BTCC: Series reveals 'world first' CO2 test programme

New CO2 emission testing that could significantly influence some major forms of motor sport, on a global scale, was today revealed by the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship. Media were invited inside a state-of-the-art test laboratory...

New CO2 emission testing that could significantly influence some major forms of motor sport, on a global scale, was today revealed by the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Media were invited inside a state-of-the-art test laboratory at Land Rover, Solihull, UK for a sneak preview of how the testing programme - a world first - will operate.

The BTCC, Britain's highest-profile motor racing championship, will establish and regularly test its competing cars' CO2 figures in order to reduce them to those of their showroom counterparts. This will be measured by using a rolling road drive-cycle specifically developed for BTCC race cars, to give a meaningful comparison alongside their equivalent road models.

The BTCC's latest move is fully endorsed by Energy Efficient Motorsport (EEMS), a Government-sponsored sector initiative whose aim is to put energy efficiency at the heart of modern motor sport. It says the BTCC's CO2 measures are the most relevant it has seen. Also central to this programme has been Horiba Instruments Limited, the biggest supplier of emissions testing devices in Europe.

Cars running to the BTCC's latest set of two-litre technical regulations (Super 2000) have already been put through Land Rover's laboratory ahead of the championship's race season starting at Brands Hatch on 5 April. Those tests have shown that the BTCC teams and their race engine developers are on target to meet the new regulations without foregoing any meaningful loss in power. BTCC cars (and their road-going equivalents) to be tested include BMW 320si, Chevrolet Lacetti, Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic, SEAT Leon and Vauxhall Vectra.

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow said: "What we are undertaking in 2009 is a world first in motor sport. Yes, we could have gone down the easier path of simply mandating the use of bio-fuels or adopting a less technically-challenging 'panacea'. But the BTCC wants to see emission levels genuinely reduced and that is why we are taking this route - in other words tackling CO2 emissions directly at their source; namely the engines themselves.

"Our sport is full of incredibly clever, very talented engineers and this initiative is a great demonstration of their ability to tackle such issues head-on. To my mind, it's a far more meaningful demonstration of our credentials to motor manufacturers, environmental groups, sponsors, the government, motorists and the BTCC's many millions of fans than us taking less convincing (or demanding) steps.

"This of course is the beginning of a long-term strategy from the BTCC and we hope in future to even push our race cars' CO2 levels to beneath those of their road-going equivalents. I would like to thank Jaguar Land Rover, along with Horiba, for their superb technical know-how and back-up during this exciting programme. Similarly, EEMS and the tremendous support and enthusiasm it has also shown us."

EEMS' Marc de Jong says other motor sport series around the world had better sit up and take notice of the BTCC's pioneering CO2 programme. He commented: "CO2 emissions are a primary issue for the automotive industry and the BTCC is the first championship to make CO2 emissions directly relevant to the competition.

"This action from the BTCC will help promote real energy efficiency through technology - and it gives motor sport's engineers a real incentive to demonstrate they can improve engine performance and even decrease emissions. The BTCC has created a platform and now motor sport can showcase real and quantifiable solutions to the broader industry."

Tim Davis, Director of Quality, Jaguar Land Rover commented: "The Jaguar Land Rover Product Compliance Centre at Solihull is one of the best purpose-built end-of-line facilities in Europe and this is further endorsed by the BTCC's decision to work with us. The facility is another important step towards Jaguar Land Rover's commitment to reduce emissions and by sharing these technologies with the BTCC we can work together towards a 'greener' future."

-credit: btcc.net

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Series General
Drivers Alan Gow