Interview : Alan Gow: The future is now
Tue 20th March 2012 With 25 cars entered for the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, it was a somewhat satisfied Series Director Alan Gow who spoke to us at the BTCC's media launch at Silverstone.
By Matt Lamprell
"14 teams and nine different makes. It's a great variety. It's a long time since the BTCC has had that variety of makes and models", said Alan Gow at Silverstone.
If you go back to the mid-nineties and the peak of the BTCC's super touring era then it's just about possible to match those stats. There were nine manufacturers entered in the championship in 1996.
2012's entries may not all be manufacturer-backed, but that shows the strength of the championship's NGTC regulations allowing teams to design, develop and build a car of their choice without needing the financial clout of a manufacturer behind them.
So successful has the introduction of the NGTC regulations been, that more than half (14 of 25) of the cars on the entry list for the new season are built to the new standards.
"I said last year I thought we'd probably have 50% of NGTC cars on the grid", added Gow. "It looks like that's exactly what we've got for the first round. We have 24 cars; I think we had 22 cars last year at Brands Hatch, so to have a net increase in current circumstances is extraordinary."
Not only is there an influx of 'full NGTC' cars, but the remainder of the S2000 models will all run engines built to the new regulations this year. West Surrey Racing (eBay Motors) and Chevrolet were the last of the frontrunners to run normally aspirated powerplants last year, but with WSR switching to turbo units and Chevrolet absent from the grid, the word parity should not be mentioned quite so many times this year.
"It wasn't done by design", Gow assures us. "This was still meant to be another transition year where normally aspirated engines were still able to compete, but everyone saw the writing on the wall and changed to the NGTC engines, either in their current cars the S2000 cars or the new-build NGTC cars."
"NGTC was always 'Next Generation Touring Cars', but I think now it's the 'Now Generation Touring Cars'. It's here and we're racing it, so I think we should drop the 'Next."