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How the BTCC hybrid system will be used in 2022

The British Touring Car Championship enters into an exciting new era in 2022, becoming the world’s first touring car championship to feature hybrid power.

The system will replace the old success ballast format which has largely been in use since 2000, when it was introduced for the final year of Super Touring.

A new system has been developed by Cosworth Electronics for installation into all 29 BTCC cars on the 2022 grid.

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Having been in development since 2019, the new system has undergone two years of track testing to make sure it is ready for use in anger this year.

The numerous changes affect not only the technical nature of the cars but also the sporting dynamic of the racing.

Batteries to power the hybrid system are designed to be charged by regeneration during the races, with the system generally being sufficient to keep the battery fully charged. However, recharging via a 240V wall socket in less than an hour is also possible if required.

The hybrid unit will result in an increase in cooling requirements for a BTCC car, such that the motor generator unit (MGU) has its own cooling system.

Trackside fans may not immediately notice the system, however, as it has no impact on the turbo engine or the exhaust sound, as it is deployed via the gearbox.

Like the MGU, the 48v battery also has its own cooling system and is contained within a crash-proof structure mounted on the floor of the passenger compartment. It also has its own carbon fibre safety cell designed to withstand a 60G impact.

Gordon Shedden, Halfords Racing with Cataclean [Team Dynamics], Honda Civic Type-R FK8 NGTC
Photo: Pat Cranham
New sporting strategies to be utilised in 2022

The abolition of success ballast and its replacement with the Hybrid Energy Management System (HEM) is the biggest shake-up to the BTCC in years.

The system is designed to limit the amount of deployment time in qualifying, and number of laps in each race, to the most successful drivers.

In qualifying, the system will provide extra boost for a specified number of seconds each lap, based on a drivers’ championship position (after the first event):

  • 1st place: 0 seconds per lap
  • 2nd: 1.5 seconds per lap
  • 3rd: 3 seconds per lap
  • 4th: 4.5 seconds per lap
  • 5th: 6 seconds per lap
  • 6th: 7.5 seconds per lap
  • 7th: 9 seconds per lap
  • 8th: 10.5 seconds per lap
  • 9th: 12 seconds per lap
  • 10th: 13.5 seconds per lap
  • 11th onwards: 15 seconds per lap

In races, the deployment will be different, instead being limited by the number of laps of available use to each driver rather than seconds per lap of deployment.

For races, the amount of deployment will vary depending upon the total number of laps in the race. Races with more than 17 laps will allow for more laps of hybrid deployment.

As such, the number of laps without hybrid available has been determined based on the following position-based criteria:

  • 1st place: 10 laps without hybrid (15 laps in races > 17 laps)
  • 2nd: 9 laps (13 laps in races > 17 laps)
  • 3rd: 8 laps (11 laps in races > 17 laps)
  • 4th: 7 laps (9 laps in races > 17 laps)
  • 5th: 6 laps (7 laps in races > 17 laps)
  • 6th: 5 laps
  • 7th: 4 laps
  • 8th: 3 laps
  • 9th: 2 laps
  • 10th: 1 lap
  • 11th onwards: 0 laps

Trackside fans will be told how much hybrid power a driver has left via an on-car LED light system, mounted in the rear side windows.

For the driver, a light will illuminate on the driver’s dashboard when the deployment speed of 120 kph has been reached.

If a driver attempts to use their hybrid before this minimum speed, a timed lockout will be triggered, restricting deployment for a further two seconds.

Hybrid power cannot be used on the opening lap of a race, or on the first lap of racing after a safety car restart.

For the opening qualifying session and race of the season, all drivers will be on a par in terms of available hybrid. Thereafter, the system will change based on either the results of the previous race (for second and third races in a day) or championship positions (for the second event of the year onwards, in qualifying and race one).

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