Non-championship BTCC festival event planned for 2016
British Touring Car teams are planning a special non-points event at Donington Park next summer, Motorsport News has revealed.
Fronted by Team BMR’s Warren Scott, Ciceley Racing’s Russell Morgan and Rob Austin Racing’s Richard Austin, the event is one of a number of ideas tabled by the newly formed British Touring Car Championship teams’ commercial body, which is looking at ways of increasing entrants’ revenue.
The plans for the event have been drawn up by Austin, who wants a “showdown” style event that is pencilled in for July 17th, during the traditional BTCC summer break. As it will be non-championship, races can have varied length, qualifying procedures can be different and guest drivers will be eligible to compete.
BTCC series organiser Alan Gow has admitted he is aware of the plan, and will not stop any plans from the commercial body putting on their own independent event.
“What we want is a totally touring car-focused meeting, and we have had very positive early talks with Donington Park,” Austin Sr. told Motorsport News. “We are definitely going to mix up the format of the race day, the whole thing.I want to make it totally immersive for the crowd in terms of the racing and the appearances of the drivers, and them getting close to the cars.
“One of the ideas is for heats and a final instead of just three races. We could even make it an endurance-style race or a two-driver race or we invite some star names in – that sort of thing has happened before. There are already people out there who want to do a one-off race in a touring car, and because this festival is outside the regulations, they would be able to take part.”
Other teams have already put their backing behind the event, which Austin hopes could be backed up by support categories such as the HSCC Super Touring Car Trophy, with Triple Eight Racing driver and 2013 BTCC champion Andrew Jordan also telling Motorsport News of his support for the idea.
“The touring car weekends are great as they are, but to give the fans something different is a super plan,” said Jordan. “I remember the old days of the PowerTour package, and there was so much more going on around the race meeting than just the on-track stuff, and that sounds like what they are trying to do here. I am sure there will be some entrants who don’t want to do it because of the costs, but mixing up the format would be exciting for the drivers and offer something different.”
The last time a non-championship event with BTCC cars took place was in 1997 at Donington Park for the RAC Tourist Trophy, which saw Alain Menu take his Renault Laguna to the top step of the podium.