The British Touring Car Championship has announced that it will introduce mandatory breath-testing at each event for drivers, as well as senior championship officials.
The move will be implemented on both the Saturday and Sunday mornings at each of the remaining seven events – beginning from round four at Oulton Park on 7/8 June – in a move to ensure BTCC competitors and officials are free from the effects of alcohol.
BTCC series director Alan Gow said that the introduction of these tests will receive ‘zero-tolerance’, with any driver or official who fails subsequently adjudged unable to participate.
“As the UK’s premier motor racing series the BTCC should continue to set benchmarks and this is another important step we can take”, commented Gow.
“Whilst random breath-testing does happen on occasion at various motor sport events, the BTCC is the first championship to mandate the zero-tolerance limit and back this up with compulsory testing each day at each event. All our drivers and officials have endorsed this zero-limit initiative as it delivers such an important road-safety message to the public in a high-profile way.
The move will be assisted by AlcoSense, main sponsors of Audi A4 driver, Hunter Abbot, the company providing specialised and calibrated breathalysers to carry out the mandatory tests at each event.
Gow added: “This was a bit of a personal crusade for me, as I have long thought that the sport does not carry out enough alcohol testing. When I happened to mention this to Hunter Abbott of AlcoSense he immediately agreed to provide TOCA with the specialist equipment and training for us to make it happen.
“It’s difficult to calculate when alcohol has cleared your system as everyone is different – but in the last 10 years the occurrence of ‘morning after drink driving’ road accidents has risen from 13% to 21%. Education is key and by pioneering this mandatory testing we believe the BTCC will raise more awareness of the dangers and help keep its drivers, officials and fans, safe – not only at the circuit but on the road.”