What Could Replace Formula Renault UK On BTCC Bill?


Formula Renault UK Has Been Cancelled For 2012, Leaving A Space Open On The BTCC Bill - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

 

After the news that the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship has been axed for 2012, the question has been raised as to what will happen to its space on the British Touring Car Championship support package. The Checkered Flag has weighed up some of the options.

 

1. Replace it with another full-time package.

The natural thing to do would be to replace the series with another championship full time, keeping the current quota of 5 championships in support of the BTCC. There are many other single-seater championships that would relish the opportunity to replace FRUK and enjoy the limelight on the BTCC bill, with the large trackside attendances and live TV coverage that comes with it.

Leading those would be the natural successor to the TOCA Formula Renault series, its younger sibling, the club-level Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship. The BARC series has grown in the last few years into a really competitive series, with a strong mix of young rookies and experienced racers.

The series joined the BTCC bill for the final weekend at Silverstone last year and was a huge success, plus with 18 cars already announced for 2012, the series would provide a large grid and lots of action.

Formula Renault BARC Is The Natural Successor To Formula Renault UK - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

 

Other single-seater championship’s that could fill the void would be Intersteps and Formula Ford. The Dunlop Intersteps Championship has grown in recent years to become a popular entry-level series for young drivers and with decent sized grids, it would provide some exciting racing for the fans.

The Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain is entering an exciting new era in 2012 with the new Ecoboost cars and is sure to once again provide large grids this campaign. It has featured on the BTCC package before, as recently as 2010 when it made a guest appearance at Donington Park, and it would be a popular addition for fans.

The replacement series wouldn't have to be single-seater based though and could come from Sportscars or Tin-Tops. With the huge success Ginetta has had over the last few years with its Junior and Supercup series', their third championship, the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge could join the fray.

Another option could be the Volkswagen Racing Cup, which has produced some talented tin-top racers over recent years and with a spot on the BTCC package could become an established feeder series like the Clio Cup.

The Volkswagen Racing Cup Would Bring Some More Exciting Tin-Top Action To The BTCC Package - Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

 

2. Replace it with different guest championship's at each meeting.

The problem with replacing Formula Renault UK with another series full time is that many championships, including all those mentioned above, have already confirmed their 2012 calendars and are either supporting other championship's or are headlining their own weekends, while some have their own TV coverage already arranged. This means it’s unknown whether they’d be able to move, or even be interested in joining it.

This leads to the idea of allowing different championships to make guest appearances on the bill at each weekend. As well as providing variety for the spectators, it would be a much welcomed boost for many club level, national or local championships who would relish the exposure.

It's already been a success over the years at Knockhill, where in 2011 for example their national Classics and Mini championships joined the bill, whilst in the past we've regularly seen the Historic Touring Car Championship in action on BTCC weekends.

 

3. Don't replace it.

The third option would be not the replace the series at all. This would allow breathing space in the usually busy weekend timetables, reducing the chances of hitting circuit curfews at the end of day's due to stoppages.

This would obviously reduce the entertainment for the fans though, with one of the main draws to the BTCC meetings being their full weekends of action, with barely any stoppages in the day. The removal of a championship and its qualifying sessions and races would lead to later starts to the days, earlier finishes or big gaps during the day, which wouldn't be ideal for fans.

 

It's unclear what the future is then, with no announcement yet for the organisers of the BTCC with what the plan is for the support package, but with less than two weeks to go until the season opener at Brands Hatch on 31st March/1st April, something needs to be sorted quickly.

Let us here at The Checkered Flag know what you'd like to see happen to the place Formula Renault has vacated on the BTCC bill. Pop us a comment below or tweet us @thecheckerflag.

  • Lee

    I think it should be replaced with one formula rather than trying a new one at each round.  Spectators need time to learn the names, cars and faces of new divisions and they can only do that if they see the same people race after race.

    Personally I think Intersteps should have a chance as it sees many young drivers take their first laps in a single seater.  Formula Ford is good but the races I’ve seen do tend to be all over by the first lap but if Ginetta have something else to bring then let them…you are guaranteed great racing with Ginetta.

    It’s a shame for Renault UK, it wasn’t the best racing in the world last year, especially as Alex Lynn could have had half the year off and still have won.  Oli Rowland’s improvements throughout the year was great to watch however.

  • Mark

    It will all depends on the demands of TV. Large gaps during the day are not going to go down well with live tv. I think they should just close up the gaps and finish earlier

  • Intersteps have been part of the bill before. the championship formally being named Formula BMW and they were dull. 
    I vote for the Formula Fords or the Volkswagen Racing Cup

  • Dominic Malvern

    Lee I don’t know which Formula Ford races you’ve been watching but one thing you normally cannot acuse the category of is boring racing, the afore mentioned Donington 2010 BTCC support rounds being a case in point!

    Granted the category was dominated by one driver last year but even then there was still plenty of action particularly at the SPA rounds.

    But as has been pointed out existing championships will have made all their arrangements and signed contracts with promoters etc It’s incredibly late in the day to pull the plug on UKFR and one has to ask why it was this so with teams and drivers already having completed their winter test programmes.

    Once Manor pulled the plug at the start of the year the writing was on the wall, a championship that was already very light on numbers was now down to single figures.

    Perhaps those series mentioned above could arrange one off non championship events to fill the gap but of course this requires addaitional expense at a time when most teams & competitors are struggling anyway. There is also the question of the proposed GP Cup for Formula BARC teams joining FRUK for the last three rounds. This could still be run for BARC cars only.

    Alternatively the timetable could be shortened and that way there will be some slack to cope with delays etc and avoid canning races as has been done in the past; ironically more often than not this was Formula Renault!

  • ChevyKid

    I have just heard the news. Devastated. Having a Renault I am deeply into the championships they do like the World Series and the Clio Cup. I have enjoyed seeing people like Alex Lynn come through and go on to develop their talents. So the BARDC FR championship would be welcomed and it would keep to the formula (no pun intended) of having two Ginetta races, two Renault racing and the Porsche Carrera Cup. 

    But I did sometime ago under a different name elsewhere suggest the Ford Fiesta Championship as a support race, but the Formula Ford does seem the most logical. We have seen people like Max Chilton and Josh Hill go racing so it does have a pedigree of being a window to the future talent; we can spot them before they make it big. 

    The VW Raing Cup I would like to see but it is the one programme that supports the British GT and British Formula 3 and I really don’t know what would happen to the two if the VW Racing Cup was to leave it’s supporting role to the two series to support the BTCC.