Teams have agreed a number of rule changes for the 2021 British Touring Car Championship season, including extending the two-part qualifying format to three events in total.
The rule changes affect the sporting regulations in the areas of the qualifying format, tyre options, success ballast and fan access.
The two-part qualifying format which was trialled at the Snetterton event in 2020 will be extended to three events next year, with the meetings at Donington Park and Silverstone also getting the format, as well as Snetterton.
Rather than the usual 30-minute session, these events will hold a 25-minute initial timed session, after which the top ten drivers will then enter a ten-minute showdown to put in their best times, with a five-minute break in between the sessions.
The format is similar to that which has been used in international-level touring cars for over a decade already.
The changes were all agreed at an end-of-season meeting between TOCA and participating teams.
The option tyre, which was abandoned in 2020 due to the ‘hectic schedule of events’ will be reintroduced for four events next year.
Events at Oulton Park, Croft and Snetterton will use the Goodyear soft tyre as the option tyre, whilst the medium compound will be deployed as the option rubber at Knockhill.
The option tyre at those events must be used at least once during race one, two and three respectively, guaranteeing a mixture of different strategies throughout the race day.
Teams have until cars leave the pitlane for the first race to declare which race they will use the option tyre in, where previously the tyre choice had to be declared pre-qualifying.
Significantly, another change is in the success ballast, with the maximum returning to 75 kg, up from the 60 kg used in 2020.
The reason was cited as being “that cars now demonstrably carry success weight far more capably and competitively than before”.
Success ballast for the 2021 BTCC will be allocated at the following increments:
1st: 75 kg
2nd: 66 kg
3rd: 57 kg
4th: 48 kg
5th: 39 kg
6th: 33 kg
7th: 27 kg
8th: 21 kg
9th: 15 kg
10th: 9 kg
The final initiative agreed upon was the reversal of pit garages at events where it is deemed appropriate, for the benefit of trackside fans.
The reversal of garages was trialled at Silverstone in 2019, and sees the front of the pit garages face into the paddock area, rather than the pit lane, providing a clear view to spectators of the garage activities.
To accommodate the change, teams will park their transporters slightly further back from the garages to create more space.