The HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship has confirmed a new three-year agreement has been reached with ITV which will include an unprecedented amount of live coverage of the 50th anniversary season.

As part of the new agreement, a total of 46 hours of live air time will be devoted to the BTCC on ITV4, with a further ten hours of highlights broadcast on the weekend after each event.

ITV1 will show an hour-long highlights programme on the Monday night after each race weekend, while Men and Motors will show the same programme later in the week.

Eight of the ten meetings will be shown live and non-stop on ITV4 from 12.30-5.30pm with the remaining two receiving three hours of coverage apiece. All three BTCC races on the day will be broadcast in their entirety, along with more behind the scenes stories and live coverage of some support races on ITV for the first time.

The ITV website will also stream event coverage online on a Sunday afternoon.

"This is fantastic news for everyone associated with the BTCC - our teams, drivers, partners and fans - who will all benefit from the increased ITV coverage of our events," BTCC series director Alan Gow said. "To have 76 hours of BTCC programming is simply phenomenal...that's a staggering 4,560 minutes of ITV scheduling, broadcast on both the 'free to air' digital and terrestrial platforms.

"With five hours of live coverage on race-day, ITV4 is able to now devote more time and resources to fully cover our events as well as to reflect on the BTCC's history, in what is the championship's 50th anniversary season.

"ITV has been the BTCC's TV broadcaster since 2002 - and the fact that it has embarked on such an expansion of its coverage, while also committing to a multi-year agreement, is solid proof of its enthusiasm for the championship as a major sporting spectacle for its viewers."

Mark Sharman, ITV director of news and sport, was equally pleased with the new agreement.

"We are delighted to have secured coverage of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship for ITV4 - as the channel is an increasing destination for premium sports events and is now available to almost nine out of ten UK homes, as well as being simulcast on," he said.

"This new contract will see a significant increase in the airtime we are devoting to the BTCC, allowing us to broadcast the races live and reflect more of the excitement and scale of the ten events."

2008 BTCC transmission times, ITV4:

Brands Hatch 30 March12.30-5.30pmRockingham 13 April12.30-5.30pmDonington Park 4 May12.30-5.30pmThruxton18 May12.30-5.30pmCroft1 June12.30-5.30pmSnetterton13 July12.30-2.30pm & 5-6pmOulton Park27 July12.30-2.30pm & 5-6pmKnockhill17 August12.30-5.30pmSilverstone31 August12.30-5.30pmBrands Hatch21 September12.30-5.30pm