PROTYRE FORMULA RENAULT BARC SERIES TO MAKE BTCC APPEARANCE AS 2011 CALENDAR ANNOUNCED
Drivers competing in next year's Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship are to benefit from the capacity crowds and live television exposure of the British Touring Car Championship for the final two rounds of the season after organisers unveiled the 2011 calendar.
The one-make single-seater category will once again be contested over 12 rounds (six double-headers) with the final two races -- often the championship decider due to the series' closely fought nature -- joining the TOCA package at Northamptonshire's Silverstone circuit on 15th/16th October.
The move marks only the second time the Protyre BARC series has joined the popular BTCC package (previous 2006) with the championship filling the slot left by the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin which in 2011 features a 16-round calendar. It will join BTCC regular the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship as Renault Sport UK's second support race at the Silverstone meeting giving spectators four thrilling single-seater rounds to enjoy.
More than 40,000 spectators attended the BTCC finale earlier this year which enjoys comprehensive live television coverage on the ITV Sport network and website, and, from next year, the channel's new HD channel.
Meanwhile the rest of the calendar (below) sees the series kick-off at Donington Park National on Easter weekend (23rd/24th April) before moving to Brands Hatch Indy (14th/15th May), Oulton Park Island (28th May), Croft (23rd/24th July) and Thruxton (3rd September).
The series will also continue to be run by Grovewood Sport Ltd with Championship Promoter Simon North commenting: "We are very much looking forward to the 2011 Protyre BARC series and in particular the introduction on the BTCC meeting. The series has always been a proven feeder series to the national-level Formula Renault UK Championship but this announcement means the top BARC drivers will be able to demonstrate their talents in front of the UK teams, along with the thousands of spectators and millions more watching live on ITV."
Chipping Norton racer Alice Powell secured the 2010 Protyre BARC Championship title after a thrilling head-to-head finale with Mitchell Hale (Bristol) at Thruxton. Protyre BARC racers were also well represented in this year's packed Winter Cup series which was won by Suffolk ace Josh Webster.
Interest is also already building ahead of the 2011 campaign with the recent announcement of Indian racing driver Zaamin Jaffer signing a deal with reigning champion team Hillspeed.
2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship calendar:
Rds 1&2 23/24 April Donington Park National
Rds 3&4 14/15 May Brands Hatch Indy
Rds 5&6 28 May Oulton Park Island
Rds 7&8 23/24 July Croft
Rds 9&10 3 Sept Thruxton
Rds 11&12 15/16 Oct Silverstone National (with BTCC)
-source: renault sport uk