Following three months’ of research over the off-season BTCC organisers are finalising the details of the 'flow-test program' that will balance the performance between the full NGTC-spec cars and those using S2000 chassis this season. Though they are still eligible for the championship series director Alan Gow does not expect any normally aspirated cars to be entered for the season, only two years after the NGTC engine rules were first introduced.
The work has been carried out by the series' Engine Technical Review Panel (ETRP) headed by renowned engine and powertrain consultant Clive Dopson and also includes representatives of all the BTCC teams and engine builders.
“There is very definitely an underlying trust and confidence among all the engine builders that we've got this spot on,” said Dopson. “The feedback and support we've received while carrying out this programme has been highly positive and, in fact, some of our tests have been useful for them correlating their own data and testing.”
“We've got massive amounts of data and our readings have been very consistent and accurate. Once those baseline values are set, then during the course of the season the mathematical methodology will automatically govern any further adjustments when and if needed – it's a straightforward calculation exercise and not open to conjecture.”
“It's a two-stage program,” explains championship technical director Peter Riches. “Firstly, we've flow-tested all the engine heads used by all teams in order to establish the baseline engine values and their respective boost levels for the start of the year.”
“The calculation figures are currently being finalised in conjunction with all the teams and once done it's very much a 'set it and forget it' jobâ€¦ the numbers will simply and clearly provide the straightforward answer to any adjustments to be made during the season. It's an entirely transparent process to ensure the performance levels of the relevant S2000-turbo and NGTC cars are equalised during the season and not open to any subjective opinion or debate – it just happens.”
“After two rounds the defined mathematical calculation kicks in and will determine if – and by how much – any adjustments should be made to boost levels of any engines for the next event. It's an automatic process and is almost exactly the same methodology and system used in the World Touring Car Championship, except they use weight adjustments and we use boost adjustments.”
“The BTCC prides itself on the great variety it provides in terms of so many different makes and models on the grid,” said Gow. “Of course the best car/team/driver combination will always shine through but, with this performance equalisation programme applied to the relevant cars as well as, of course, our normal success ballast system, the BTCC is again shaping up for an even more enthralling season.”
The 2012 British Touring Car season begins on April 1 at Brands Hatch, Kent with the first three of the campaign’s 30 races.