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October 12th, 2011
British Touring Car Championship chief Alan Gow believes that his TOCA organisation has got it right with the measures used to ensure parity between the different types of cars in the series this year.
There has been discontent from many teams and drivers in the paddock this year over the performance balancing measures used to ensure equality between Super 2000 cars using both normally-aspirated and turbocharged engines, and the new-for-2011 NGTC machines.
On a number of occasions this year, certain types of car have had their performances pegged back or improved by rule adjustments made by TOCA.
However, with five drivers heading into this weekend’s Silverstone season finale still with a chance of winning the championship – four of them driving turbocharged S2000 machines – Gow believes the measures have worked well.
“I’m really proud of the job we have done in delivering the performance equivalency through the season – quite obviously if we hadn’t got it right, would the championship be this close? Of course not,” he said.
“It’s important to remember that we actually know exactly what every car and driver is doing every second of every lap. Nobody else on this planet has access to the huge amount of data that we download and compare from every car, every time they run. So it’s not guesswork.
“Although I must admit it’s been slightly amusing sometimes hearing, throughout the year, the ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘armchair-experts’ – from some of the media and fans alike – who seem to know more about equalising the cars than we do. but thank heavens we don’t operate at their level of ‘expertise’.
“At the beginning of the season we said we would equalise the performance between the top two types of cars, which this year proved to be the Honda and the Chevrolet. And of course different circuits and different track conditions suit different cars, different drivers and different set-ups. As well, the cars have continually been developing throughout the year – which is why we said, right from the outset, that we would make frequent tweaks throughout the season.
Gow believes that the statistics alone – including the fact that Jason Plato’s normally-aspirated S2000 Chevrolet has won more times than anybody else this year, despite its drivers regularly asking for more performance breaks – are enough to prove that parity could not have been achieved in a better fashion.
“Every team and driver has their own ‘could, woulda, shoulda’ stories, when some of their race results have been affected by other issues. That’s precisely why one has to look at it over the season, not just one race or one race meeting or in isolation of all other factors,” he added.
“But the numbers don’t lie; after 27 races, totalling 489 laps around nine different circuits there’s a mere five points difference between the top two types of car – so if that’s not performance parity then I’m damned if I know what is.”