British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) organisers TOCA have confirmed that a Toyota Avensis will be used for the testing and development stage for the Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) rules.
The design and construction of the prototype is already well advanced at the Buckingham workshop of motorsport engineering company GPR. Toyota have supplied the company with a complete donor car, as well as a bodyshell to use on the chassis.
TOCA emphasise that while the Avensis will effectively be the demonstration car for the new regulations team will be able to choose their own design of car and engine to fit the new rules as they are phased into the series alongside the current regulation cars – both spec designs eligible to the main title until at least 2013. It is estimated that teams running an NGTC car could save 50% compared with the current crop of S2000 machinery.
“To be able to support the premier British motor sport series with the Avensis was a great opportunity for Toyota to help an 'old friend'. The BTCC is a series we greatly respect and have enjoyed a long and successful involvement with in the past,” said Scott Brownlee, Toyota UK's head of PR, though he added that the manufacturer have not made a commitment to return to the series with a works team.
“We would like to thank Toyota for its generous and highly valued contribution to this project,” said Alan Gow, Series Director. “The Avensis is an ideal platform for the new car; it's fully suited to the NGTC ethos and, just like our new BTCC regulations, is proudly built in Britain.”
The prototype, once completed, will undergo a series of tests – former BTCC champion James Thompson appointed as the official development driver – before making its public debut at the final rounds of the championship at Brand Hatch on 9-10 October.