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Thompson is NGTC tester

Former double champion James Thompson will carry out the test and development driving of the British Touring Car Championship’s new Next Generation Touring Car for series organiser TOCA.

Thompson, one of the most successful drivers in BTCC history and who won the title in 2002 and 2004, will begin testing the first car fully built to NGTC regulations in late September.

He will also drive it in the two free practice sessions during the BTCC’s Finals Day event at Brands Hatch (9-10 October) and there is even a chance he could race it – thereby showcasing the new car in front a huge trackside and TV (ITV4) audience.

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow commented: “The first full NGTC car is now under way, in its very early build stages. I couldn’t think of a more ideal driver than James, with his vast experience and proven track record in the BTCC as well as other international race series, to provide the precise technical feedback needed to develop its full potential – and I thank him for enthusiastically accepting my offer.”

Full NGTC regulations, drawn up by the BTCC and being keenly looked at by some other touring car series around the world, will come into force in the Dunlop-backed British series from next year. These new regulations will dramatically reduce the car-build and running costs for teams by some 50 per cent.

However, those teams who already own S2000-spec cars can continue running them for several seasons to come and, importantly, on an equal performance footing with the NGTC machines until 2013.

Teams also have the option of using an engine built to the NGTC two-litre turbocharged regulations in their current cars – something already being tried this season by privateer Vauxhall outfits Pirtek Racing and Pinkney Motorsport.

Notably, in Croft’s BTCC round last Sunday the engine achieved its first-ever win courtesy of Pirtek’s Andrew Jordan


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