Triple Eight chairman Ian Harrison has described himself as “disappointed” after the latest changes made by TOCA to the technical regulations for the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
So far this season Harrison's team have got off to a great start, driver James Nash leading the championship before the previous meeting at Thruxton. However, TOCA made changes limiting the power of the NGTC-spec turbocharged engines, and Nash struggled for pace at the Hampshire track.
Last week, ahead of this weekend's races at Oulton Park the organisers changed the regulations again, lowering the wait limit for normally aspirated cars, while once more decreasing the maximum boost pressure for the turbocharged cars – therefore further limiting performance.
“I have to admit disappointment that TOCA has again seen fit to penalize the turbocharged cars in the name of equivalency,” said Harrison. “I appreciate that they have a difficult job to do in managing the situation given all the politics and games involved but I didn't think that a case to apply further measures had been made at Thruxton last time out.”
He continues; “you can look at all the data you want, power curves, torque and top speeds but the data that counts is the race result. Every team knows how to work the system in terms of masking car performance and the last time I looked I noticed that one particular normally aspirated car had won a third of all the races held so far this season – a pretty good return particularly so when you bear in mind that the entry is dominated by turbo cars.”
“That said we've just got to roll our sleeves up and get on with it. Oulton Park is a great circuit to race on. It presents a real challenge for the drivers and it is a favourite for many on the team. Last year James took his first podium for us with a third in race three and I'd like to think he will do better than that this time around, hopefully by scoring his first win. Tony Gilham in our other car is looking more competitive too and there is no reason at all why we shouldn't expect more points from him.”
Nash, who now lies third in the overall points, will have a minimum of 52kg weight disadvantage to reigning champion Jason Plato in his normally aspirated Chevrolet, despite winning the most recent race at Thruxton.
The extra weight is likely to make qualifying tough for Nash – chasing after his first BTCC win – especially on a track where the turbocharged cars lack of engine braking is expected to be an issue.