Cosworth to develop BTCC hybrid technology

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Cosworth Electronics has been awarded a contract by British Touring Car Championship organiser TOCA to develop, supply and maintain hybrid powertrain systems in the series.

The BTCC announced in August 2018 that it planned to introduce hybrids to the series – while there was a possibility of the technology being available for the 2021 season, it will now be introduced as originally planned in 2022.

The Cosworth P2 off-axis hybrid system incorporates a 60V electric motor into the current specification BTCC gearbox produced by Xtrac. A separate custom hybrid motor cooling unit is included, the system weighing just 7.5kg (16.5 lb).

A 20kg (44 lb) battery will be housed in a safety cell replacing the current success ballast box – the BTCC intends to use variable amounts of energy regeneration and power settings in place of the current success ballast system. The battery will be able to be replaced in 10 minutes and can be charged using a 240V wall socket in an hour. In total the weight of the system will be 10kg less than the 75kg (165 lb) maximum success ballast weight used before the 2019 season.

Additional power produced by the hybrid systems will be used as a strategy tool by drivers, for either passing rivals or defending against them. The system will be capable of generating an approximate extra 40hp, for a maximum of 15 seconds per lap, with no limit on the number of uses per lap.

Performance simulations undertaken by Cosworth show that the most significant gains will be achieved at the low engine RPM ranges; the hybrid power burst will bring the engine up into the turbo window more quickly, allowing drivers deploying the system the chance to pull alongside or gain ground on the opposition.

The power will be available for use after the first lap of a race and activated once full traction has been achieved by pressing a steering-wheel mounted button. Pressing the button again will deactivate the system, as will reaching the preset time or energy, if the driver brakes or releases pressure on the throttle pedal, or if the car suddenly accelerates or decelerates.

Extensive testing and simulation will be undertaken before the introduction to determine the exact nature of the power delivery, including such factors as how many seconds a lap is available and when or how it can be used.

The BTCC is emphasizing that the hybrid power will be additional to the current output of the series’ current 2-liter engines and there will be no reduction in exhaust note. The only noticeable difference will be in the pit lane where cars will be driven in electric power alone.

Teams will lease the hybrid units, with full servicing backup from Cosworth, at a cost of £20,500 (US$25,600) per season.

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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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