VX Racing team boss Ian Harrison says he believes the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship should become a bio-ethanol fuelled series in an effort to take the championship to an even bigger audience.
Alternative fuels have become a feature of the series over the past few seasons, initially in 2004 when Mardi Gras ran a car for John George powered by LPG in 2004. Since then, Techspeed, Kartworld Racing, Team Farecla and most notably Team RAC have also embraced alternative fuels with bio-ethanol, while diesel is also set to feature in 2007 should plans from Kumho BMW Series champion Rick Kerry to enter a BMW 1 Series come to fruition.
Speaking to Crash.net Radio prior to Christmas when quizzed about the possibility of VX Racing switching to alternative fuels at some point in the future, Harrison said it was his belief that the BTCC should adopt bio-ethanol completely as such a deal would be beneficial to all involved.
“Of course we [Triple Eight, the company behind VX Racing] have already been involved with the bio-ethanol project with Thurlby and Techspeed and frankly the whole BTCC should already be on bio-ethanol and we should be actively looking for a fuel sponsor who would come along and sponsor the series in a headline way and would supply bio-ethanol fuel,” he said. “There would be no negative publicity from that at all and it would be entirely the opposite and only positive. Being the premier series in the UK, it is what we should be doing. We should be pushing that sort of image more than we do.
“Put it this way, if we found a big sponsor in the shape of a fuel company and they said they were advertised on each car in a fixed position, like the number plate, and each team got free fuel for the year, for the teams that is a big chunk of money. For a big fuel company, I suspect that wouldn’t be, but they would get massive advertising out of it and in terms of value for money in the market place, it would be a bit of a no-brainer. They would only get positive publicity from it and the championship would get positive publicity from it and everyone, I believe would win. But we need to go out and make it happen.”
Harrison added that such a move, with a big fuel company providing fuel free of charge, would serve to make the BTCC even more appealing to teams than it already is following the work put in by Alan Gow and his team in recent years – work that resulted in the 2006 season seeing the biggest grids for many years.
“We are trying to attract people into the series and need to make it as attractive as possible to make people want to come and join the BTCC – we need to make the feel good factor as good as we can,” Harrison continued. “In terms of other things like tyres, engines, accident damage, driver costs and all the rest, the cost of fuel isn’t that big but it all adds up and makes a difference.
“More than just the financial side of things, it would send the right image out and give the right message to the rest of the country, and indeed to Europe, to say ‘Hey, look at us, we are bio-ethanol. We’re as green as we can be, doing what we are doing’. I don’t think that would have a negative effect on anybody.”