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Boost equalisation rules tweaked for 2013 BTCC season

BTCC start Croft 2012

The British Touring Car Championship has modified its turbo boost equalisation system for 2013.

A rolling two-meeting average of best lap times was used to adjust the base boost levels for each model this season.

The aim was to keep the field close, but the system was not unanimously popular.

At a recent meeting of the teams and organisers, tweaks were agreed. However, the system will remain based on laptimes.

The most significant change, arguably, is that boost adjustments will now be applied to individual drivers or teams, rather than to each model of car.

Additionally, the amount of increase or decrease in the turbo boost-pressure adjustment is set to be reduced to an as-yet undecided level, while the frequency of the adjustments could also change.

BTCC series director Alan Gow confirmed that part of the reason for the change was that the baseline boosts for each NGTC car will increase for 2013.

"As with almost any regulation, particularly new ones, they are 'tweaked' based on experience gained - and that's exactly what we are doing here," he said.

"With S2000 cars now not having strict performance parity, the baseline boost levels on NGTC cars can increase and thus the profile of the calculation can alter.

"All the teams endorsed the fundamental aspect of using the lap time analysis, but that we should refine those three areas in particular.

"In the coming weeks a working group, comprising a representative cross-section of the teams, will finalise those exact details."

Alan Gow 2012

Features editor Kevin Turner

Anyone hoping the rolling boost adjustment in the BTCC was going to be a thing of the past in 2013 will be disappointed at the latest news. And then some.

Although the use of baseline turbo boosts to equalise all the different engines made some sense, using lap times to adjust them merely penalised better drivers, chassis and teams.

The latest decision to apply different boost adjustments to different teams - or even drivers – using the same car loses any pretence that this is about equalising engines.

It means that those doing a better job will be reigned in and those underperforming will be helped.

Trying to look on the bright side, the fact that the cars will be allowed to run more power will certainly help the spectacle, and the thought that the boost adjustments may happen less frequently is also a comfort.

But if drivers in the same car are operating on different boost levels, that's hardly a level playing field is it?

If I were a top team, I wouldn't be happy. Why should I spend time, money and expertise on developing the car and having a top driver if one of my customers can come along and simply get extra boost when they're not as fast?

The discontent in the paddock was widespread this season and it's difficult to see these changes helping that. Which rather begs the question: why did the teams agree?

The BTCC is definitely now moving from a sport to a form of entertainment. Some may be happy with that and I'm sure TV figures will remain strong, but for purists – those wanting to see the best win – that's not something to celebrate.

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