The countdown has begun for NAPA Racing UK with just days away from the opening rounds of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Having released their announcement back in February, NAPA Racing UK is gearing up to defend their Teams’ Championship trophy with a four-car team for 2023.
Off the back of a successful winter testing program, #116 Ash Sutton, #27 Dan Cammish, #32 Dan Rowbottom and #77 Sam Osborne will take to the track at Donington Park this weekend as they begin their title fights.
As part of the testing regime, the team headed to Brands Hatch for the official season launch on Wednesday, 12th April, which included a three-hour session in the morning and a three-hour session in the afternoon.
The day was full of mixed conditions, but as the checkered flag fell on the first session, only three tenths separated the top five with Ash Sutton in second, Dan Rowbottom in third and Dan Cammish in fifth.
Meanwhile, the season launch provided a wonderful opportunity for the army of NAPA fans to see their favourite driver’s up close during a busy autograph session.
2023 Regulation Changes
There are a number of regulation changes for 2023, including the return of the ‘Top Ten Showdown’ qualifying format, reintroduction of the ‘Option Tyre’ and changes to the rules regarding Hybrid deployment. The main changes are outlined below:
The ‘Top Ten Showdown’ qualifying that was first introduced in 2020 and expanded in 2021, will make a return with the format being adopted at five of the ten events.
All drivers will take part in the normal 30-minute qualifying session to record their lap times. Following a short five-minute break, the fastest ten competitors will then progress to a ten-minute pole position ‘Top Ten Showdown’ session to determine the top ten places on the grid.
The ‘Top Ten Showdown’ will take place (on the Saturday) at the following events:
Donington Park (National) – 22/23 April
Brands Hatch (Indy) – 06/07 May
Oulton Park – 17/18 June
Knockhill – 12/13 August
Silverstone – 23/24 September
This year will see the reintroduction of the Goodyear ‘Option’ tyre at all events with the exception of Thruxton, where only the hard tyre will be used due to the high speed of the track.
The majority of these events will utilise two of the three compounds – hard, medium or soft – where the ‘Option’ tyre must be used at least once during race one, race two or race three – ensuring a variety of strategies.
At two of the events – Snetterton and Croft – all three tyre choices must be used across the three races.
After the introduction of the hybrid power in 2022, several enhancements have been made to ensure deployment carries a greater impact from 2023 onwards.
The top seven cars in the championship and/or top seven cars on the grid will have reduced Hybrid time during qualifying and the races on a sliding scale, whilst the minimum speed at which the system can be deployed for those top seven has been increased.
Cars from eighth place onwards will be able to deploy Hybrid power from a reduced minimum speed, ensuring these drivers can utilise the additional power quicker than the leading order.
These cars – from eighth place onwards – will only have Hybrid deployment available for 50% of the racing laps, ensuring a greater tactical element throughout the race with those drivers having to be more strategic in choosing which of those laps to use it.
Hybrid can now also be deployed on the first lap after the safety car, and the minimum time between deployments has been increased to five seconds, preventing drivers from staying on the power at the conclusion of one lap and into another.
OLY COLLINS – TEAM MANAGER
“After a very busy winter, its finally time to find out what we’ve got! On paper its all in place, in our eyes we have the best drivers and crew in the pitlane and we’ve put an extreme amount of work in to the preparations for this years Championship. But this is the British Touring Car Championship and we all work hard so we will have to wait until Sunday before we know more!
I can’t praise the team behind the scenes enough this winter, it’s by far the most in depth preparations I’ve been involved in. Every area of the team have worked to improve every area of the cars & team both on and off track. We’ve made some valuable additions with new team members to strengthen what was already in place and the mood around the team feels right, there’s a really positive atmosphere. I just hope we’re happy on Sunday night. We want our gold number plates back from Tom this year!”
The season kicks off this weekend, 22/23rd April at Donington Park. You can watch all BTCC races live on ITV4 from 10.45am on Sunday or keep up to date on TSL timings: https://bit.ly/2MDjSpV
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