There are complaints. ‘Same tracks.’ ‘Same format.’ ‘Nothing changes.’ You’ve probably heard and read it at some point. You may have those sentiments yourself. The BTCC is a well oiled series. It gives us 10 rounds – 30 races – of action a season. The timetable hardly shifts from round to round.

NASCAR and IndyCar have different length races, with different qualifying procedures, and they can run on a Saturday or Sunday. IndyCar runs on road, street and oval tracks. NASCAR is joining that with a July Fourth street race beside its roster of different oval types, road courses, a dirt track and a stadium event. Even F1 are getting in the act with sprint qualifying, so is there anything that could be done to add an extra flavour to the BTCC? We’ve come up with a few ideas.

This is pure fantasy for the most part, with some things wilder than others – and okay – some are perhaps a little silly. To make most of them work we’re going to need miles and miles of portable barriers and catch fencing. Let’s be honest here, If Formula E can throw them around London, or IndyCar and IMSA can build tracks at places like Long Beach and St Pete, then why can’t we do that in Weston-super-Mare, or Aberdeen?

We had a two rules when boiling up these ideas. The cost to teams shouldn’t be too much so no Rally Cross adaptations for a round of that, or mad engines to go drag racing. And the events don’t have to make money.

We’d love to hear what ideas you come up with too.

Formula E turns up everywhere for street races. Photo: N509FZ

1 Street Circuit

Pick a place, find an agreeable council, take those Formula E safety walls and other stuff and choose your town or city – you could argue over it for weeks, but I guarantee you’ll hear the words Birmingham and Super Prix again and again.

London Stadium – Photo: Jeff Owen

2 London Stadium

If you’re a football fan throw away your allegiance for a moment – unless you’re a West Ham fan! How about racing in a football stadium? Not NASCAR at the LA Coliseum. More similar to Race of Champions at Wembley, actually even more like when the DTM put on an event at the Olympiastadion in Munich. The DTM event didn’t have the ramp – as spectacular as that can be it ain’t suitable for a Touring Car! Two cars at a time facing off as a non-championship event. Cars going one-on-one in a knockout competition. Not just for the BTCC, but for the supports as well. Bringing the sport to the people like that night on Newcastle Quayside two decades ago. Cheap tickets. A parade of the cars driving through the streets around the stadium, throw in a NASCAR style Hauler drive by with all the team trucks polished, it’s a grand way to catch the public eye.

Sidecar Racing at Jurby

3 ‘British’ Touring Cars

Pembrey hasn’t been on the BTCC bill for around 30 years, and it won’t be back any time soon. I’ll repeat from the opening ramblings. If someone has the money to buy up all the kind of fencing and infrastructure needed to run Formula E in London, you can race just about anywhere. If you can build street circuits without runoffs then permanent tracks that ‘aren’t suitable’ can be upgraded in a similar fashion. Anglesey in Wales is just short of what’s needed for a visit from the BTCC, if someone could throw a few quid and some of that portable infrastructure in that direction then the most picturesque circuit in the British Isles would be a beloved addition to the calendar. Mondello Park in Eire brings back some fond memories from the pre-NGTC days, but what about Northern Ireland. Once you’re finished at Anglesey it’ll be time to ferry some of that gear over to Kirkistown in the North so all four British nations are part of the series. Run it as it is, throw up those temp pieces and off you go. But why stop there. Once that is all done with why not bring the gear back to the mainland via The Isle of Man. Again, temp fences and whatnot put around the Jurby circuit? The Island is a motor racing Mecca and once upon a time hosted car racing alongside the bikes and rallying. Could you imagine having the BTCC on the island on the weekend where TT qualifying kicked off?

BTCC visits the tracks that other major competitions do why not throw them together – Photo Mick Palmer

4 Celebration of British Racing

Next month at Croft the traditional Battle of Britain meeting will see petrol cars, diesel cars, bikes, sidecars and superkarts all racing on the same bill. It can be done. So why not have a massive celebration of the top levels of motor sport in the UK? All in one place? BTCC, British GT, British Superbikes and Division One Truck Racing all together on one weekend. Okay, there’s rivalry there between the organisers, but it would be huge for racing fans to have no filler and just the four top tier championships doing their thing in front of their own, and each others, fans over a two day weekend. Imagine the promotion it would give to those who enjoy going trackside. Crikey, it’d be big enough that it might get a mention on the BBC Sport website.

TCR UK Raced on the Knockhill Reverse layout in 2018

5 The Same But Different

We race at Brands on both the Indy and GP circuits. Next year there is the return to the Donington GP layout for the first time in over 20 years. But what about other circuits that the BTCC races on – their alternative layouts? Oulton – really there is no point going on the full circuit, it cuts out an overtaking point, and would shorten the race by a lap (if you’re at Deer Leap you want that extra lap!) and the short circuit is just too short. Snetterton has a few (including the classic layout) and many argue that the 200 configuration would be better. It’s faster, and with a shorter circuit fans would see the cars more (unless you’re on the infield.) The two that have intrigue though are Knockhill and Silverstone. This is where you could mix it up North of the border. I don’t think anyone wants to get rid of the track as it is, so why not follow the inspiration of some clubs and run a double-header with the ‘trad’ and reverse layouts over a weekend? Lose some of the support categories and have a practice, qualifying and two races ‘backwards’ on Saturday with the ‘proper’ direction utilised on Sunday. That would be spectacular, and value for money. As for Silverstone. The Grand Prix layout I fear wouldn’t be much fun compared to the National track. But the International version using The Wing pitlane was slated for inclusion in 2020, with the behind closed doors Media Day being held there before lockdown. But for whatever reason it was dropped. The big pain with the International layout as any avid club race fan will attest to is that there is limited space on the infield for paddock, parking and all the other gubbins that goes with the BTCC. And having the one bridge as access would likely force fans to only have viewing from the outside of the track. It’s designed as an F1 self contained island to protect from the unwashed, but the racing would make up for it. Village, the Chapel connection onto Hangar Straight, down Vale into Club. Places where exciting racing would take place. And this one wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg – could we give it a shot for just a year?

Keep on reading for the end of the article, but, did you know that Motor Racing UK is an actual magazine available in print and PDF, and it’s fast becoming the leading mag for Touring Car fans. Have a look at our link below before seeing some of the other ‘interesting’ ideas we came up with.

The last RAC TT trophy was presented in WEC to Toyota – Photo: Toyota

6 RAC Tourist Trophy

Back in the BTCC heyday of Super Tourers the year sometimes didn’t end with a battle for the championship that went to the wire at the end of the season. Three times it ended with the RAC Tourist Trophy. In 1994 it was handed over as part of the Touring Car World Cup, where Super Tourers from different countries went head-to-head – something that couldn’t happen now with the uniqueness of the NGTC rules. In 1997 two short races then a longer one with a reverse grid replaced that, which isn’t that far from the current race weekend schedule. 1996 is what we have in our sights. An 80 lap endurance race around Donington Park with driver swaps. Our dream event is similar to that. A points scoring round just before the summer break which would be a 90 minute enduro where the regular driver has to complete between 55 and 60 minutes, and a second driver fills in the rest. Two tyre and fuel stops, something to add a little more jeopardy to the title outcome? Oh, and that night race that many would like see come back, this could be that race.

Silhouettes on a ‘Big’ track – Photo: MIck Palmer

7 Touring Cars as Stock Cars.

Hot Rods. Silhouettes in Intermarque racing. Similar machines doing two different jobs. Ovals and ‘Big’ circuits. Why not do that with Touring Cars. It’s not banger racing, and if someone could get this off the ground strict(ish) no contact racing should be enforced. Putting everyone on a British Oval at the same time (well, one that is in use with Rockingham shut) wouldn’t work, so a series of heats and finals would be the order of the day. It’s tempting to suggest running on a shale surface to add in some fun, but a solid floor in a stadium environment that could handle a decent sized crowd would work bloody well. Hednesford would have to be the venue. Anyone who has seen Hot Rod racing there should be able to get it. It would also turn some of the order upside down too – which is always good!

Perranporth Control Tower, could it become race control? – Photo: Peter Rasmussen

8 Going Waaay Down South

Adding to the British expansion mentioned above, why not also cover a part of the country that doesn’t really benefit from top levels of sport, never mind motor racing. Cornwall. An airport circuit. If somebody in this alternate British racing fantasy land has the gear to build a street circuit, then you can take that stuff anywhere to build a track. Formula E has raced in Berlin on an Airport runway. IndyCar races at St Petersburg in Florida using a runway, but they also raced at Cleveland Airport for many years on what was a wild layout that created many, many crazy battles, and a 10 wide turn one! Davidstow has heritage as a track that hosted Formula One non-championship races, and essentially remains untouched, but a wad of cash could sort that out. Perranporth however, it hosts trackdays already and much of the surface is in decent enough condition. There is plenty of older unused areas that could be used for the paddock and areas for support races. Some temporary grandstands, temporary walls and catch fencing and good old airfield racing could be back on the menu. There are still many old RAF airfields that could be pressed into use, but most are in the catchment area of other tracks – this is an idea I’ll fund myself if the Euromillions come my way.

F1 in 1985 at Zandvoort, a perfect place for a weekend getaway – Photo: Dutch National Archive

9 Foreign Holidays

A foreign round. A contentious idea – it robs the Britishness from the championship you will be told by some. In the real world cost alone would prevent this, and probably desire too, but if the BTCC was to go to the continent once a year or even as a one-off then Assen or Zandvoort would make the most sense. Teams and punters only have to hop on a ferry at Hull, Harwich or Newcastle to land in Amsterdam where Zandvoort is on the doorstep and Assen is a short drive away. In an era where international motorsport is rattling on about events at ‘destinations’ over and above races at race tracks, who wouldn’t fancy a weekend over there?

Drifting in one of the car parks at Nissan.

10 Nissan Factory

At the moment the majority of TCR UK races are twinned with Time Attack, and added to the bill is the British Drifting Championship. How about we flip that and step into drifting territory with Touring Cars? Well, it’s not hopping onto a drift track per se. Heading back a decade ago the Nissan factory in Washington, just beside Sunderland, held rounds of the JDM Drifting championship for a couple of years. The facility has a dedicated test track with an oval (where the BTCC Nissan Primera pairing of David Leslie and Anthony Reid gave employees rides in their race cars nearly 25 years ago,) but that can be ignored. In-between the Body Shop and the leisure facilities the company cleared a car park and built a temporary drift track. A grass bank opposite provided a natural place for spectators to view the whole circuit. Okay, it wasn’t a big enough area to build a paddock and host 30 cars racing, but, add in the access roads and other car parks and you suddenly have a massive facility. The factory has a two week summer shutdown – the perfect time to erect some temp grandstands in other sections, and the pièce de résistance? Have a straight that runs through a couple of hundred metres of the factory itself. A good way to make use of those Formula E barriers?

Yeah some of these ideas are a bit daft, but if I ever decide to start doing the lotto, and I pick up that mad amount of money, I’m sure I’d blag some of it on paying the championship to put a couple of these events on


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