A new breed of low-cost tin-top racer will form the basis of the British Touring Car Championship from 2011.
‘Next Generation Touring Car’ rules have been devised to slash build and running costs by up to 50 per cent compared with the current Super 2000 cars. They will also guarantee a supply of cars at a time when, according to series boss Alan Gow, there are doubts about the “future direction and sustainability” of the S2000 formula.
BTCC technical boss Peter Riches said: “The cost of the existing cars has gone back up and the engine bills are astronomical. Development costs for the present cars are unsustainable.”
Riches and the leading players in the BTCC have come up with a formula for 2-litre turbocharged petrol engines that can run for a whole season without a rebuild. A series of standard or ’spec’ parts – including suspension, brakes and engine management systems – will result in economies of scale aimed at benefiting all competitors.
Series organiser TOCA also plans to commission its own engine, allowing teams to avoid the cost of developing new powerplants. No fewer than 13 tuners have already enquired about the tender process to produce this new engine.
Riches explained that the second motivation for the new rules was to ensure a stock of cars for the future.
“There is a real problem sourcing up-to-date S2000 cars right now if you don’t want to buy a BMW,” he said. “If the supply of S2000 cars dries up and the cost of developing one remains prohibitive, we could have problems.”
It is undecided if the new rules will accommodate rear-wheel-drive cars, Riches stated. This is because the kit of standard parts would have to be different for a rear-drive car.
“We have not ruled out rear-drive competitors, but we need a commitment to go for it,” said Riches. “Don’t forget BMW has not supported the championship for 14 years.”
S2000 cars will remain eligible for the BTCC until at least the end of 2012.