For 2010, all Rear Wheel drive BTCC cars will have to run with a standard first gear in a move to negate their standing start line advantage over the Front Wheel Drive cars.
As it stands, the BMW's run a shorter first gear than the rest of the field and this helps propel them towards the front from the start of a race, while for 2010, after some Specialist computational analysis compiled by the TOCA team, a set first gear has been set for the Rear Wheel Drive teams.
The move has been met with a negative response by David Bartrum of Airwaves BMW and Dick Bennetts of Team RAC.
Bennetts believes that the rule change will favour the Front Wheel drive cars – budgets will increase as the clutches will need to be replaced more often, due to them slipping and that a spec first gear isn't cheap.
Bartrum believes that its just paranoia from the Front Wheel Drive teams as they lose out at the start. However, when the teams asked for an intermediate tyre to negate the disadvantage of the RWD in damp conditions, the request was turned down.
Steve Neal, the team principle of Team Dynamics, who run Front Wheel Drive Honda Civics believes that the move is a positive one but was made too late as he doesn't know how much of an effect it will actually have.
Alan Gow, the series director believes that this move is the best solution to the problem, instead of introducing rolling starts, like the World and Swedish Touring Car Championships have to balance out the starts. Gow didn't want to introduce them as the amount of contact at the first corner would result in teams budgets increasing even further.
Having spoken to Martyn Bell, a former BMW driver, he feels that this change may not have much affect but will wait and see what the regulations state.