed and introduced this specification in 2001, in response to the spiraling costs of the Super Touring specification. However, with the Super 2000 specification being used in the newly reformed World Touring Car Championship, the popularity of the BTC-T spec with top teams and manufactures was short lived. Therefore, from the 2007 season, BTC-T spec cars were no longer allowed to win the championship outright. The 2010 season was meant to be the last year BTC-T cars would be eligible to enter the championship, however Series Director Alan Gow announced a one year extension to allow BTC-T to compete in 2011 (with their base-weight +50 kg on the 2010 season). Only cars that competed in 2010 would be eligible to race in 2011.[4]

Circuits[edit | edit source]

File:BTCC Tracks 2012.png

Circuits for the 2012 season

Being a national championship, the British Touring Car Championship has visited circuits throughout the United Kingdom over its long history. Currently the series visits nine different tracks in England and Scotland. These tracks are: Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Thruxton Circuit, Oulton Park, Croft Circuit, Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit, Knockhill Racing Circuit, Rockingham Motor Speedway and Silverstone Circuit.

In the past, the BTCC has visited Mondello Park in Ireland and Pembrey Circuit in Wales. A street race around the city of Birmingham, know as the Birmingham Superprix, was held in 1989 and 1990. Aintree Motor Racing Circuit, Crystal Palace circuit and Goodwood Circuit have all hosted rounds in the past.

Latest season[edit | edit source]

Main article: 2012 British Touring Car Championship season

The 55th British Touring Car Championship will once again consist of 10 rounds with three races at each round, making it a thirty round competition in total. The racetracks used for the 2012 season will be the same as used for the 2011 season, but not in the same order. The season will begin at Brands Hatch Indy and end at Brands Hatch GP. Cars conforming to the BTC Touring specification are no longer eligible to race, after 11 years in the sport. The points system has also seen an overhaul, with the top 15 cars now receiving points against the previous top 10 cars.

Race format[edit | edit source]

File:Plato + Giovanardi Snetterton 2007.jpg

Championship contenders Jason Plato (SEAT) and Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall) collide during a BTCC race at Snetterton in July 2007. The BTCC is known for being a high-contact series.[5]

On the Saturday of a race weekend there are two practice sessions followed by a 30-minute qualifying session which determines the starting order for the first race on the Sunday, the fastest driver lining up in pole position.

Each race typically consists of between 16 and 25 laps, depending on the length of the circuit. The result of race one determines the grid order for race two (i.e. the winner starts on pole).

For race three, a draw takes place to decide at which place the grid is 'reversed'. This means drivers finishing 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th in race two could take pole position for race 3 depending on the outcome of the draw. For example, if ball number 7 is drawn, the driver finishing in 7th position in race two starts on pole, 6th place starts in second place, 5th place starts in third etc. Drivers finishing in 8th place and beyond would start race three in their finishing order for race two. The draw is normally conducted by a celebrity or VIP, live on TV.

Previous to 2006, the driver finishing in 10th place in race two took pole position for race three. This initiated deliberate race 'fixing', whereby some drivers attempted to finished in 10th place during race two to gain pole position in race three. This "reverse grid" rule polarised opinion: some fans enjoy the spectacle afforded by having unlikely drivers on pole position while faster ones have to battle through the field; others feel it detracts from the purity of the racing. For example, some drivers might decide to slow down and let others pass them, thereby improving their own starting position for the "reverse grid" race, which is contrary to the spirit of motor racing – which is to try to come first in every race. It also led to some safety concerns as drivers would slow dramatically on the approach to the finish line, with cars behind forced to take evasive action to avoid collecting slower cars ahead. These factors contributed the rule change for the 2006 season.

Points system[edit | edit source]

Current points system[edit | edit source]

Points are awarded to the top fifteen drivers in each race as follows:

Current BTCC points system (2012 onwards)
Race  1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th   8th   9th   10th   11th   12th   13th   14th   15th  Pole Position Fastest Lap Lead A Lap
R1 20 17 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 1 1
R2 20 17 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 1
R3 20 17 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 1

  • No driver may collect more than one "Lead a Lap" point per race no matter how many laps they lead.

Previous points system[edit | edit source]

Points are awarded to the top ten drivers in each race as follows:

BTCC points system
Race  1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th   8th   9th   10th  Pole Position Fastest Lap Lead A Lap
R1 15 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 1 1
R2 15 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 1
R3 15 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 1

  • No driver may collect more than one "Lead a Lap" point per race no matter how many laps they lead.

Television coverage[edit | edit source]

In the UK, ITV has covered the series since 2002, with commentary from Ben Edwards and former champion Tim Harvey. In 2006 this included highlights from the first and second race of the day and live coverage of the third and final race. This returned in the second half of 2007, after the first five meetings had been on ITV3 (a digital channel with fewer viewers), with a half-hour late-night highlights show. ITV1 also has a Sunday night show called Motorsport UK, featuring many of the supporting races. In 2008, the races are being screened live on ITV4, along with the support races. ITV1 has a one-hour highlights programme on the Monday night following the race.

Prior to that, the BBC used to screen highlights of every race, from 1988 to 2001. The F1 commentator at the time, Murray Walker used to do the commentary. From 1997, some races were screened live with Charlie Cox joining Murray Walker in the commentary box. After 1997 the commentary team was Charlie Cox and John Watson with Murray Walker dedicating his time to Formula 1.

The series is also screened in other countries. In Australia, Fox Sports Australia have been covering the BTCC championship since 2000. From 2009 the ITV coverage has screened on ONE HD[1]. Speed TV is screening the 2009 season in the USA over the winter.

Motors TV used to show all the races live, including some support races, both in the UK and across Europe.[2] In 2007 Setanta Sports showed all the races live, including the support races, although this did not continue in 2008.

TV coverage[edit | edit source]

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TV Coverage of 2012 Season
Country TV Network Language Qualifying Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Notes
Template:Flagicon United Kingdom[6] ITV4 / ITV4 HD English Template:No Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:YesTemplate:Refn Up to 7 Hours of coverage per meeting (also shows live and delayed coverage of support races). Simulcast High Definition coverage on ITV4 HD
90 minute highlight show of all 3 races and qualifying
ITV Sport Website English Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Template:Yes Live video stream. Template:Font color available to watch anytime after the race via the Race Archive
ITV1 / ITV1 HD English Template:No
90 minute highlight show of all 3 races and qualifying. Simulcast High Definition coverage on ITV1 HD

Live timing[edit | edit source]

Live timing for the BTCC and its support races, as well as testing, is provided by Timing Solutions Ltd from their website. This service allows you to follow free practice and qualifying as well as race day action via a timing screen from your computer or mobile phone.

Previous champions[edit | edit source]

Main article: List of BTCC champions

Currently, five championships are awarded per season. The overall driver's championship is the driver gaining the most points overall throughout the season. Since 1992, the Independents driver championship has also been awarded to the leading non-manufacturer-backed driver. There are also awards for the best overall team, leading manufacturer and, since 2004, the top independent team. Previous championship titles were awarded to the leading "Production" (or "Class B") driver and team between 2000 and 2003.

File:1958 Jack Sears.JPG

The Austin A105 with which Jack Sears won the 1958 British Saloon Car Championship

Season Overall Independent Production
Drivers' Champion Manufacturers' Champion [4] Teams' Champion [4] Drivers' Champion Teams' Champion Drivers' Champion Teams' Champion
1958 Template:Flagicon Jack Sears none none
1959 Template:Flagicon Jeff Uren none none
1960 Template:Flagicon Doc Shepherd none none
1961 Template:Flagicon Sir John Whitmore none none
1962 Template:Flagicon John Love none none
1963 Template:Flagicon Jack Sears none none
1964 Template:Flagicon Jim Clark none none
1965 Template:Flagicon Roy Pierpoint none Weybridge Engineering Company [5]
1966 Template:Flagicon John Fitzpatrick none Team Lotus [6]
1967 Template:Flagicon Frank Gardner none none
1968 Template:Flagicon Frank Gardner none none
1969 Template:Flagicon Alec Poole none none
1970 Template:Flagicon Bill McGovern none none
1971 Template:Flagicon Bill McGovern none none
1972 Template:Flagicon Bill McGovern none none
1973 Template:Flagicon Frank Gardner none none
1974 Template:Flagicon Bernard Unett none none
1975 Template:Flagicon Andy Rouse Chevrolet Camaro [7]
Triumph Dolomite [7]
1976 Template:Flagicon Bernard Unett none none
1977 Template:Flagicon Bernard Unett none none
1978 Template:Flagicon Richard Longman none none
1979 Template:Flagicon Richard Longman none none
1980 Template:Flagicon Win Percy none none
1981 Template:Flagicon Win Percy none none
1982 Template:Flagicon Win Percy none none
1983 Template:Flagicon Andy Rouse none none
1984 Template:Flagicon Andy Rouse none none
1985 Template:Flagicon Andy Rouse none none
1986 Template:Flagicon Chris Hodgetts none none
1987 Template:Flagicon Chris Hodgetts none none
1988 Template:Flagicon Frank Sytner none none
1989 Template:Flagicon John Cleland none none
1990 Template:Flagicon Robb Gravett none none Independent
1991 Template:Flagicon Will Hoy BMW none Drivers' Champion Teams' Champion
1992 Template:Flagicon Tim Harvey Vauxhall none Template:Flagicon James Kaye
1993 Template:Flagicon Joachim Winkelhock BMW none Template:Flagicon Matt Neal
1994 Template:Flagicon Gabriele Tarquini Alfa Romeo none Template:Flagicon James Kaye
1995 Template:Flagicon John Cleland Renault Vauxhall Sport Template:Flagicon Matt Neal
1996 Template:Flagicon Frank Biela Audi Audi Sport Template:Flagicon Lee Brookes
1997 Template:Flagicon Alain Menu Renault Williams Renault Dealer Racing Template:Flagicon Robb Gravett
1998 Template:Flagicon Rickard Rydell Nissan Vodafone Nissan Racing Template:Flagicon Tommy Rustad Production
1999 Template:Flagicon Laurent Aiello Nissan Vodafone Nissan Racing Template:Flagicon Matt Neal Drivers' Champion Teams' Champion
2000 Template:Flagicon Alain Menu Ford Ford Team Mondeo Template:Flagicon Matt Neal Template:Flagicon Alan Morrison
2001 Template:Flagicon Jason Plato Vauxhall Vauxhall Motorsport none Template:Flagicon Simon Harrison GR Motorsport
2002 Template:Flagicon James Thompson Vauxhall Vauxhall Motorsport Template:Flagicon Dan Eaves Template:Flagicon James Kaye Synchro Motorsport
2003 Template:Flagicon Yvan Muller Vauxhall VX Racing Template:Flagicon Rob Collard Template:Flagicon Luke Hines Barwell Motorsport
2004 Template:Flagicon James Thompson Vauxhall VX Racing Template:Flagicon Anthony Reid
2005 Template:Flagicon Matt Neal Vauxhall Team Halfords Template:Flagicon Matt Neal Team Halfords
2006 Template:Flagicon Matt Neal SEAT Team Halfords Template:Flagicon Matt Neal Team Halfords
2007 Template:Flagicon Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall SEAT Sport UK Template:Flagicon Colin Turkington Team RAC
2008 Template:Flagicon Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall VX Racing Template:Flagicon Colin Turkington Team RAC
2009 Template:Flagicon Colin Turkington Vauxhall VX Racing Template:Flagicon Colin Turkington Team RAC
2010 Template:Flagicon Jason Plato Honda Honda Racing Team Template:Flagicon Tom Chilton Team Aon
2011 Template:Flagicon Matt Neal Honda Honda Racing Team Template:Flagicon James Nash Triple 8 Race Engineering

Series sponsors[edit | edit source]

The BTCC has had several championship sponsors over the years.

Year Sponsor
1960 Supa Tura
1974 Castrol Anniversary
1976 Keith Prowse
1983 Trimoco
1989–92 Esso
1993–2000 Auto Trader
2002–04 Green Flag
2008–09 HiQ

Support races[edit | edit source]

At each BTCC race meeting, the crowds are kept further entertained by the appearance of high profile supporting championships from the manufacturers Ginetta, Porsche and Renault.[8]

2012 BTCC support package[edit | edit source]


File:Ginetta G50 Cup.jpg

A Ginetta G50 Supercup car.

File:Carrera cup field.jpg

Porsche Carrera Cup GB Race at Donington Park

The 2012 ToCA Support Package will consist of four main support championships, which will support the championship at almost every round, along with several smaller championships supporting one or two events. All the support championships are Single Make Championships.

The Ginetta GT Supercup is a GT style, multi class championship. The main class is the G55, utilising Ginetta's G55 car. The second class, known as the G50 class, utilises the older and less powerful Ginetta G50. Most weekends in 2012 see three Supercup races with a few rounds hosting only two races. Ginetta also run a championship on the support package that caters for up and coming young talent in the form of the Ginetta Junior Championship. These 14 to 17 year olds race in identical Ginetta G40J cars with strict regulations which help keep costs down. In 2012, the championship with run two races at all BTCC weekends.

Out of all the current support series, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is the longest serving support championship. Drivers compete in identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 997) cars which produce 450bhp. The three tier championship splits drivers according to their racing experience. Professional drivers compete in the Pro class, with semi-professional and amateur drivers racing in either Pro-Am1 or Pro-Am2. In 2012, the Carrera Cup will hold two races at each BTCC meeting.

Finally, the Renault Clio Cup UK allows aspiring touring car drivers to showcase their talent in this single make series, utilising Clio Renaultsport 197 cars. The championship awards three different titles for drivers. Along with the overall drivers’ championship, younger rookie drivers can chase points for the Graduate Cup and older gentlemen drivers can seek points for the Masters Cup. During 2012, the Clio Cup will hold two races at all BTCC weekends except the rounds at Croft and Knockhill.

Several other championships will also support the BTCC throughout 2012 at one or two meetings. The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and Formula Renault BARC will support the championship at Silverstone, while the Scottish Classic Sports and Saloons and Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup will support the BTCC at the Croft and Knockhill rounds.

Early in 2012, the long supporting Formula Renault UK championship announced that it had cancelled its 2012 season after only receiving six entries and hoped to return for the 2013 season.[9] ToCA did not select an alternative series to replace the Formula Renaults.

Previous support races[edit | edit source]

File:Jonathan Adam 2008 SEAT Cupra Croft.jpg

A SEAT Cupra Championship race, at Croft during 2008.

Template:Expand list

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  4. 4.0 4.1 BTCC Champions Retrieved from on 15 August 2012
  5. 1965 British Saloon Car Championship Retrieved from on 15 August 2012
  6. 1966 British Saloon Car Championship Retrieved from on 15 August 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 1975 Southern Organs British Saloon Car Championship Retrieved from on 9 September 2012
  9. Template:Cite web

External links[edit | edit source]


Template:BTCC cars Template:BTCC seasons Template:Motorsport in the UK Template:Use dmy dates

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