BTCC HYBRID ENJOYS SUCCESSFUL DEBUT AT SILVERSTONE
Andrew Jordan contests every official session in the BTCC Hybrid Toyota Corolla
The BTCC Hybrid era truly began at Silverstone last weekend (25/26 September) as the BTCC Hybrid Toyota Corolla contested all official sessions during the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship event around the 1.64-mile National Circuit.
The car was entered as part of a demonstration of the Hybrid system, albeit not regarded as the full competitive debut of the car.
Piloted by 2013 champion Andrew Jordan and overseen by both Cosworth and M-Sport personnel, the car spent Saturday not seeking to set competitive lap times, but rather to go through various systems-checks and obtain important mileage and setup information – given that the car has not had any meaningful chassis development or performance running since its introduction last year.
On race day, the car was in a more normal competitive configuration. Jordan set the third-fastest lap time in race one, before going on to set the fastest lap out of all 30-cars in the second race. Just as impressive as recording the fastest lap of the race was the fact that in doing so it did not even set the fastest speed trap times; thus demonstrating that the car was being run without artificially increasing its performance level above its normal.
As directed by TOCA, the car started every official session from the pitlane with Jordan staying away from ‘dicing’ with other cars.
Unfortunately, the car retired on lap six of the final race with a cracked weld in its exhaust manifold, which was unrelated to the Hybrid system.
The car successfully and consistently deployed its hybrid power throughout the weekend – approximately a 10% power increase – for a maximum of 15 seconds per lap. The hybrid deploys when Jordan pushes the hybrid button once full traction has been established.
As previously noted, the object of the weekend was to replicate full real-time BTCC race event conditions for the Hybrid system, as part of the carefully planned ongoing test and development cycle. The car was not in its final specification and is still validating some components and software.
As well, the car was also equipped with the all-new 2022 ‘TOCA Engine’ – developed and built by M-Sport. This new engine has very successfully completed all of its durability and performance programmes (both in-car and on-dyno) in readiness for introduction from next season, for those teams that don’t wish to develop their own engine.
M-Sport confirmed that the engine ran faultlessly throughout the Silverstone weekend, other than the minor cracked weld in the exhaust manifold – in fact that particular exhaust manifold had completed over two seasons worth of testing mileage, both on the dyno and in the car.
The BTCC Hybrid project will now continue apace ahead of its full introduction, with the rear-wheel drive Hybrid BMW joining the Hybrid Toyota during testing and development over the coming weeks and months.
Every car will run the Hybrid system from the beginning of the 2022 British Touring Car Championship.
Alan Gow, BTCC Chief Executive, said: “The fast laps the Hybrid car achieved – running on the exact same tyres as the rest of the grid, as well as a normal race setup – underlined the inherent performance of the car. And nor was the Hybrid system merely ‘cranked up’ to achieve that performance – in fact, as the TSL timing data underlines, setting the fastest lap in race two was achieved despite it not even recording the fastest speed trap times in that race.
“So, we are all delighted with the way the Hybrid system ran during the Silverstone race weekend, as the car achieved everything we wanted it to. The main goal was to go through an entire race weekend sequence; putting the car, the system and our partners – Cosworth and M-Sport – through the ‘stress-test’ that a race weekend brings, as well as comparing the performance of the car, albeit at the very beginning of its competitive life cycle.
“Overall, it has been an extremely successful demonstration and we now continue to the next phase of the Hybrid project’s development cycle ahead of the full introduction for the 2022 season.”