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BTCC reveals hybrid penalty figures to replace success ballast

The British Touring Car Championship has revealed the hybrid deployment limitations that have replaced success ballast for the 2022 season.

Josh Cook, BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Last year, the pre-weekend top 10 in the championship carried success ballast on a sliding scale from 75kg down to 9kg for free practice, qualifying and race one.

The same levels of ballast were then given to the top 10 finishers from race one for the second race, and from race two for the third race.

The introduction of the Cosworth hybrid system, which boosts power by 10% and can be used for 15 seconds per lap when the car reaches a minimum speed of 120km/h, has done away with the largely unpopular ballast system.

For 2022, the pre-weekend championship leader will not be allowed any hybrid deployment for qualifying, the runner-up will have 1.5 seconds available, and this increases in 1.5s increments up to the full 15s for those placed 11th and below.

In races under 17 laps, the championship leader will have to sacrifice 10 laps of hybrid usage, second place will lose nine laps, and so on, with those penalties readjusted to apply to the top 10 from races one and two for the second and third encounters respectively.

In races over 17 laps, the scale is 15-13-11-9-7-5-4-3-2-1. There are no races scheduled for exactly 17 laps.

In all races, boost is not available until after the completion of the first lap, and after the first tour following a safety-car period.

Series organiser TOCA presented these figures to the teams in late 2021 based on the development testing undertaken with a Toyota Corolla, driven mainly by 2013 BTCC champion Andrew Jordan.

That was on the proviso that the figures could be adjusted based on data from the first two pre-season tests at Donington and Croft.

It was found that they were sufficiently accurate to make public at this week’s Thruxton test.

“As a result of running the test car, probably about mid-season last year we had those numbers worked out,” TOCA chief Alan Gow told Autosport, “and then further running of the test car and the testing that we’ve done with the teams just validated those numbers.

“The hybrid replaces success ballast, so 75kg of success ballast usually equates to three or four tenths of a second on an average circuit.

“And the hybrid does three or four tenths a lap around a circuit, so it worked out it exactly replaced success ballast.

“If we find they need tweaking then of course we’ll tweak them – until we get the real world of 29 cars all running around, you don’t know if they will need tweaking, but we don’t think they will.

“And the kicker to that is that when all the teams had those figures for a few months, they’ve obviously done their own exercises and none of them came back and said we think these are wrong.”

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Ashley Sutton, Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50

Ashley Sutton, Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The qualifying hybrid limitations clearly impose a bigger penalty on a short, sub-50s lap such as Brands Hatch Indy than at Snetterton, where laptime is more than double that at Brands.

Gow conceded that the figures could be modified where the lap is shorter.

“That’s the only thing that we’ve looked at,” he added.

“On a short circuit we might need to alter those numbers – we don’t know yet.

“For Brands Indy and Knockhill, they’re the two short circuits where you think, ‘OK, the disparity might be a bit different there.’ If it’s manifestly wrong, then you’d tweak it.”

When questioned by Motorsport.com about the rules should a race scheduled to be under 17 laps be extended above 17 by the safety car – as is likely on at least one occasion at the opening round at Donington, where the races are timetabled over 16 laps – BTCC technical chief Peter Riches said that, for the sake of simplicity, the hybrid deployment figures would not be altered after the race had started.

Riches added that the same principle would apply should a race of over 17 laps require a restart that reduced it to under 17.

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