TOCA has confirmed the calendar for the 2005 British Touring Car Championship, with the series returning to the National circuit at Silverstone and the full Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch.
The championship will visit the same nine circuits it has raced on this season, quashing rumours that the Motorsport Vision tracks, Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Oulton Park, would be missing from the calendar.
Series director Alan Gow is pleased to have reached agreement with Jonathan Palmer for the BTCC to continue racing on his circuits, especially the Grand Prix circuit at Brands, which will host the final round of the season.
“I am delighted that Jonathan Palmer and Motorsport Vision have reaffirmed their full support of the BTCC by wishing to retain all their rounds,” he said. “This support includes a return to Brands Hatch's full-length Grand Prix circuit for the final event, which will provide another exciting, new element to the championship. We are also hoping to install a large Starvision screen at this event, so spectators don't miss out on any of the action that takes place on the GP section.”
Gow is also delighted that the series will switch the race at Silverstone to the National circuit after a ten year absence.
“The return to Silverstone's ‘National' layout means more/shorter laps and added action for our fans,” he said. “We last raced there in 1995 and the racing was always full of drama and incident, particularly for spectators in the grandstands around Woodcote corner – the sight of the BTCC field arriving head-on down the Club straight into the stadium section with cars fanned out across the track made for an unforgettable spectacle.”
The announcement ends speculation that new circuits could be added to the calendar, although Gow admitted he would like to take the touring cars to Castle Combe.
“We seriously considered taking the BTCC to Castle Combe for the first time,” he said, “but unfortunately there is no room on our calendar for them at this time. However, make no mistake - Castle Combe is certainly top of our list of new venues to visit in the near future.”
Rockingham was another circuit that had been suggested, having hosted a round back in 2003, but Gow says that was never an option for this season.
“It should be noted that Rockingham did not seek a date on our calendar, as the circuit had made a policy decision not to host any high-profile championships other than its own,” he said.
The Australian, who is aiming to take the series back to the heady heights of the 1990's, believes that the calendar will provide fans with another action packed season.
“My priority was to ensure that none of our races conflict with Formula One Grands Prix next year,” he said, “something that is vitally important to our TV scheduling, more details of which will be announced at a later date.
“I believe our 2005 calendar provides the BTCC, our partners and our fans with a great geographical spread and, allied to the use of the two different circuit lay-outs at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, also gives a couple of new and interesting tweaks to the championship.”
2005 British Touring Car Championship Calendar:
9-10 April Donington Park (National)
30 April-1 May Thruxton
28-29 May Brands Hatch (Indy)
18-19 June Oulton Park (Island)
9-10 July Croft
23-24 July Mondello Park
6-7 August Snetterton
27-28 August Knockhill
17-18 September Silverstone (National)
1-2 October Brands Hatch (Grand Prix)