Just a week after completing its take-over of the British Touring Car championship from TOCA, who had run the series since 1992, British Motorsport Promoters (BMP) announced the new rules and regulations for the 2001 series.

The Super Touring formula has been axed for next year, being replaced by a low cost formula, designed to be both spectacular and cost effective.

As expected the regulations fall between the current Super Touring rules and National Saloon car regulations but with several innovations of their own.

All eligible cars must be front wheel drive and have an engine capacity of two litres. Cars can be either two of four door and can be saloons or hatchbacks, this request being granted to allow Vauxhall to ditch their Vectra model in favour of the Astra and Ford to run the Focus as opposed to the Mondeo.

Bodyshells will be almost as standard with none of the complicated spoilers and splitters which have made overtaking very difficult in the BTCC recently. Cars will have non-effective fins and spoilers to make them look exciting although these will not give a car any aerodynamic advantage.

The main point of interest surrounds the plan to make all teams use certain kits for their cars, available from one specific stockist. Some parts, for example the gearbox, wheels, brakes and the differential will be standardised for all cars regardless of their make. The other kit involves all cars from the same manufacturer using parts supplied by an individual firm where they can buy parts in bulk, reducing costs as a result.

Car performance is likely to be akin to the early days of Super Touring where the action was spectacular and more competitive than it has ever been before or since. The hope is that the series will provide the same action and popularity it did when Super Touring was launched in the early '90s.

Early indications suggest that a complete budget for the 2001 season will not exceed ?1.5 million as opposed to the ?5-10 million that teams are spending this season. There are also reports that as many as 30 potential entries are expected for the opening round of the 2001 series

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