British Touring Car Championship Series Director Alan Gow claims that the 2017 BTCC grid probably features the highest depth of quality ‘this century’ after a capacity grid was once again announced last week.
With 32 cars entered for the full season for the second year in a row, combined with a new influx of talented rookies and returning global stars, the BTCC continues to display rude health at present.
There have been a number of driver changes during the off-season, which have seen old hands and new talent alike coming to the championship.
At last week’s Season Launch at Donington Park, Gow reasserted his confidence in the quality of the field, believing that almost the entire field are now capable of taking victory in the championship.
“The depth of quality through the grid is much higher than we’ve seen this century,” said Gow to TouringCars.Net. “There are probably 30 drivers out there that can win races in their own right. A lot of the teams have recognised how close it is, which is why they’ve gone after a better quality of driver, if you like, [rather] than those guys with a better quality cheque book.”
The Australian also explained that he could quite happily see the maximum number of cars on the grid fall, preferring a focus on quality rather than the quantity of the grid.
“I certainly don’t want any more cars than 32; we’ve put a maximum on it. In fact, to be honest, the championship could do with less cars. I don’t get caught up on the critical number of 32, it’s [just] the maximum we set it at and I would quite happily see the grid number drop down to 26 or 28 cars.”
The championship now has stability in both the technical regulations, which see the entire field running RML-built NGTC components, and the grid size. Gow explains that he is reluctant to make overarching changes to the tin-top formula which is currently working.
“There’s a reason why the championship is the success it is.”
“Where do you take it in the future? Well you don’t; you build on what you’ve got. [Stability] is what it’s all about. There’s a reason why the championship is the success it is; it’s because we’ve got stability in the technical regulations.
“We’ve done the first five years of NGTC and we’re into the second five year period. You’ve got investment in the cars and stability in the regulations. We don’t change things greatly; in a ten-year period there will have been one major spec change, with the RML parts. That’s great stability.
“You’ve also got stability in the calendar, in the race formats, in the television and in the tyres. It’s something that the teams can invest in knowing what the BTCC will look like for the next five years. They’ve made major investments and it’s up to us to make sure that they can quantify their investment as much as possible over that time, so we provide them with the best and most stable platform that we can.”
“Sometimes you tinker with the race formats a little bit, but at the moment the race formats are working really well. I’m never against change, but I’m always against wholesale change. You don’t do change for the sake of change.”
Keep checking TouringCars.Net next week for further thoughts from the current BTCC Series Director and President of the FIA Touring Car Commission.