Behind the scenes on the BTCC's cellular technical centre

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New unit replaces two vans and has in-built comms mast
The consultants within the TOCA truck use superior package to make sure British Touring Automobile Championship racing is honest and above board

The Kwik Match British Touring Automobile Championship’s tightly managed technical rules are a key purpose it frequently produces such thrilling racing – and making certain its ultra-competitive groups play by these guidelines is a troublesome job. 

The BTCC has a small group of technical consultants at every race to ensure that occurs. This 12 months, they’ve acquired a brand new residence: the TOCA Technical Centre, a newly completed truck unit that travels to each race with all of the tools wanted to run a BTCC race weekend. That features all the technical package, the BTCC’s bespoke signage, occasion branding and even photographer Jakob Ebrey’s stepladder. 

As soon as the tools is ready up, the truck successfully turns into the technical group’s cellular command unit, the place they will analyse knowledge and samples in an effort to police the principles. 

The mammoth truck replaces two smaller automobiles and has, technical director Peter Riches says, taken the championship “to the following stage”. For instance, it has an in-built radio unit and mast, used to run the communications community. Beforehand, that unit needed to be assembled on high of the tallest constructing at every circuit. 

At a value of round £250,000, the Hopkins Motorsport-prepared unit has been fitted with state-of-the-art package, together with Getrac laptops and tablets. It means Riches, his son Sam and Phil Danbury, each BTCC technical commissioners, and their group immediately have the knowledge they want – and the proof that makes profitable arguments with groups simpler. 

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Right here’s what goes on inside it.

In-car footage

Each automotive has an on-board CCTV digital camera in order that stewards can rule on any incidents and photographs saved to reminiscence playing cards is downloaded and picked up right here. ITV can also be supplied with the footage when wanted.

Logistics and communication

An enormous quantity of paperwork, equivalent to technical bulletins, is produced on race weekends and Josie is the important thing assistant who kinds most of it. She additionally performs different very important roles, equivalent to co-ordinating the reverse grid draw for the ultimate race.

Predominant room

Peter, Sam and Phil are based mostly in the primary workplace, the place they will use two TVs to test timing, footage and technical knowledge, which will be synced from any of the Getrac laptops. That is additionally the place group bosses are summoned to elucidate themselves to the scrutineers. When you’re summoned right here, you’re possible in hassle.

Gas evaluation

Carless provides a single management gasoline for the entire BTCC package deal. Samples are taken from automobiles at random and checked towards a chemical ‘map’ to make sure the precise gasoline is getting used. The system has an accuracy of 99.95%.

Head damage analysis

Emily and Lauren, college students from the College of Bolton’s Nationwide Centre for Motorsport Engineering, are engaged on an FIA head damage analysis mission, utilizing acceleration knowledge from chips in drivers’ radio earpieces.

Engine knowledge

BTCC automobiles use on-board Cosworth digital programs. All the info gathered, together with revs, gears and overboost ranges, is saved to a reminiscence card after which downloaded by a Cosworth engineer. The system detects and highlights outcomes that require additional investigation.

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Spot checks

Throughout follow and qualifying, the technical group arrange in the beginning of the pit lane and carry out random spot checks – and, regardless of rumours, the checks genuinely are random – on automobiles. 

It’s all managed by ‘Sam’s Tardis’, the title given to the station the place Sam Riches is predicated. He controls the lights that sign to pitting automobiles whether or not they should cease for checks. 

As automobiles enter the pit, a scanner detects RFID chips of their tyres, making certain they match the units assigned to them. These pulled over then have their journey peak checked earlier than being weighed, with the outcomes immediately accessible on Sam’s pill. Throughout follow, the groups are ‘suggested’ of any failures and allowed to hold on, however these discovered to have damaged the principles in qualifying have their occasions stripped. 

The instruments used combine high-tech with pure ingenuity: the flat scales value round £15,000 a set, whereas journey peak is checked with a specifically modified paint curler…

Learn extra

BTCC 2019: why the game is again to its finest

Racing traces: why automotive makers nonetheless cannot resist motorsport​

BTCC 2019: Tom Ingram on racing the brand new Toyota Corolla​


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