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Extended TV coverage for BTCC - with new presenters

BTCC News | Thu 19th March 2009

The organisers of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship have announced an enhanced TV package for 2009, with over 100 hours of broadcast time across the ITV network in 2009.

Extended TV coverage for BTCC - with new presenters

In addition to the increased coverage, details of the presenters of the 2009 coverage have also been revealed, with Steve Rider and Louise Goodman fronting the ITV programmes. Ben Edwards and former BTCC Champion Tim Harvey will continue their roles as race commentators.

Starting at the season's opening round, at Brands Hatch on 5 April, ITV4's regular Sunday afternoon broadcast will begin earlier than before, to include live coverage of all three BTCC races as they happen. This means a mammoth live six hour-plus transmission on the day that will also include action from some of the BTCC's support race categories.

In addition, ITV will extend the duration of its BTCC highlights programmes by 50 per cent - from 60 to 90 minutes - whilst also increasing the number of repeats. These will be broadcast as follows: ITV1 on the following Monday evening; ITV4 on the following Tuesday afternoon; Men & Motors on the following Friday evening; ITV4 the following Saturday afternoon; Men & Motors the following Wednesday evening (ten days after the race event).

On top of that, the network will broadcast a one-hour end-of-season review to look back over the BTCC's ten-round calendar that, between April and October, will provide more than 300,000 trackside fans - as well as the millions tuning in to ITV - with one of the country's finest sporting spectacles. The season review programme will be screened on both ITV1 and ITV4.

All of its live BTCC broadcasts on ITV4 will be live-streamed online via the www.itv.com website as well and the highlights programmes will also be available for viewing online via their ITV Player.

Rider's and Goodman's presence will serve to further enhance the championship's profile in living rooms across the UK. Rider has been one of TV's best known sports 'anchormen' for some 30 years, while Goodman has also become a popular household name thanks to her Formula 1 duties this past decade with ITV.

Both are huge BTCC fans as well. In particular, Rider (pictured) was one of the prime movers behind the BTCC's regular terrestrial TV slots in the Eighties and Nineties, co-presenting the coverage with legendary sports commentator Murray Walker.

Rider commented: "It's particularly satisfying to be involved in a sport which is always strong on storylines, personalities, humour and controversy. The chemistry the BTCC delivers is unsophisticated, so makes it easily accessible for a casual motor sport audience which is of great importance. Indeed, the BTCC is perhaps the one series that has brought the general public flooding back into race circuits across the UK and very probably also breathed new life into some of those circuits.

"The racing is fierce and non-stop, there is overtaking race after race and the personalities are as strong as ever. You stick on the BTCC and are instantly entertained. It is also a great environment in which to work - the drivers and teams are very approachable and really value the importance of the TV viewers as well as the trackside audience.

"With that in mind, it is worth re-emphasising ITV's continuing and comprehensive commitment to the championship - if you add up the hours of motor sport coverage on mainstream television in the UK then the BTCC will receive more air time than any other form of motor sport. I think it's fantastic that ITV, as a major terrestrial television network, is staying loyal to the UK's top motor racing championship."

Goodman is equally enthusiastic about returning to work at BTCC race events - her knowledge of the subject and excellent working relationships with the star drivers made her grid interviews just prior to races compelling viewing. when she last presented coverage of the series in 2007.

She added: "The BTCC never fails to deliver. I'm not just a TV presenter, I'm also a motor sport fan and this series consistently produces the kind of top class entertainment and high standards of competition that all motor sport fans love. As a TV reporter, it's a very accessible series to work in. The teams are open and friendly; I can take the viewers right to the heart of the action so they can hear the news first-hand... and it can get a little controversial, too, so there's always plenty to talk about!"

Comments BTCC Series Director Alan Gow: "This takes our TV coverage to yet another level again. Thanks to ITV's monumental commitment and passion for delivering major sports events to its audiences, the BTCC already enjoys a TV broadcast arrangement that is envied the world over. ITV's 2009 undertaking of even more coverage on both ITV1 and ITV4 is great news for our teams, drivers, sponsors, partners, support races and of course our many millions of fans. ITV is a fantastic partner in the BTCC's success and we are immensely proud of our very close relationship."

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