Figures for fans attending rounds of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship continued to rise sharply during 2008 according to figures released by series organisers.

Having seen figures increase by 20 per cent in 2007, attendance levels rose by a further 21 per cent in 2008 with just over 325,000 people visiting the ten race meetings held over the course of the year.

Television figures for the year were also encouraging, with a total of 11,751,646 viewers tuning into the coverage provided by ITV - which totalled over 86 hours during the course of the year in both live action and highlights.

"The BTCC's continual rise in popularity is something of which I am immensely proud - particularly given the increasing number of other options on which the public can choose to spend both its leisure time and its disposable income," series boss Alan Gow said. "The BTCC remains by far the largest championship in UK motor racing - in fact, one of the biggest in British sport generally - and it is a constant draw for millions right across the country, both trackside and watching on television. For many people, the BTCC really is 'the great escape'..."

Gow added that he was delighted with the way the 2008 campaign had panned out with the improved TV package and a new title sponsor in the shape of HiQ.

"The 2008 season was undoubtedly a landmark," he said. "The championship's illustrious history was enriched further by its 50th birthday celebrations and dynamic new title sponsor, HiQ, plus it enjoyed increased television coverage from ITV.

"In its first season, HiQ instantly grasped the essence of the BTCC and set about interacting with the fans via a number of great initiatives. With ITV, the BTCC enjoyed a simply staggering TV commitment that is unprecedented in UK motor racing and one which the championship will continue to enjoy through to 2011, at least."

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