NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 10/10/96

BBC GRANDSTAND AND TOCA ANNOUNCE LIVE TV DATES

The Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship will feature three live televised events in 1997, it was confirmed today (Thurs). With the Auto Trader Championship becoming the chief focus of the BBC's televised motor sport coverage next year, the move to live TV - - in addition to the transmission on Grandstand of extended one-hour pre-recorded highlights of the nine other BTCC double-header events -- is seen as yet another major step forward for the world's top ranking touring car championship.

The three circuits playing host to the BBC's live cameras will be Donington Park, Knockhill and Brands Hatch.

The news has inevitably led to some revisions to the provisional BTCC calendar previously announced: the season will still kick off on March 31 at Donington Park, but the Grand Prix circuit will be used rather than the Short layout -- this will be used instead for the live TV June 15 races. Also, the Knockhill rounds have been moved back a week to avoid a clash with test match cricket and permit live coverage.

Regrettably, there will be no Auto Trader Championship races supporting the British Grand Prix next year due to insoluble television contract conflicts. The 1997 season will therefore comprise 24 rounds at 12 meetings, plus the end-of-year non-championship Tourist Trophy at Donington Park.

'It is a great shame that we shall not be at the Grand Prix next year,' said TOCA Chief Executive Alan Gow, 'but difficulties with television rights meant that we have no alternative but to drop it from our schedule. The situation was further complicated by the BBC no longer being the host broadcaster of the event.'

1997 AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 30/31 March Donington Park (GP circuit) 19/20 April Silverstone (International circuit) 4/5 May Thruxton 17/18 May Brands Hatch (Indy circuit) 25/26 May Oulton Park (Long circuit) 14/15 June Donington Park (Short circuit) 28/29 June Croft 1/2/3 August Knockhill 9/10 August Snetterton 23/25 August Thruxton 6/7 September Brands Hatch (Indy Circuit) 20/21 September Silverstone (International circuit)

Non-championship event: 18/19 October Donington Park Tourist Trophy

-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing