British Touring Car Championship organizer TOCA has announced that the series will use hybrid engines from the 2022 season onward, confirming a move mooted by PMW in the March 2018 issue.
At its latest meeting the championship’s Technical Working Group (TWG) agreed the outline of the pathway for the introduction of hybrid energy for the next generation of the British Touring Car Championship’s (BTCC) NGTC technical regulations.
These regulations are currently halfway through a 10-year technical cycle, with an evolution of the formula due to be introduced at the end of the 2021 season.
It was confirmed at the TWG that for 2022 a specified hybrid unit would be fitted to all cars as an addition to their current drivetrain. This will allow each car to have a reserve of supplementary hybrid power available during each race, which can then be used by drivers as part of their overall race strategy.
The TWG will now work with specialists to finalize the detailed engineering aspects of the hybrid system, technical decisions expected to be finalized over the coming 12 to 18 months.
Part of the development is likely to involve some current cars being fitted with hybrid units during 2020/2021 as part of the project’s test and development program.
Announcing the program, BTCC series director Alan Gow said that the hybrid concept had been welcomed at the recent TWG meeting.
“Now the real work begins as to the technical implementation. But different to hybrid development within the likes of Formula 1, this certainly shouldn’t – and won’t – be an ‘extreme’ technical exercise, but rather will be one which we will introduce within our NGTC technical regulations relatively seamlessly and very cost-effectively,” Gow said.
“Just as importantly, by incorporating hybrid it keeps the BTCC absolutely relevant to manufacturers, sponsors and the public… with the added benefit of further enhancing our great racing.
“Drivers will have a given reserve of additional hybrid power to use during each race, which will provide an extra element of race-craft and excitement to the fantastically close and entertaining racing that is the hallmark of the BTCC.”
Speaking to PMW earlier this year, Gow argued that the introduction of hybrid engines to Touring Car racing was inevitable due to the growing use of the technology in the road car sector.
“What we race is what you see on the road,” Gow said, adding that he believed every major Touring Car Series around the world would be thinking in similar terms.