There were a lot of arguments about parity between the different engine formats and car specifications in the BTCC last year.
With more NGTC cars and engines this year that may not be as much of a problem. But the BTCC has conceived a new “flow-test programme” which they claim will “automatically level out any significant performance differentials between relevant turbocharged S2000-based cars and their newer ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ rivals”.
Here’s how they explain it – I’ve highlighted the interesting bit:
After three months of scientific research and data collation, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is finalising the programme that will be used to automatically level out any significant performance differentials between relevant turbocharged S2000-based cars and their newer ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ rivals throughout 2012.
A highly detailed ‘flow-test programme’, to establish the baseline boost pressure setting of all turbo engines in each type of car from the start of the season, is nearing completion.
The BTCC’s Engine Technical Review Panel – headed by internationally renowned automotive engine/powertrain consultant Clive Dopson and utilising the resources of Lotus Engineering – has carried out the programme, which started in November. It has received unanimous support from all competing teams and their engine builders, all of whom sit on the ETRP.
Dopson commented: “There is very definitely an underlying trust and confidence among all the engine builders that we’ve got this spot on. The feedback and support we’ve received while carrying out this programme has been highly positive and, in fact, some of our tests have been useful for them correlating their own data and testing.
“We’ve got massive amounts of data and our readings have been very consistent and accurate. Once those baseline values are set, then during the course of the season the mathematical methodology will automatically govern any further adjustments when and if needed – it’s a straightforward calculation exercise and not open to conjecture.”
BTCC Technical Director, Peter Riches, said: “It’s a two-stage programme; firstly, we’ve flow-tested all the engine heads used by all teams in order to establish the baseline engine values and their respective boost levels for the start of the year.
“Then after two rounds the defined mathematical calculation kicks in and will determine if – and by how much – any adjustments should be made to boost levels of any engines for the next event. It’s an automatic process and is almost exactly the same methodology and system used in the World Touring Car Championship, except they use weight adjustments and we use boost adjustments.
“The strength of the test programme and adoption of the on-going boost calculation is that everything has been done with the full support of all our teams and engine builders.
“The calculation figures are currently being finalised in conjunction with all the teams and once done it’s very much a ‘set it and forget it’ job… the numbers will simply and clearly provide the straightforward answer to any adjustments to be made during the season. It’s an entirely transparent process to ensure the performance levels of the relevant S2000-turbo and NGTC cars are equalised during the season and not open to any subjective opinion or debate – it just happens.”
BTCC Series Director Alan Gow added: “The BTCC prides itself on the great variety it provides in terms of so many different makes and models on the grid. Of course the best car/team/driver combination will always shine through but, with this performance equalisation programme applied to the relevant cars as well as, of course, our normal success ballast system, the BTCC is again shaping up for an even more enthralling season.
“Even though they are still eligible, we don’t foresee any teams competing with a naturally-aspirated car so have not needed to take those into consideration… thus simplifying this process even more.
“My thanks go to the Clive Dopson, Peter Riches and particularly all the teams and engine builders for getting so supportively behind this programme.”