BTCC: Million-pound prize for 98 BTCC

News from the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship 1/12/97 BTCC cash bonanza as TOCA offers million-pound prize A million-pound prize is up for grabs in next year's Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship as part of a huge prize and...

News from the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship 1/12/97

BTCC cash bonanza as TOCA offers million-pound prize

A million-pound prize is up for grabs in next year's Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship as part of a huge prize and bonus fund worth UKpounds1.3 million.

Series organiser TOCA will come up with the cash if any driver manages to win all 26 races in the world's premier touring car series in 1998. It's the biggest financial incentive ever offered in British motor sport and, backed by further cash inducements, makes the Auto Trader Championship one of the most lucrative race series in the world.

TOCA's big cash incentives start at UKpounds700,000 on offer to any driver winning 70percent of next year's races, rising to UKpounds800,000 for an 80percent victory rate and UKpounds900,000 for 90percent, all the way to a cool million for anyone who can achieve a total monopoly of the victory podium.

TOCA chief executive Alan Gow said: "We decided it was only fitting that the best touring car championship in the world should offer the richest rewards to competitors. The 1998 season is already shaping up to be the most exciting ever Auto Trader Championship, and this cash offer can only add to the tension..."

The big-money prizes are by no means unattainable: this season Alain Menu dominated the championship, taking victory in 14 of the 27 Super Touring races held in the UK. The BTCC history books are littered with the names of drivers who have won more than 70percent of the races in a single season.

Independent racers are not forgotten in the TOCA cash bonanza: there's a bounty of UKpounds100,000 on offer to the first independent to win outright a round of the Auto Trader Championship, in addition to the guaranteed UKpounds250,000 Independents Cup prize fund.

The last non-factory backed driver to win a BTCC race outright was David Leslie, who in 1993 drove his Ecurie Ecosse Vauxhall to victory at Thruxton. "With more works assistance now allowed to independents thanks to a relaxation in championship rules by TOCA, the chances of having to sign over a cheque for UKpounds100,000 next year are quite high," says Gow. "What's more, I know that many of the independent teams planning to contest next year's championship will be employing more competitive and up-to-date machinery."

* Statistics just released by Sports Marketing Surveys show that the 1997 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship enjoyed a huge increase in UK television coverage. The series received a total airtime of 39.5 hours on the BBC and Eurosport in 1997 compared to a total of 15.4 hours in 1996. The advent of live race coverage on BBC Grandstand and extended highlight packages increased coverage on the BBC from just over seven hours in 1996 to more than 14 hours in '97. As a result of this remarkable rise in airtime, the top 50 sponsors enjoyed a massive 267percent increase in exposure.

-- www.btcc.co.uk/

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