We have all heard of Formula One, NASCAR, Indy Car and possibly even the FIA World Rally Championship, but the most popular motor series in the UK is the British Touring Car Championship or BTCC for short. It may not be as glamorous as Formula One, but what it lacks in glamour it makes up for in excitement and entertainment. In recent years Green Flag had originally sponsored the championship; but is now sponsored by Dunlop, the tyre manufacturers.First of all the cars are basically a modified saloon car or "touring car" that we all could buy from the showrooms. Of course the engines are modified and the bodywork is made of lighter materials and you will see down force wings on the back.
But as far as aerodynamics goes, the shape of the car remains the same as the normal road car.The racing is bumper to bumper, around twisty racing tracks throughout the UK, at incredible speeds, and unlike other types of racing where so much rides on sponsorship and results, if a car does well, it gains a penalty of carrying extra weight. That means from spectator point of view cars will always be racing each other pretty much equal terms and bumper to bumper all the way. Time after time in F1 we have seen the driver with the best car, start on pole and win races easily, not because of driving skills, but just because of the size of their race budget.
The championship travels around the UK to the smaller race circuits, making it so much more assessable to the public, and the entrance prices suit the family audience, something you don't see too much in motor racing these days. But the one thing that I love about the BTCC, is being able to visit the pits and the drivers on the race day. There is always an open pit time, where you can walk down the pit straight, see the cars close up and talk to and get autographs off the drivers. The kids think this is absolutely fabulous.
After meeting the drivers; they then get to watch their heroes racing around the track, to cheer them on, where else can you get that close with professional sportsmen. It is because of this accessibility, regular races throughout the UK and family prices, that has made this the most popular race series in the UK.They have now even started to show the championship on TV directly after the Grand Prix and this has really raised the profile of this motor racing championship even further.Like some of the USA motor racing series, there is more than one round of racing on a race weekend or day.
Again this means more value for money as you see the drivers in a racing situation more than once. How many times have you watched F1 just to see your favourite driver taken out on the first bend, in the BTCC he returns again in the second race.If you want to get back to driver versus driver racing, this is the place to see it. You can met the drivers, get close to the cars and feel the excitement of fast racing without taking out a mortgage to see them. I hope the green flag is always waving for the BTCC..Mark is webmaster for Green Flag Breakdown Cover and Race Track day also Experience The Firewalk.
By: Mark Flanighan