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BTCC to feature top-10 pole shootouts and option tyres in 2023

The British Touring Car Championship has announced a number of rule changes for 2023, including top-10 qualifying shootouts being held at half the rounds and the option tyre returning.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30N

The tweaked qualifying format was first trialled at Snetterton in 2020 and features the regular 30-minute qualifying session followed by a short five-minute break before a 'Top 10 Showdown' is then held over 10 minutes to set the front five rows of the grid.

It was used at three events in 2021 but not at all this year - however, with the number of support series reducing from five to four for 2023, there is now more flexibility in the timetables and the alternative format will be used at the season-opening Donington Park round, as well as at Brands Hatch (Indy layout), Oulton Park, Knockhill and Silverstone.

Following the traditional end of season meeting between series organiser TOCA and the teams, as was expected, the option tyre will also make a comeback for next season.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, drivers had to use an alternative tyre for one of the three races across a BTCC weekend.

But this rule was scrapped in 2020, when the schedule was congested following the COVID-19 hiatus.

It did make a reappearance at four rounds in 2021 but was not used this year.

However, it is back for 2023, with the option tyre needing to be used in one race at all weekends apart from at the abrasive, high-speed Thruxton track.

In addition, at Snetterton and Croft, all three of the Goodyear tyre compounds used across the season will need to be run by drivers.

The soft tyre previously used in 2019 is back for 2023

The soft tyre previously used in 2019 is back for 2023

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Further rule changes for next year concern the hybrid boost system, which replaced success ballast for 2022.

From 2023, the top seven cars in the championship will continue to have hybrid available on a sliding scale that increases the further down in the standings a driver is.

Cars placed eighth and below will be able to use the additional hybrid power from a lower initial speed, but will only have it available for 50% of the laps during a race.

Rules concerning hybrid use after safety-car periods have also been altered, while the gap between each deployment has been increased to five seconds.

“The changes we have made for 2023 have been done solely to keep to the core values of the championship – and that’s to make the BTCC as competitive, unpredictable, exciting and entertaining as possible,” said BTCC chief executive Alan Gow.

“All year I’ve been asked by teams and drivers to bring the option tyre back for 2023, as they really enjoy the challenge it provides. So, we thank Goodyear for accommodating this and producing the three different specifications of tyres needed.

“As well, after the data-gathering and learnings from the first season using hybrid, we identified ways in which to tweak how the hybrid is deployed in order to better suit the competitive nature of the BTCC.

“Drivers throughout the field will now have to be more strategic as to when, where and how they use hybrid.”

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