Why the BTCC has become less destructive

Why the BTCC has become less destructive

The British Touring Car Championship has a rough and tumble reputation, yet penalties are down almost a quarter this year compared to last. What's behind that fall, and has it had a detrimental effect on the series' entertainment value?

In most series that use it, push-to-pass is a system that allows a driver to thumb a button on their steering wheel to gain a brief power boost in a bid to overtake the car in front. Simple enough, if somewhat artificial. But it's a term that takes on a different meaning in the British Touring Car Championship. Here, it's the colloquial term for an unsubtle and rough overtake: release the brakes early, nudge the driver ahead to force them off line and then claim the position.

The BTCC has long faced criticism for its 'door-banging' driving standards, not least because it is relied upon to set an example to the lesser championships which support it, including Ginetta Junior which caters for drivers as young as 14. 'What example are they setting?' the sceptics ask, and purists bemoan the tin-tops' perceived heavy-handedness.

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