For the 2022 season, the BTCC has become the first touring car championship in the world to introduce hybrid technology.
With pressure on all racing championships to become greener, the BTCC has taken its first steps towards becoming an environmentally friendly and ultimately more sustainable championship for the future.
The introduction of both Hybrid Energy Management System (HEM) battery technology and Hiperflo® R20 fuel sees the BTCC removing the need for weight ballast to incorporate a ‘push to pass’ system powered by hybrid 48v batteries. The system is deployed when the cars first leave the pit lane under battery power, and then is regenerated under braking and deceleration during the race.
The hybrid deployment works in two ways. For qualifying, where you currently sit in the Championship standings affects how much boost per lap you have available. For the races, it dictates how many laps you have hybrid power available for (the higher up the grid you are, the less laps you get).
The new fuel used this season is Hiperflo® R20, which consists of 20% renewable components including 15% second generation ethanol content and 5% renewable hydrocarbons. It’s calculated by the manufacturer that this will give a reduction of approximately 18% in greenhouse gases when compared to current pump fuel, significantly lowering the fuel’s impact on the environment.
At the halfway point of the season everyone agrees that the introduction of the hybrid system and fuel has made the Championship great from a viewing perspective, but what do the Halfords Racing with Cataclean drivers and Team Dynamics think?
Gordon Shedden, Halfords Racing with Cataclean driver and 3 times BTCC Champion: “I think for the drivers it has taken us a wee while to understand and exploit the strengths and weaknesses of the system, but we cannot ignore the sustainable message this portrays. Every championship around the world is now having to justify its eco-friendly framework and the BTCC is leading the way as it has done many times before. It’s also interesting to see in a race who is deploying and where; you have to try and work your own strategy accordingly and ultimately leave yourself enough power in the bank if you need it.”
Dan Rowbottom, Halfords Racing with Cataclean driver and Jack Sears Trophy 2021 winner: “The big area where it’s made a huge difference is in the mid-field. If you’re trying to push through from the back now, it becomes incredibly tight once you get to the top 15 cars and fighting for positions from there is really hard. I think for the viewing public though it is improving battles up and down the grid with hybrid being used to both attack and defend. With the added benefit of the reduction in greenhouse gases provided by the Hiperflo® R20 fuel, I think the BTCC is sending a clear message to other championships and the world in general about its future-proofing and permanency, but also being relevant to the road-going counterparts [of the cars] we race on track.”
Matt Neal, Team Owner at Team Dynamics and multiple BTCC Champion: “In conjunction with the series becoming greener, we’re also doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint. Over the last few years, Team Dynamics has implemented our own solar farm and battery energy storage system, while even beehives have recently been installed on the site to further increase our environmentally-friendly credentials. We’re all looking at ways that we can improve the carbon footprint of our day-to-day personal and business lives, and this is one small step towards that.”