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Further steps taken to level out BTCC playing field

26 May 2011

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship organisers have taken further steps in an effort to equal out the currently rather unequal balance between the series' turbocharged cars and normally-aspirated entries – although part of the amendments to the regulations 'remains suspended'.

There has been considerable debate amongst BTCC drivers, teams and fans about the advantage presently enjoyed by the turbos. A reduction in boost pressure of 0.1 bar was announced for the most recent outing at Thruxton back at the beginning of this month – leading to anguished cries from former champion Matt Neal that the turbo brigade would henceforth be fighting with 'one arm tied behind our back' [see separate story – click here] – but in truth, it made little discernible difference.

Nine of the top ten cars in qualifying around the high-speed Hampshire circuit were turbo-powered, and the sole normally-aspirated interloper – Racing Silverline's defending title-holder Jason Plato – has lamented that the current arrangement is 'so far out-of-bed' that 'all we can hope to do is luck in with the reverse grid' and that the situation 'needs a big change' [see separate story – click here]. His prayers have been answered – to an extent, at least.

A technical bulletin issued today (Thursday) by championship organisers TOCA has revealed that 'following full analysis of technical data, input from teams/engine-builders and taking into consideration other relevant results/information', with effect from next weekend's meeting at Oulton Park, the maximum boost pressure for turbo cars will be reduced by a further 0.05 bar – albeit underlining that 'the introduction of this revised boost limit remains suspended' and can be implemented during the course of an event 'if/when deemed required'.

The minimum weight limits for normally-aspirated cars have similarly been amended, with front wheel-drive examples such as Plato's Chevrolet Cruze now able to run 25kg lighter to a minimum of 1,145kg, and rear wheel-drives like the BMWs dropping by 10kg to a minimum of 1,140kg. The latter are also now permitted to run a free first-gear ratio, which may help to reinstate their inherent advantage away from the start-line.


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