The long-awaited hybrid era of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) debuts in 2022, and with it comes a brand-new formula for the series. The season launch was held on April 12th, ahead of the third and final test before the season gets underway at Donnington on April 23rd.

Despite some relief throughout the paddock in getting the new hybrid formula up and running and all teams starting to get to grips with the new hybrid powertrains, the journey to this point wasn’t all plain sailing, as Chief Executive of the BTCC, Alan Gow, explains, ‘Back in 2019 when we announced we’d go hybrid, we didn’t know what the headwinds would be when we set out. Cosworth started the project in the middle of 2019, and then we ran into a global pandemic. All the supply chain issues, cost escalations – plus now the war in Ukraine, which stopped some other parts coming through, it’s been a real struggle, and my hats go off to the teams who put their shoulders to the wheel to get it done. It was f**king hard.’

The BTCC moving to hybridisation makes it the first touring car championship in the world to do so, putting it under the spotlight and making it somewhat of a crash test dummy for this technology in this formula.

2022 BTCC cars at season launch. Credit: Stewart Mitchell

‘I didn’t want us to be pioneers,’ said Gow. ‘I would rather someone else did it first, and we could take their learnings, but we can’t just sit there and wait, we had to take the initiative, and I’m very proud that the BTCC is the first touring car championship in the world to go hybrid. We had to [move to hybrid] because of what is going on in the world around us. Touring cars are developments of road cars, and they are going either fully electric or hybrid. It is to stay relevant to the market.’

Of the pre-season tests, Gow said, ‘All the cars that have been running have been problem-free, but there will always be things that need to be done. We are a little bit behind; we should have been testing six weeks ago [late February 2022], we didn’t, but that’s the world we live in. Now we will make the best use of it [in the last test].

‘As with any new technology, there will be times in the year when things don’t necessarily go wrong, but something will annoy you (the drivers/teams). That’s what happens when you introduce new technology, but it is the same as when you bring a new engine or chassis component.

2022 BTCC hybrid system installed. Credit: Stewart Mitchell

‘Hopefully, I’m wrong, and everyone will run 100% problem-free for the year. The good thing about the hybrid is that [if there is a problem], it won’t stop the car from running. You just have a car that doesn’t have hybrid deployment, the same as the one leading the championship.’

Furthering on Gow’s final point, management of the hybrid power deployment replaces the use of success ballast in the series for 2022 with a scale of deployment throughout a race for drivers in the top ten championship positions. This replaces the success ballast (weight handicap) from the previous generation, which was 75 kilograms for P1 in the championship reducing in 9kg increments down to the tenth place.

A maximum of 15 seconds deployment of 40kW (~54bhp) electric drive deployment via a 60V axial flux permanent magnet motor integrated into the transmission is permitted per lap for all drivers P11 onwards. The deployment duration and number of laps it can be used decreased incrementally for positions 10 to 1. In any race under 17 laps, the championship leader has zero hybrid power deployment for the duration.

2022 BTCC cars at season launch. Credit: Stewart Mitchell

The drivers throughout the BTCC paddock have expressed their enthusiasm for the new formula noting that it adds an entirely new element to the competition and requires a more focus on in-race and overall championship strategy. Drivers will be able to choose where on track they deploy and regenerate energy, and different maps will be available. With this newly introduced emphasis on strategy, the teams that play smart rather than just aggressive may come out on top in this new generation of the BTCC.


Stewart is a degreed engineer, professional technical researcher and engineering journalist with proven experience in producing some of the most comprehensive technical content ever published on some of the most high-profile motorsport technology ever made. He brings his knowledge and experience to Racecar Engineering to enable readers to explore a diverse range of contemporary motorsport technology and engineering phenomena in a plethora of racing disciplines.