With the current NGTC regulations already entering the second half of their ten-year term, TOCA – the Series Organiser of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, have announced that hybrid power will be introduced to the successful tin-top series within the evolution of the current technical regulations at the end of 2021.
At a meeting last week, the BTCC Technical Working Group (TWG) agreed an outline of the pathway for the introduction of hybrid energy.
It was confirmed that a specified hybrid unit would be fitted to all cars as an addition to their current drive train. This will allow each car to have a reserve of supplementary hybrid power available during each race, which can then be used by drivers as part of their overall race strategy, almost working as a ‘push-to-pass button’ that we have seen similar to in Formula 1 over the last couple of years wither their hybrid power units.
The Series Director Alan Gow commented, “We’re going through a very important and exciting time for this great championship, so I’m delighted to now confirm that the BTCC will be introducing hybrid energy as part of our evolution.”
He continued, “This concept was very welcomed at our recent TWG meeting and now the real work begins as to the technical implementation. But different to hybrid development within the likes of Formula 1, this certainly shouldn’t – and won’t – be an ‘extreme’ technical exercise, but rather will be one which we will introduce within our NGTC technical regulations relatively seamlessly and very cost-effectively.”
Gow also stated the importance of keeping the great racing that has become synonymous with the series by drivers and fans alike, as well as keeping the BTCC relevant to the manufactures and sponsors. He said, “Just as importantly, by incorporating hybrid it keeps the BTCC absolutely relevant to manufacturers, sponsors and the public… with the added benefit of further enhancing our great racing. Drivers will have a given reserve of additional hybrid power to use during each race, which will provide an extra element of race-craft and excitement to the fantastically close and entertaining racing that is the hallmark of the BTCC.”
This all sounds an exciting prospect which has been met with a ‘Marmite’ response from the passionate fans of the BTCC – worried that the cars will lose the noise, sound and smells which we have all grown to love over the last few years. In my opinion, if the series does continue to engage the sponsors, manufacturers and drivers, I can’t really see it being as bad thing.
We have recently seen hybrid power come into Series such as the World Endurance Championship in the LMP1 category and as previously mentioned Formula 1 which was also met with a ‘Marmite’ response from people during its debut season with people much preferring the sound and smells of the screaming V8’s. The point I’m trying to make is that times move on and things have to change, I’d much rather see a grid of twenty, maybe thirty plus hybrid Touring Cars that will still produce some cracking racing rather than fifteen cars with the current regulations.
The detailed engineering aspects of the project will now commence in close conjunction with the TWG, with finite technical decisions to be made over the coming 12-18 months. It’s envisaged that some current cars will be fitted with hybrid units during 2020/2021 as part of the project’s test and development programme.
By Jordan Hollands