British Touring Car Championship is about to see some tweaks in the regulations for the 2013 season. In the dominant NGTC era, turbo boost equalisation regulation has not been well received by teams and drivers last season with varying criticisms and created dissatisfaction in the field.
The changes included new soft compound ‘one-race’ tyres, Jack Sears Trophy, three strikes penalty system aimed at spicing up the spectacle. The new set of regulation changes has been accepted by authorities of different teams while they met up with series bosses, among which, revision on turbo boost adjustment will impact teams and drivers the most.
Turbo Boost Adjustment Regulation:
For the next season, which will also see British Formula Ford Championship return to the support series line-up, no performance parity exists between the NGTC and S2000 machineries which would see increase in baseline boost levels. The rolling boost adjustment system will be retained but the system will be implied to individual teams or drivers rather than particular model of the car or chassis.
The level of boost pressure adjustment (0.125 bar) will be reduced either if increased or decreased and will be checked two or three times a season as contrary to the prevailing rules of for every two race events. This was broadly accepted by teams who are happy to have the rolling system but suggest that this would hurt the technically superior teams and punish the best drivers from the rest if the rule is calculated based on driver’s performance.
New Soft Compound Tyres:
BTCC has taken a page out of F1 as they understood the importance of tyres in racing these days. TOCA has recently announced that the series’ sole supplier, Dunlop, has agreed to provide new soft compound tyres that will stick to the track more firmly giving out a superior performance to the normally used tyres in all events except the high speed Thruxton track which demands new tyres all together. This set of softer compound tyres is part of each driver’s normal 16 per-meeting Dunlop tyre allocation. But it has to be nominated for only one of the scheduled three races (10 races per season out of 30) per event before qualifying and will be known to the public and rival teams with distinct markings at the time of the race start.
If the chosen race is wet, drivers have to use it in the next race if possible and cannot carry it onto the next event. The cars must have four wheels bolted with same set of tyres (either wets or slicks) and cannot have a combination of both. The mixed tyres are a case seen in unfavorable conditions which most often being used by front-wheel drive cars.
Three Strikes Penalty:
BTCC decided to ditch the current penalty points system that punished the on-track transgressors by deducting eight championship points if eight licence points were accumulated and twenty three points deducted for twelve licence points and further could be taken to the administrator for any more actions if needed. But it didn’t seem to work well. In order to tie down the repeat offenders, new ‘three strike’ penalty system is being introduced. Any driver who receives three penalties for on-track driving discipline offences, including verbal warnings, will be relegated six grid spots on the third penalty as well as receiving other penalties. This will surely up the driving standards that have fallen down a bit in recent years.
Jack Sears Trophy for S2000 winners:
On this third season that allows NGTC cars to run, majority of the grid is flooded with the Turbocharged cars – effective in cost-wise and performance. To encourage the S2000 runners, a separate trophy will be awarded to the winning driver on each event and ultimately for the one with most ‘cups’ at the end of the season gets the Jack Sears Trophy from the man himself, the inaugural and two time British Saloon Car champion, Jack Sears at the grand finale in Brads Hatch.
From the Boost and Tyre regulation revisions, it is clear that BTCC is moving towards a spectator sport and not for purists. It would be good if the changes could make the racing much more interesting than it already is. Can’t wait to get it started though until March!!! Hopefully I will be there to make sure you do not miss any of the thrills and spills.
2013 BTCC calendar:
|1.||30-31 March||Brands Hatch Indy|
|2.||20-21 April||Donington Park|
|4.||8-9 June||Oulton Park|
|Brands Hatch GP