BTCC: TV coverage announced

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP -- 20/3/96 MAJOR TV DEAL -- AND MURRAY WALKER -- FOR BTCC Britain's biggest and most successful motor sport series, the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, is set to ...

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP -- 20/3/96 MAJOR TV DEAL -- AND MURRAY WALKER -- FOR BTCC Britain's biggest and most successful motor sport series, the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, is set to expand yet further with the announcement today (Weds) that from next season BBC television coverage of the series will more than double, with some events screened live. And the BBC's 'voice of motor sport', Murray Walker, says he will be postponing his retirement to continue his award-winning commentary of the championship. In a ground-breaking move for UK motor sport, the BBC has committed to screening some 15 hours of the championship in 1997 and beyond -- up from seven hours this year. The post-produced race coverage is to be expanded from its current 30-minute format to a full hour so that all races can be shown in their entirety. The deal has heralded a new five-year contract with the championship which secures this level of coverage until 2002, with an option to extend it by a further five years after that. In addition, for the first time ever BBC TV will be broadcasting some selected events live, making use of the technology and resources previously employed for its Grand Prix telecasts. Formula 1 coverage switches to the ITV network in 1997. The BBC will also be extending its commitment to the championship through dedicated preview and review programmes, as well as feature slots on other BBC Sport and related programmes and publications. Alan Gow, Chief Executive of championship organiser TOCA Ltd, announced the news at Donington Park at the media launch of the 1996 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship. He said: 'The BTCC really steps up a gear from 1997. I know of no other motor sport series in the world, and certainly no touring car championship, that can boast this level of long-term guaranteed major television coverage. In 1997 and beyond, our new contract with the BBC will provide for the broadcast of some 1,000 minutes per year of the championship. 'This new deal puts the BTCC firmly in the big time... a major player in the British and international sporting scene, and not just in the world of motor sport. The BBC may have lost the Grands Prix, but they have certainly demonstrated that they are committed to providing the British public with the very best sports in the world, by securing the best series in the world.' Of the plans for live coverage, Gow added: 'This puts us firmly in the top echelon of major sports coverage. These exceptional live broadcasts may also be extended to include some of the TOCA support races, the top-quality British motor sport that forms such an important part of the BTCC race day programme. 'The BTCC just keeps getting bigger and better every year. This new and major television commitment absolutely underlines it.' More good news for fans is that Murray Walker, will continue to commentate on the series. Said Walker: 'The BTCC has been achieving some absolutely stunning viewing figures for the BBC -- in excess of 3 million a race -- and we are absolutely determined to stay with this championship. BTCC racing makes Formula 1 look child-like at times, and that's something I never thought I'd hear myself say...' The 1996 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship bursts into life at Donington Park, near Derby, on Easter Monday (Apr 8). -- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing

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Series BTCC
Tags TV