The BTCC has International status and is operated in accordance with the general regulations of the RAC Motor Sports Association and the series own sporting and commercial regulations, which incorporate the FIA Super Touring technical regulations.
In 1992, the administration of the series was passed from the RACMSA and into the hands of a private organisation. TOCA Ltd was formed by the top team managers of the time (Andy Rouse, Dave Cooke, Vic Lee, Dave Richards) with Alan Gow as managing director. It’s responsibilities include not only the day to day running of the race meetings, but also all contracts relating to the media, event promotion and series sponsorship. TOCA also oversees the application of the sporting and technical regulations and is responsible for driver discipline.
A number of difference race formats have been used: –
Single: One race covering between 60km and 70km depending upon track size. Single races were slowly phased out over the decade and replaced by the other multi-race types, giving the fans 26 individual races in 1999, compared to 13 in 1990. The last single BTCC race was in 1995 at the GP support meeting at Silverstone.
Double: Introduced in 1991, these are two races of 50km – 60km separated by a 10 minute gap. Between the races, the pit crews can work on the cars and make any adjustments required, including fitting new tyres and refueling. Cars stopped on the circuit can also be recovered and repaired, but only within the allocated 10 minutes. Failure to take grid position at the allocated time will result in the car starting from the back of the grid for the second race.
Twin: Used from 1995, these are two races of equal length with a gap of at least 90 minutes between them. The first race starting between noon and 12:30, with the second race between 15:00 and 15:30. Similar rules to the Double race apply, but with teams having more opportunity to repair or make adjustments to their cars. It is common for support events to be run between the two races.
Sprint/Feature: Introduced in 1998 and applied to all rounds of the championship. Two races, with a minimum of 90 minutes between the two. The first race being the Sprint covering between 50km and 60km. The second race being the much longer Feature event of between 100km and 140km which has a mandatory pit-stop that has to be taken between 15% and 70% of the race distance, during which at least two wheels and tyres must be changed.
Qualifying: The are two 30 minute qualifying sessions per race meeting, separated where possible by at least 2 hours.
From 1991, both sessions counted towards the grid position for the first (or only) race of the day, with the driver’s best time from either session being used. Grid position for the second race of the day (Double or Twin races) would be the finishing position in the first race.
From 1995 till 1997, each qualifying session counted towards only one of the races, the first qualifying session determined grid position for the first race, and the second session for the second race.
From 1998, the first qualifying session counted towards the longer Feature race, while the second session became a One-Shot Showdown, with each driver allowed only a single lap to determine their grid position for the Sprint race.
Points System: Points are awarded to competitors depending upon their finishing position in each race, and these points count towards the relevant championship totals in accordance with the rules of each championship.
At the end of each season, the totals accumulated for each championship determines the finishing order of that specific championship, but where a tie exists between two or more competitors, the outcome will be decided by taking into account the number of race wins by each. If a tie still exists, then the number of second places will decide the title, and so on until a winner is found.
Between 1991 and 1993, the Driver and Team points were awarded to the first 10 finishers as follows : 24-18-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1, with half points being awarded to the first 8 finishers of either event in a Double race. Manufacturers points were awarded in 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sequence depending upon finishing position.
From 1994 to 1995, all championships adopted the same points system (24-18-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1) for all rounds, regardless of race type.
From 1996 onwards, a single points system was retained but the number of points available per event was reduced to 15-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1.
Drivers Championship: The Drivers title is awarded to the competitor who has accumulated the highest number of points throughout the season based on the points system above. From 1996 onwards, drivers are awarded a single point for claiming pole position, and from 1997 an additional point for leading the feature race at an event. Initially all race results counted, but from 1997 each driver counted only their best 22 results, which would have to include any rounds in which they were disqualified due to breech of regulations.
Drivers are eligible to score points with different cars, but may make only one change of drive train format in the season. They may change again, but would not continue to score points.
Financial Bonuses for drivers were introduced by TOCA in 1998, with £1 million available to any driver winning all 26 rounds, £900,000 for 23 victories, down to £700,000 for 19 wins. This was changed the following season to £250,000 for any driver taking four consecutive race wins at two meetings.
Manufacturers Championship: Points are awarded to the manufacturers highest placed car in each race, based on the point system above. As with the drivers championship, dropped scores were introduced in 1997 making only the top 22 scores count.
Teams Championship: Teams must nominate a maximum of two cars per season, which are awarded points based on their finishing position. From 1998, only results from a Feature style race count towards the championship.
Independents (TOCA/Total/Autosport) Cup: Points awarded as above, except where five or less drivers take the start, in which case the points will be awarded for the top three places : 15-10-5. Additional points were introduced in 1999 for top independent qualifier for each race, fastest lap for each race and any driver leading the independents division during a Feature race.
Independents: An independent is classified as any driver who does not receive substantial manufacturer or importer assistance above that freely available to any other independent competing in the same marque.
They score points for the Independents Cup and receive substantial incentives by the cup sponsor to enable them to compete in the BTCC. Any driver entering all rounds of the series receive a bonus, which is paid in two installments during the season. This bonus started at £8,000 in 1993, quickly rising to £10,000 in 1994, and to £20,000 in 1997. Additional payments of £30,000 £15,000 and £10,000 were paid to the overall top three finishers, these bonuses being doubled in 1997 making the series the richest in the UK.
In 1998 TOCA introduced an additional bonus of £100,000 for any independent driver winning a race overall. This was doubled to £250,000 the following year.
Fuel: All cars must use a standard, TOCA supplied, unleaded fuel throughout the race weekend. TOCA has the ability to undertake detailed analysis on-site and may take random samples from participating cars. No refueling is permitted during practice or qualification sessions, during the race itself, or before post-race scrutineering has been completed.
Scrutineering: All competing cars for a race meeting must be subjected to routine scrutineering checks at the start of the meeting, and may also be liable to random checks during the course of the race weekend. The chief scrutineer and technical commissioner will select cars for checks after each qualifying session and after each race. These checks can include the cars weight, ride height and exhaust noise. Failure of the checks could result in loss of a qualifying time or disqualification from the race altogether.
In addition, any car may be impound following a race to enable more detailed checks to be performed, which could include detailed analysis of the cars electronic devices by suitable experts.
Driver Discipline: All drivers are answerable to the Clerk of The Course and the TOCA administrator with regards to their behaviour during a race meeting, both on and off the track. Fines, time penalties, license endorsements, points deductions or even disqualifications can be applied in the event a driver being judged to be in breach of the regulations.
TOCA also introduced a Driving Standards Advisor (ex-Vauxhall driver Jeff Allam) in 1995 to help promote the quality of driving in the series.
Testing: TOCA organises official test days at each circuit prior to each race meeting. Once the championship season has started, no other testing is permitted at a track until all races for the specific track have taken place.
Race Numbers: The numbers displayed on the race cars are allocated at the discretion of the championship co-ordinators. Race numbers 1 thru 10 are reserved for the drivers who finished in the top ten the previous season, while other numbers are allocated as required.
Sponsorship: The advertising of tobacco or tobacco related products is not permitted in any form. Also, any products not permitted to be advertised on UK television are also prohibited, and TOCA reserve the right to censor or ban any advertising deemed unsuitable for the series.