The BTCC

About the British Touring Car Championship

The British Touring Car Championship is one of the best-loved, most illustrious and famous motor racing championships in the world. Only Formula 1 and America’s NASCAR stock car series have longer histories – since its inception in 1958 it has attracted and captivated millions of fans around the world.

Saloon car racing was a huge success from the very start, with the public packing into Britain’s motor sport venues to watch the top drivers of the day compete in racing versions of their road cars at simply unbelievable speeds. It’s a lasting appeal that to this day continues to deliver a punch and panache that is the envy of every other motor sporting arena in the UK.

Traditional, great British names such as Jaguar, Austin, Ford, Mini, Lotus, Sunbeam and Triumph – often with top international stars, including Formula 1 drivers, at the wheel – were all winners in the first 20 years, each aware of the importance of using the BTCC to showcase their latest models .

By the Eighties, the BTCC was moving with the times and beginning to develop a truly international flavour. Mazda, Toyota and Alfa Romeo were the first three winners of the decade as the championship continued to be run for several classes of car, but the mighty Ford RS500 and BMW M3 – dominant as the Nineties loomed – are probably the two most evocative models of the period.

It was in the Nineties, however, that the BTCC truly boomed. The championship was already beginning to grow in stature, with regular television coverage on the BBC’s flagship sports show, Grandstand. When the decision was taken to make the BTCC exclusively for 2-litre cars, it instantly created closer racing and attracted a host of high-profile manufacturers, teams and drivers to the series. Combined with enhanced television coverage and marketing genius, this made the BTCC essential viewing for millions throughout the UK – and many millions more around the world.

Trackside crowd figures nudged the 40,000 mark as the calendar evolved into a major UK tour with events being added in Scotland and Wales. The social element of the championship quickly became important, and as is the case now, there was no substitute for ‘being there’. Few other sports have enjoyed such a rapid growth in popularity.

Unsurprisingly, manufacturers simply could not afford to miss out on the enormous marketing value of competing in the BTCC and Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota, Vauxhall and Volvo were all quick to join the party. Every one of them has the BTCC to thank for being a part of their ongoing growth in the UK today. Honda, Subaru, BMW, Vauxhall and Toyota reap the rewards by fielding official ‘works’ teams in today’s championship.

Twenty years on, now with unprecedented levels of national television coverage, ITV has agreed a long-term contract extension up until the end of 2022. That same 2-litre formula continues to provide one of motor sport’s most addictive, action-packed atmospheres for an audience of millions. It is the perfect platform for teams, drivers and sponsors to raise their profiles and reputations. 

Technical Overview

All cars have been built to the same NGTC regulations. First introduced in 2011, these technical regulations are designed to dramatically reduce the design, build and running costs of the cars and engines. Only NGTC cars are now eligible to compete in the BTCC.

NGTC allows independent teams to compete on a level playing field against manufacturer-backed efforts by keeping costs down whilst at the same time rewarding precise engineering and all-important split-second strategy.

Teams have the option of running either TOCA’s unbranded NGTC-spec engine or, whether privateer or full manufacturer-backed entries, developing their own powerplant to the regulations, as long as it is from the same ‘family’ as their chosen model of car – all are 350+bhp 2-litre turbo-charged engines.

Championship title/ trophies

There are 6 Championship titles/trophies to be won each season.

  1. Overall Drivers’*
  2. Overall Teams’**
  3. Manufacturers’ Teams
  4. Independent Teams’ **
  5. Independent Drivers’ *
  6. Jack Sears Trophy
  • *Sam Tordoff eligible for these titles.
  • **Cobra Sport AMD with AutoAid RCIB Insurance Racing eligible for these titles.

 

Race Weekend Format

There are 10 events or meetings during a BTCC season, with each event run across a weekend (Saturday and Sunday).

On Saturday there are two Free Practice sessions of 40 minutes and one Qualifying session of 30 minutes, with three BTCC races taking place on the Sunday.

Championship points are awarded based on the finishing positions in the order of; 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for the top 15 finishers. This method of scoring is also applied to independent drivers’ and teams’ championship and the overall teams’.

Single bonus points are also awarded for the fastest qualifier, fastest laps and leading laps during rac each race.

Dunlop Tyres

All tyres used with the BTCC are supplied by Dunlop. Teams nominate their ‘Option’ tyre choices for each weekend prior to Saturday’s qualifying session.

Teams are limited to the use of the ‘Option’ tyre in each of the three races three times during the course of the season – i.e. race three at a maximum of three events, race two at a maximum of three events and so on (subject to adverse conditions, where wet tyres will be used).

The specifically developed ‘Option’ compounds for 2019 are:

  • Soft: Brands Hatch Indy, Oulton Park, Silverstone, Snetterton and Brands Hatch GP
  • Medium: Knockhill, with the Soft compound being the ‘Standard’ tyre
  • Hard: Donington Park and Croft Circuit
  • The Hard compound tyre is the sole dry tyre to be used at Thruxton.

Race Grids

The grid for race one is decided during Saturday’s qualifying session, with the fastest lap securing pole position. The grid for race two is based on the finishing order of race one, with the grid for race three also based on finishing positions; however there is also a reversed-grid element to the starting order. Numbers representing the cars that finished from sixth to 12th position in race two are put into a bowl, and one number is drawn at random. The corresponding car will start on pole, with the cars that finished ahead of it reversed i.e. if number six is chosen, the car that finished sixth in race two will start from pole ahead of the car that finished fifth, fourth, third etc. The remainder of the grid follows as per the finishing order of race two

Cars that are successful in the BTCC must carry ballast (additional weight) in their cars. Ballast is given to the top ten runners in the following allocations: 1st: 54kg, 2nd: 48kg 3rd: 42kg, 4th: 36kg, 5th: 30kg, 6th: 24kg, 7th: 18kg, 8th: 12kg, 9th: 6kg, 10th: 6kg

Between events, ballast is allocated according to championship positions and is carried in qualifying and race one. For races two and three, ballast is allocated according to the finishing positions in race one and two respectively.

The grid for race one is decided during Saturday’s qualifying session, with the fastest lap securing pole position. The grid for race two is based on the finishing order of race one, with the grid for race three also based on finishing positions; however there is also a reversed-grid element to the starting order. Numbers representing the cars that finished from sixth to 12th position in race two are put into a bowl, and one number is drawn at random. The corresponding car will start on pole, with the cars that finished ahead of it reversed i.e. if number six is chosen, the car that finished sixth in race two will start from pole ahead of the car that finished fifth, fourth, third etc. The remainder of the grid follows as per the finishing order of race two

Success Ballast

Cars that are successful in the BTCC must carry ballast (additional weight) in their cars. Ballast is given to the top ten runners in the following allocations: 1st: 54kg, 2nd: 48kg 3rd: 42kg, 4th: 36kg, 5th: 30kg, 6th: 24kg, 7th: 18kg, 8th: 12kg, 9th: 6kg, 10th: 6kg

Between events, ballast is allocated according to championship positions and is carried in qualifying and race one. For races two and three, ballast is allocated according to the finishing positions in race one and two respectively.