Friday 10 July 2005
BTCC EMBRACES BIO-ETHANOL TECHNOLOGY
The first ever car to enter the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship powered by bio-ethanol – a fuel made from farming crops such as sugar beet and wheat – will make its debut when the BTCC races into action at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire on Sunday 17 July.
Fiona Leggate will take to the track in a Vauxhall Astra Coupe – converted to run on bio-ethanol by renowned specialist preparation company Triple Eight and competition engine tuner Sodemo. The car will be run in the BTCC by the TechSpeed team. Leggate hopes that by racing in Britain’s biggest motor racing championship she will increase the profile of bio-ethanol fuel and help the UK’s farming industry.
Leggate, the 25-year-old daughter of a farmer from Boston, Lincolnshire will become the first top-line female racing driver to compete in the BTCC grid for six years when she lines up on the grid in front of the live ITV1 cameras at Croft. It will be a far cry from her weekday job – running a children’s soft play area.
Leggate said: “Bio-ethanol is a viable fuel for the future and people will see that when they watch my car in the BTCC – the championship is the perfect arena to demonstrate there is no difference in power between a car using bio-ethanol or petrol. The only difference will probably be the smell!
“The BTCC is a major step up in my career. I’m not interested in being seen as a bird against the blokes. Fair enough, the grid is made up of males, but to me they are just other racing drivers and if I get a chance to overtake them then I will.”
Bio-ethanol is the third type of fuel to be used in the BTCC in two years. Last year, a car running on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) raced in the championship in addition to the more conventionally petrol-powered cars. The BTCC’s technical regulations also mean the way is open for a manufacturer or independent team to enter with a diesel engine.
BTCC Series Director Alan Gow commented: “The BTCC is all about forward thinking and we welcome with open arms innovative technology such as bio-ethanol. Over the next few years, this fuel could really take off among the automotive industry and where better to push the boundaries and also demonstrate its obvious merits than in front of British motor sport’s biggest crowds and television audiences?”