Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours class-winner Darren Turner has been selected as the official hybrid development driver for the British Touring Car Championship's new-for-2022 hybrid package.
Aston Martin factory racer Turner had a three-year spell in the BTCC between 2006 and 2008 with SEAT, winning five races.
The 46-year-old has been contracted by BTCC organiser TOCA and hybrid system supplier Cosworth Electronics, which has completed the first such unit that will be debuted at the two-day Snetterton group test in July by partner team Speedworks Motorsport
The system, which will be available to drivers after the first lap of each race to overtake or defend their position from the 2022 season, will be leased to teams on an annual lease basis for £25,000 each.
A single 60-volt battery will drive a single motor integrated within the current Xtrac gearboxes, providing a boost of around 40bhp for a maximum of 15 seconds per lap. In place of ballast, boost will be restricted in line with a car's success.
Upgrades to the current NGTC machines to facilitate the systems are expected to cost around £60,000-£70,000 each, but will be spread over several seasons, with cars eligible to compete until 2026.
Turner said: “It’s a really interesting project. I hugely enjoyed the British Touring Car Championship when I raced in it and this is a brilliant opportunity to get back in a touring car and do something a little bit different.
"I’ve not had the opportunity to use hybrid with anything else I have done before, in terms of race cars.
“I want to come at this fresh – I will meet the team and the guys doing the development and we will work out clearly what the objective is, because it isn’t just about the ultimate performance of the cars. It’s about making sure that it enhances what the racing currently is like and it adds to what the British Touring Car Championship is all about.
"And of course another important aspect is durability testing – we’ll be putting the equipment through some punishing test cycles.
“As the hybrid deployment will be for both attacking and defending, we will need to work on how it is best configured so that it’s easy to understand and easy to use. It’s also important that the fans can see it and understand what’s going on.
"All involved will be going through a learning process with it, but that is exactly what this testing programme is for.
"We want to see what it is capable of, and then work out the best deployment strategies from there.”
2020 BTCC contenders at the Silverstone Media Day
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
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