Gow: Gearing 'best solution' to start issue

Series director Alan Gow defends the move to bring a spec first gear for rear-wheel drive cars into the BTCC.
HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship series director Alan Gow has stated that the decision to introduce a spec first gear for rear-wheel drive cars is the 'best solution' to ensuring a level playing field at race starts.

It was revealed last week that rear-wheel drive cars, such as the BMW 320si of championship winner Colin Turkington, will have to run a longer first gear in 2010 which will minimise the advantage the cars enjoy when pulling away from the line.

Previously, the BMW has proved to be the quickest car by far away from the line, with drivers able to make up a number of places compared to its front-wheel drive rivals.

Plans to introduce the rule have been criticised in some quarters due to the disadvantage suffered by rear-wheel drive in other areas but Gow insisted that a spec first gear was a better option than to bring in rolling starts and that the decision had only been made after carrying out specialist analysis.

“Perhaps many people forget that the BTCC is the only touring car championship - running to S2000 regulations - that does not have any rolling starts,” he replied to a question posted on his forum on the official series website “All the others (such as the WTCC, Sweden, Denmark etc) introduced rolling starts some years ago in order to negate the clear BMW standing-start advantage. However, as we have seen, these rolling starts are often problematical and can result in quite substantial accident damage in the first corner due to the higher speeds.

“Specialist computational analysis was carried out to determine a first gear ratio for them to use, which would mean that a rear-wheel-drive car would then have about the same initial acceleration (from a standing start) as that of a front-wheel-drive car. In that way, neither type of car would have an advantage or disadvantage off the line. We feel this is a more practical solution to the matter, rather than to go down the route of introducing rolling-starts and the significant issues (in both safety and costs) that they would also bring for many teams.”

Gow also added that the decision wasn't take simply to penalise rear-wheel drive teams, with other series having brought in rolling starts and weight penalties for such cars.

“It's bewildering that some people feel our championship has been harsh on the BMW's - because the reality is exactly the opposite,” he continued. “The WTCC and the other S2000 championships introduced rolling starts (purely to negate BMW's start advantage) years ago and also require the BMW's to compete at heavier weights than we do.

“Perhaps those same people either aren't aware of this or have simply chosen to ignore it..."

Team RAC and Airwaves BMW both used the 320si in 2009 and are set to be joined on the grid by newcomers Forster Motorsport next season after the Mini Challenge outfit purchased an ex-Jackson MSport car for its debut campaign.

Tagged as: BMW , Team RAC , Airwaves BMW , gear , Alan Gow

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Start, Colin Turkington (GBR) - Team RAC BMW 320si E90 leads
Ashley Sutton - Subaru Team BMR [pic credit BTCC]
Jack Goff, Eurotech Racing, [Credit: BTCC media]
Matt Simpson, Team Dynamics, [Credit: BTCC Media]
Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport [Credit: Handy Motorsport]
Andrew Jordan, WSR Pirtek BMW [Credit:Jakob Ebrey]
Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance, Shredded Wheat [Credit: Motorbase]
Gordon Shedden, Matt Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing [Credit: Halfords Yuasa]
Ant Whorton-Eales,, BTCC [Credit:]
Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance, Shredded Wheat [Credit: Motorbase]
Senna Proctor, Power Maxed Racing, BTCC [Credit: BTCC media]
WSR BMW  - Gardx / JCT 600 teams champions

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Bored now - Unregistered

November 16, 2009 7:02 PM

Great idea, sanitise the championship a little more, can't be having exciting starts and excitement when the advantage wears off in the latter half of the race :rolleyes: Why stop there, why not just keep levelling the playing field till no-one has any advantage at any point of the race and we can enjoy a lovely procession with no passing or interest of any kind.

Speedworx - Unregistered

November 16, 2009 7:05 PM

Way to ruin the 2010 championship. BMW are at a disadvantage in other ways. There is no need for this gear rule. IMO, all the BMW teams should quit the series in protest.

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