Yup, you read that right...
I want to make a few points and comments about something I feel is ruining the BTCC...
Ever since 2009, there has been some sort of "heated discussion" regarding a particular element in the British Touring Car Championship. This often been about:
The Advantage held by Rear Wheel Drive cars.
The Parity between Turbo powered cars and Normally Aspirated cars
The level of boost made available due to Performance Equalisation in effect.
Now, as you are all well aware, I've been a fan of the BTCC since 1988. My up close, personal experience with the series began in 2011, the year where there were Turbo Powered Engines and Normally Aspirated Engines in use as the transition was made to using Turbo's again.
Its also where Social Media began to expand with fans talking on forums and pages and in groups, sharing opinions in an open arena.
But its where the bitching from frontline drivers stepped up a gear. I still recall watching Plato's outburst at Oulton Park in 2011 on ITV4, where moments before the two Honda's slid off at the last corner handing his N/A Cruze the win. He complained about not being able to beat the Honda's instead of enjoying his win. He was later fined by the MSA. Its not the first time it happened ashe spent 2009 complaining about the RWD 1st gear advantage from the Super 2000 BMW's.
I should point out that Plato admits time and again he uses the Media to play mind games and gain an advantage but surely enough is enough?
This year, that argument has returned. But its not just Plato thats spoken of it. Dave Bartrum from Motorbase has made noises of building a RWD NGTC BMW 3 series for 2015 and Triple Eight boss Ian Harrison has said that his team would be more competitive next year using RWD.
At Snetterton Plato was overjoyed at getting Pole Position, but then complained in the press that it meant nothing as he expected Turkington to beat him off the line in each race. He also explained his moaning is to get TOCA, the BTCC Organiser, to act on this to equalise the field more.
Gordon Shedden complained about the Honda's lack of straightline speed against other cars due to the boost equalisation formula. Something that Honda have complained of year in, year is their boost handicap because of not using TOCA Engines. At Snetterton both Andrew Jordan and Aron Smith have both said after Snetterton let the moaning comments stop and let the racing spectacle do the talking.
To be honest, Colin Turkington seems to be the only man benefitting from RWD as he leads the championship. But this is due to hard work from WSR over the winter improving the NGTC 125i Sport to fight for wins. After dominant races at Oulton Park and Croft, TOCA instructed a longer first gear to be used by the RWD BMW's and Audi's to neutralise their start advantage... After comments made by Plato and Harrison.
Now I'm a fan. Not a Professional or Amateur member of the Press, so these are my thoughts and opinions. So if I offend I apologise. I dont hate Jason Plato or Ian Harrison so dont think that either. I respect them and how hard they have worked to get to the top.
As a fan, I'm fed up with hearing drivers complaining about cars not having equalised boost or needing further penalties applied to keep things level. I'm also fed up of reading a week later of how TOCA acts after these comments are made.
Almost as if TOCA has reacted to the comments instead of being proactive to them...
Now I'm not knocking the racing and action this season in anyway. Having a full NGTC field for the first time has meant everyone using the same regulations at each event and this attracted a 31 car season entry. That alone shows the popularity of the NGTC regs and the willing for new teams to step up. The on track action has been exciting, close and a thrill to watch. I love that part and always will
But its starting to be off putting now to watch a good race weekend from the BTCC and then to read about the moaning, bitching and complaining in the following days online content or to read about it in a magazine. Its tainting the racing in my view knowing that after watching a great action packed race, more negative comments are made.
It something that needs to be stamped out or stopped, otherwise the BTCC could see itself losing its status as"Britain's Premier Motorsport Series" to the British GT Championship, which is on a big rise with better crowd figures and an improved TV package helping to accelerate this. Indeed SRO Chief Stephane Ratel has confirmed that the British GT Championship will have live TV coverage of all its races next year...
In fact, there are times that the comments and bitching made reminds me of the American Wrestling organisation The WE where everything is staged for the fans. I hate to think that the BTCC could slide to that level, but I wonder if its not on its way already.
My opinion is that TOCA should listen to the fans for a change. Hold an open event at each BTCC meeting where they can converse with Alan Gow and othrs to put forward ideas to help move the championship on. But also voice opinions about what they feel is helping and hurting the series.
As my regular readers know, I have been enjoying the spectacle of the 2013 FIA European Rallycross Championship last year and its successor The FIA World Rallycross Championship this year as my new motorsport following... And its offering a better spectacle than other FIA championships are such as Formula One and the World Touring Car Championship.
And in my growing opinion, the BTCC now as well.
Theres no moaning for performance equalisation taking place. The only reason a Rallycross driver moans is if his or her car has had a failure or suffered an incident on track. The races in the Heats, Semi Final's and Finals are short but exciting...with no moaning of car advantage or performance equalisation because everyone competes to the same levels of boost and regulation etc.
Of course, many could say "Well Phil, dont watch it or read about it anymore."
I'm a Petrolhead. I want to know every detail, whether its the off season, on season, race day or the weeks inbetween. Motorsport is in my blood so I keep watching and will do... But I can say how I feel...and how other fans feel...
So for me, TOCA need to look into reworking the boost formula or scrap it altogether, allowing everyone to use the same bar boost level. Keep the Success Ballast, this works already. But for race three, reverse the whole grid. Let the guys at the back get a chance at the front for a change. Either way, something needs tweaking for 2015 and beyond.
NGTC works... Now the performance measures need work.
Thank you for your time