|Above: The BTCC has been added to an already impressive list of Championships at AOR|
AOR has officially unveiled the British Touring Car Championship, with hopes growing that this won't just be a one season wonder.
The announcement follows the dissolving of the Ferrari Challenge series - which followed on from the RUF Supercup - with the hope that the affordable handling from the multiple cars available to choose from will make this a regular staple on the AOR calendar.
Expect familiar faces to return from the Ferrari Challenge - season Champion xII robo IIx headlines the confirmed driver line-up which already displays an impressive list of talent glistening with touring car experience, who will contest a revised format to benefit the racing and equalise the field.
With six manufacturers confirmed for the BTCC there will be a huge scramble for places, with many drivers and manufacturers expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks. The first and only test session is anticipated to take place next week, allowing the drivers ample opportunity to find a team for them.
This is the start of a new era for the BTCC and for AOR, with the organisers confident of a successful format that is here to stay. There will surely be many talking points throughout the season and the upcoming test is the first chance for drivers to familiarise themselves with the machinery. The test will also give the officials a chance to fine tune the setups of the cars before they are homologated, which will surely be a key talking point, not least amongst the drivers that are racing them.
But what the test ultimately will demonstrate is who the key players will be this season. Expect many of the Ferrari Challenge frontrunners to be up to speed relatively quickly, with xII robo IIx and x Shuffle surely the favourites before a wheel is even turned, but the hope of the organisers is that the field spread will get tighter and by season's end the grid will be separated within tenths of each other rather than seconds.