The British Touring Car Championship - All the Thrills, None From the Frills!

The F1 season with all its glitz and glamour might have began in earnest lately, together with the running of your Australian Grand Prix; but for a lot of motor-sports enthusiasts, the genuine thrills of motor-racing is often identified substantially closer to household together with the British Touring Car Championship (or BTCC), due to get underway at the end of March.

It really is well known that F1 is really a millionaire's sport - the cars will be the result of millions of pounds of technical investigation; the drivers are paid a king's ransom, and both the teams and drivers are topic to multi-million pounds sponsorship bargains by international corporations. Revenue talks in F1 and purists argue that the sport isn't competitive anymore, as races are now won and lost in the pit-lane, instead of on the track, though the bigger teams for instance McLaren and Ferrari commit the kind of revenue that the smaller teams for example Super Aguri can only dream about.

Current years has seen the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) flourish in terms of both competing teams and spectator numbers. The sport itself operates on a fraction on the price range afforded towards the F1 world; but what it lacks in glamour, it more than tends to make up for in thrills! The BTCC season comprises of ten rounds - starting and ending at Brands Hatch - held in between March and September, and going to nine different circuits. Every round consists of three races, creating a thirty round competition.

The teams which compete inside the BTCC are a mixture of manufacturers' works teams (presently SEAT and Vauxhall would be the only manufacturer teams) and independent teams including Group Halfords and Group RAC. The independent teams generally comprise of ex-works vehicles which have been bought from manufacturer teams once they update their own cars' chassis. Although this then could possibly appear to offer the 'new' cars an edge, as operates teams can offer specialist motoring suggestions about new developments surrounding their entries; there are the truth is strict limits to modifications that can be produced to any competing vehicle in an effort to keep fees down and elicit an element of fairness inside the sport. For example, all competing vehicles must make use of the same tyre - known as a 'control tyre' - which at present is supplied by Dunlop. Automobiles may also be modified to work with diverse fuel types, with recent cars possessing run on liquefied petroleum gas, bio-ethanol fuel and also diesel, which produced its very first appearance in a BTCC race in 2007.

Races in the BTCC calendar are typically run over a weekend. Saturday comprises of two practice sessions, followed by a half-hour qualifying session which determines the very first race grid for the Sunday. Like F1, the grid is sorted by time using the fastest driver lining up in pole position. According to the length from the racing circuit, each race will typically consist of between 16 and 25 laps, plus the race outcome then determines the grid order for the following race with all the drivers lining up as outlined by their finishing position for race two.

For race three, beginning positions are determined by a 'draw' which sees aspect of your grid reversed. This means that based on the draw, drivers who finished within the minor placings could begin in pole position. As an example, if position 6 was drawn, the driver who completed in 6th location could be provided pole position, with 5th spot in second position and so on. Drivers who finished above the 'draw' outcome would occupy the position exactly where they completed race two.

Also, in the end on the 1st and second races, the automobiles which finish within the significant placings are handicapped by possessing more weight - called ballast - added to them for the following race at the meeting. Drivers' standings just after the third race of each and every meeting also ascertain the quantity of ballast to become carried inside the initial race of your following meeting.

You can find some aspects of Jason Plato which are shared with F1; by way of example the safety automobile and pit lane speed limits. On the other hand, unlike F1, spare automobiles can't be used, and teams can only use a maximum of 4 engines per season per driver. If additional engines are applied, teams are topic to point deductions.

All this adds as much as some excellent thrills around the racetrack because the rules make racing considerably more competitive and open, with cars' technological positive aspects negated by extra weight or luck on the draw. Collisions are commonplace in BTCC as drivers push their vehicles - and themselves - to the limit all through every single race; it is not uncommon to witness high-speed collisions involving numerous automobiles, although the attempts to equalise the vehicles signifies overtaking manoeuvres can take place anyplace throughout the race - even on the tightest of corners!


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