ASTC: Two New Classes for BOC Gases Australian Super Touring

SWEEPING CHANGES FOR SUPER TOURING IN 2000 SUNDAY, JULY 18: Existing cars will be joined by two new classes among sweeping changes in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing series in 2000. The Super Touring cars that...

SWEEPING CHANGES FOR SUPER TOURING IN 2000

SUNDAY, JULY 18: Existing cars will be joined by two new classes among sweeping changes in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing series in 2000.

The Super Touring cars that have contested the championship since 1994 under Federation Internationale de l'automobile (FIA) regulations will continue in the championship in the New Millennium.

Also eligible will be the cars that will be introduced into the British Touring Car Championship in 2001, plus the FIA Super Production category.

The BTCC 2001 cars, powered by two-litre four-cylinder engines, feature cost-saving standard sequential gearboxes, reduced mechanical and aerodynamic grip, and various restrictive regulations.

Base vehicles in the FIA Super Production class will be large-scale two or four door cars, and they are expected to generate about 200-horsepower.

Kelvin O'Reilly, Chief Executive of championship organisers TOCA Australia, announced the revamped format for 2000 at Oran Park over the weekend during the fifth round of this year's series.

O'Reilly said the new classes would reduce costs for competitors, provide an opportunity for new manufacturers to participate in the series, and enhance the entertainment spectacle through increased grid size.

"It's a fresh look for the New Millennium," said O'Reilly. "The concept has been well received by our current teams, and we are confident these changes will result in increased numbers of manufacturers and Independents Cup drivers entering the championship."

O'Reilly said a strategic plan was being put in place by TOCA Australia to market the benefits and impact of the changes.

He said that current FIA Super Touring cars being raced overseas would become available to Australian teams and manufacturers at a favourable price as the BTCC phased in its 2001 cars.

"At the same time Australia is recognising the move to the BTCC 2001 cars by permitting new cars that are in full compliance with the technical regulations for this class to enter our championship."

"These BTCC 2001 cars can be built in Australia, and we feel that will encourage more manufacturers here to become involved because models relevant to our market can be homologated, which hasn't always been the case in the past."

The BTCC 2001 cars will utilise base vehicles similar to current Super Tourers - large scale four-door production cars with a minimum length of 4.2-metres. The cars must be either FIA Super Touring homologated or registered with TOCA Australia with national approval. The model will be required to come from a 'family' of 25,000 cars produced in a 12-month period.

Technical aspects include the use of standard body shells, which cannot be dismantled other than the cutting of roof panels to accommodate the fitting of roll cages, and a minimum weight of 975kg.

Radiators or exit ducts cannot be incorporated into the front spoiler, there is a ban on carbon-fibre and kevlar composites and power steering. Specified engine management systems must be used, and there are compulsory front and rear double wishbone suspensions, and 18-inch wheels.

"By standardising various components it significantly reduces costs," said O'Reilly.

"The front and rear spoilers will provide approximately 50-percent less effective downforce than current Super Touring cars, whilst adopting a similar cosmetic appearance."

O'Reilly said the FIA Super Production cars had to be from a 'family' of 2,500 units to be eligible for the championship.

The minimum weight is 1,100kg for front-drive cars and an additional 30kg for rear-drive vehicles.

Engine specifications include the retention of the original injection system and a compression ratio not exceeding 11/1, while original gearboxes homologated on the vehicle at 2,500 units must be used.

The original suspension part may not undergo modifications, and 15-inch wheels are used.

"This cheaper formula is being introduced to compete in a separate class within the race against the hi-tech Super Tourers, while also allowing for the phasing in and growth of the new BTCC 2001 class," said O'Reilly.

"Overall we view these new classes in the championship, backed by our five-year television agreement with the Seven Network, as being positive moves as we enter the New Millennium."

Mike Porter mikep@qldnet.com.au

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