All 32 TOCA licences for immediate 2014 entry to next year’s British Touring Car Championship have been distributed to a selection of new and existing BTCC teams, with a strong grid already shaping up for the new season.
Organisers have not yet made the complete list of licence holders public, however the 32 mandatory positions on the grid have provisionally been settled as newly-introduced TBL licences were allocated during the pre-registration process which closed on Saturday 30 November.
The licence system was implemented to avoid a reapeat of 2013’s entry list debacle, subsided by an equal 32-strong grid from the season’s media day never being fulfiled by several competitors. TOCA therefore reacted to avoid a repeat of this, offering a licence to teams which demands those competitors race the entire season or risk having their place on the grid voided subsequently.
Teams lose their licence for an absence of one round, and will lose their entry completely on a count of two non-appearances.
Teams which already competed in 2013 with NGTC machinery automatically qualify for a TBL, while teams which fielded two cars would also be able to request an additional licence. Existing teams with an NGTC car would receive the next allocation, ending finally with new squads looking to finalise their BTCC plans.
Squads can run under the licence earned by another team, one of those to do so being the series’ most recent applicants, United Autosport, who will run two Toyota Avensis’ previously run by Dynojet under the licence they initially held.
Three cars are currently on a ‘reserve list’ that were unable to meet the strict entry requirements at this stage, but would be in a position to compete should an opportunity arise.
Elsewhere, Shaun Hollamby sparked the first rumours of a BTCC return for his AmDTuning squad which said goodbye to its S2000 Volkswagen Golf at the end of 2013, Hollamby tweeting: “Quick update on the AmD Tuning BTCC plans – Just to confirm we have an entry, a car and a driver for 2014 BTCC!”
Renault are also plotting a return to the championship in the form of two Renault Meganes, Philip Morgan – whose son Alex finished second in this year’s Renault UK Clio Cup – commissioning the build of two Renault Megane 3 NGTC cars with the intent of racing in next year’s BTCC.
Successful entries can make announcements about their participation, but the official entry list will only be published by TOCA during the pre-season media day held at Donington Park on March 18 next year.