BTCC to test hybrid car in 2020 season

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The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) will test a hybrid-equipped race car during the 2020 season, ahead of the planned switch to the hybrid technology in 2022.

First announced in August 2018, development of the hybrid powertrain for the series is ahead of schedule –  at a recent meeting of the BTCC Hybrid Working Group teams and other parties involved in the series were advised that impressive progress has been made in finalizing the timeline for the introduction of the technology.

As a result, a hybrid-equipped race car will begin testing in June, and assuming there are no issues, will make its public debut at the series’ annual two-day tire test at Snetterton, Norfolk, UK, in July.

Which existing BTCC car will be selected for the testing procedure will be decided by BTCC promoter TOCA and Cosworth Electronics, which was awarded the contract to design, supply and maintain the hybrid systems in July 2019.

An intensive testing and simulation program will be undertaken to refine the exact nature of the driver-selectable hybrid power delivery. The intention is that it will replace the BTCC’s current success ballast system, regenerating energy that drivers can use as a push-to-pass or defend system by means of a steering-wheel mounted button.

The testing will determine such factors as how many seconds per lap of hybrid power should be available and when and how it can be used. TOCA has not revealed whether the hybrid car will race in 2020.

The BTCC intends that all competing cars will be hybrid equipped for the 2022 season, providing new competitive opportunities and strategies for teams.

BTCC chief executive Alan Gow is highly pleased with what he describes as “the fantastic progress” being made on the hybrid project.

“One always assumes there will be some hiccups along the way, but so far nothing, and that’s great testament to the high quality of the technical partners involved – not just Cosworth of course but also Xtrac, PWR, Delta Motorsport, AP Racing and Goodyear,” Gow commented.

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Andrew Charman is a regular contributor to PMW. He has been working in motorsport for more than 35 years, specialising in Touring Cars and US motorsport, particularly NASCAR.

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