The British Touring Car Championship has announced a plan to fit its 2020 season across August to November.
The UK’s highest-profile national car racing series was originally due to begin at Donington Park on the final weekend of March, before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country led to all sporting activities being halted.
Its traditional pre-season media day took place just as the full repercussions of the crisis began to take effect in the UK, running behind closed doors on March 17 just after an initial decision was taken to postpone at least the first three rounds of the championship.
With talks about how to resume competition under way across all UK sporting bodies, on Monday BTCC organiser TOCA revealed its intention to begin with its Donington event on August 1-2.
It will run nine events rather than the intended 10, with Silverstone’s second round being dropped but every other meeting fitted in.
The statement announced the schedule plan emphasised that “the calendar will of course remain conditional upon receiving appropriate government directives and approvals regarding the resumption of sporting activities. Should the BTCC be unable to resume at that time, the calendar will be amended accordingly”.
The revised season is due to conclude in mid-November on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix track – just one month later than was originally intended.
Series chief executive Alan Gow said: “It’s entirely logical to draft plans and lock-in our provisional dates, with the ability to amend those if circumstances dictate.
“Obviously this calendar presents a hectic four months, with three separate back-to-back events and four events in the first five weeks alone.
“But our teams and drivers are fully up for the challenge – there’s such enormous energy, enthusiasm and passion for the BTCC that everyone will want to just roll up their sleeves and get the action underway when the time comes to go racing.
“However, the over-arching element will always be to ensure we have the correct procedures and protocols in place, in order to provide a safe environment.
“But before that time comes the most important thing we can all do is to please stay safe and also protect the health of others.”
The BTCC announcement followed shortly after British Grand Prix host Silverstone confirmed that its 2020 Formula 1 race would take place behind closed doors, if it was able to be held at all. While Silverstone works with F1 on becoming one of the planned July events that could start the delayed 2020 season, spectators are having their tickets refunded or carried over to 2021.
Provisional 2020 BTCC calendar
August 1-2: Donington Park (National)
August 8-9: Brands Hatch (Indy)
August 22-23: Oulton Park (Island)
August 29-30: Knockhill
September 19-20: Thruxton
September 26-27: Silverstone (National)
October 10-11: Croft
October 24-25: Snetterton (300)
November 14-15: Brands Hatch (GP)