No Alan Gow hasn't gone mad, and there won't be Dennis fire engines competing in the Thruxton season opener next weekend, but there will be the backing of new official media partner, Dennis Publishing.

Eager to bring the premier British tin-top series to a wider audience, series boss Alan Gow has done a deal with the publishers of titles Auto Express, Maxim and Evo.

Initially for the 2004 season, but with longer-term options, the partnership will provide the BTCC with significant editorial and advertising exposure throughout the year. The coverage will spread across the whole range of Dennis' high-readership titles, including the market-leading weekly Auto Express, the performance car monthly EVO and the hugely popular men's lifestyle magazines Maxim, Men's Fitness and Jack - which between them generate a combined annual readership of over ten million people.

The magazines will be running BTCC-related feature stories, advertising, competitions and offering their readers exclusive offers and prizes, activity will also extend to the magazine websites. Maxim will be including BTCC footage on future DVD covermounts and will have a strong consumer presence at half of the BTCC's ten events this season.

"This partnership is one of great importance in raising the profile of the BTCC," confirmed Gow. "It not only delivers huge exposure for the series, but it also confirms the ability of this championship to transcend the specialist motor sport audience and reach the wider population, enabling us to penetrate the notoriously difficult 'lifestyle' market. Dennis Publishing is exactly the type of high quality name that is being attracted back to the BTCC"

"We are thrilled with this new partnership," agreed Phil Parker from the publishers. "It seems entirely appropriate that Britain's most popular motor sport championship should team up with Auto Express - Britain's best selling weekly motoring magazine - and Maxim, the world's biggest men's magazine. The additional benefits for the wider Dennis stable make this a genuine two-way partnership and much more than the traditional 'sticker on car' branding deal."