The British Touring Car Championship returned to track action at the Snetterton racetrack this week, with our electronics solutions proving to be a popular talking point up and down the pitlane.
Alongside the 26 regular BTCC cars undertaking a two-day tyre test at the circuit, our brand-new Hybrid System, developed for TOCA, was put through its paces in the Speedworks Toyota Corolla.
We’ve played an integral role in BTCC for over two decades, as our electronics solutions play a key performance role in each of the cars on the grid. The class of 2020 enjoyed their first track action since the official season launch back in March, when the global pandemic forced international racing activities to be suspended.
Now, thanks to series organisers TOCA and with safety of paramount importance, teams and drivers are gearing up for a revised 27-race calendar across nine different venues. To prepare for the opening round at Donington next month, the Snetterton test allowed drivers to get acquainted with their cars and socially distanced set-ups.
Alongside this year’s cars, we also saw the Hybrid System undergo initial track testing at the hands of development driver Darren Turner. Emerging from the garage on Tuesday morning, the car completed two days of testing.
The Cosworth Hybrid Technologies branded car looked the part around the Snetterton track – rain or shine – and left pitlane observers impressed. The Hybrid System will debut in BTCC in 2022, but there is an extensive development programme planned between now and then.
Alan Gow, BTCC Chief Executive, said: “It’s an extremely proud moment for everyone involved in the BTCC and the TOCA Hybrid project itself. The BTCC was the first major touring car series to confirm its intentions and pathway for introducing hybrid technology and this is clearly another hugely significant milestone as part of that.
“This is obviously just the start of the extensive programme ahead, prior to the full introduction of hybrid technology into the BTCC in 2022, but Cosworth, Speedworks and all of the technical partners involved should be congratulated for the professionalism, expertise and efficiency shown.
“Despite these challenging times the BTCC and its partners have worked extremely hard to ensure that the TOCA Hybrid car made its track debut as originally planned and it has been a very positive and successful test.”
Neal Bateman, our Electronics Head of Support, added: “It has been an extraordinary effort by Cosworth and all of
our technical partners to get to this point – particularly in these challenging times – so this milestone is a proud moment.
“We have completed a huge amount of systems checking at Snetterton. It’s not just a new hybrid system for us; it’s a new electronics package, with a new ECU and hybrid controller, as well as a new display on the car… it’s all part of our next generation electronics that are going to be deployed at the same time as the hybrid technology in 2022.
“The initial test plan was to complete a number of short runs, followed by the checking of data and trying out different strategies. We are here to test; we are here to learn and we are here to find out what works and what doesn’t as part of this extensive programme – the test has gone extremely well.
“We are at the very beginning of our development stage. The test has clearly not been about lap times at all, but about system verification and system testing, and ensuring that everything is working as it’s supposed to be.
“Working with Darren has been great – he’s extremely experienced and professional and has provided excellent feedback all week. It has been a successful few days and now we look forward to making more progress over the coming period.”
Darren Turner, TOCA Hybrid Development Driver, said: “It is a great initiative and I am delighted to be a part of it. I am fully aware it’s an historic moment for the series and we are all delighted to have completed an extremely successful test.
“The BTCC is the biggest and best championship in the UK and it’s right that it should be leading the way in this technology. The BTCC is leading from the front yet again, and this will be a great addition to the racing. We have regularly deployed the system on-track and it works really well – it will undoubtedly add an extra and exciting dimension to both the defensive and attacking aspects of the racing.
“We will of course be developing the system and integration further and further – this is just the beginning of the car’s track life – and we’ll be getting more and more miles in the car over the coming months. The project is going extremely well, it is on schedule and there is no need to rush things – every bit of information is vital at this point to ensure we have a robust system that enhances what the BTCC is all about, and I’m absolutely convinced we will achieve that.
“Personally, I’ve also loved being back in a BTCC car and remembering just how fun they are to drive.”