The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship officially lifted the curtain on the 2022 season at Thruxton Circuit this evening (April 12) with the launch of the all-new hybrid era.
Becoming the first major touring car series in the world to integrate hybrid power into all of its race cars, the Season Launch event at the home of the British Automobile Racing Club saw the capacity 29-car grid unveiled and details on the new TOCA Hybrid shared.
First announced back in 2019 by Series Organisers TOCA, the hybrid system has been designed and developed by the world-renowned Cosworth Electronics.
Drivers will be in control of when to deploy the hybrid system via a button on the steering wheel, which will see cars receive up to 15 seconds per lap of additional hybrid power – a benefit that can strategically be used to either attack or defend during racing conditions.
Full details on the new TOCA Hybrid introduction can be found HERE.
Alan Gow, BTCC Chief Executive, said: “When we announced in 2018 that we would be integrating hybrid power for this year, nobody knew the enormous headwinds that would confront us.
“The pandemic, the ongoing global supply chain issues (particularly with microchips and electronics), the further disruptions as a result of the terrible invasion of Ukraine and the significant price increases of just about everything across the board have all provided huge challenges to the project.
“So, it’s important that I acknowledge and thank the outstanding work that Cosworth, the teams, our suppliers and my TOCA Technical Team have put in to get where we are today. Yes, we were all up against it – we still are in some other areas – but the great effort that everyone has made against all those obstacles is something that we should all be incredibly proud of. So, my sincere appreciation goes out to everyone that really put their shoulders to the wheel and got this programme done.
“Whilst hybrid is the headline news for this year, we also have the introduction of a completely new TOCA engine by M-Sport which will be used by half the grid, the introduction of the new 20% sustainable fuel and a whole new Cosworth ECU and electronics system.
“So, with everything that is new for this year, it’s been a massive undertaking and we shouldn’t underestimate for a moment everything that went into this. Being the first touring car championship in the world to go hybrid meant there were no learnings that we could take from others, but I’m delighted that we’ve achieved this important milestone in the long and proud history of this championship.
“And of course, we will reap the rewards going forward, as hybrid keeps the BTCC absolutely relevant to the world around us and has future-proofed the championship – and the teams’ investments – for at least the next five years.
“Kwik Fit, Goodyear and ITV continue as our incredibly loyal, enthusiastic and highly committed partners and remain vital to the ongoing success of the BTCC, with the latter providing even greater coverage in 2022.
“We’re all looking forward to this new era in the BTCC and I thank everyone for playing their part in this amazing championship.”
The greater coverage that Gow alluded to is that the BTCC will once again enjoy live free-to-air TV coverage.
Whilst ITV4 will continue as the ‘home’ of the BTCC with its all-day-live and free-to-air coverage, both the Brands Hatch Indy (May 15) and Oulton Park (June 12) events will also be broadcast live on ITV for three hours on each race day.
“I’m incredibly proud that, once again, the BTCC reaches new heights in our UK television broadcasting,” added Gow. “As I’ve said many times, our live and free-to-air broadcasts are the envy of the sport – so for the ITV Network to further evolve and increase their coverage of the BTCC once again underlines their tremendous enthusiasm for, and commitment to, our great championship.”