Toyota Avensis dominates the grid in 2014 BTCC

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The 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship launched today at Donington circuit with the strongest vehicle and driver line-up since 1992.

Seven champions and five nationalities number among the driver line-up, testifying to the quality of the grid. Meanwhile, among the 14 different models from 11 manufacturers competing, the svelte Avensis saloon is the most popular individual vehicle, accounting for five of the 31-car total.

Originally revealed in 2011 in line with NGTC (Next Generation Touring Car) regulations that are now mandatory, Toyota’s touring car and engine programme has proved invaluable in allowing independent teams to compete head-on with manufacturers.

The strength, adaptability and cost-effectiveness of Toyota’s NGTC package is particularly well illustrated this season. For instance, much of the running gear from Adam Morgan’s Avensis has been reborn in an entirely different vehicle for the 2014 series, while the bodyshell has been rebuilt and equipped with new Toyota-developed running gear in order for Lea Wood to join the grid again in his first NGTC-spec Avensis for the Houseman Racing team.

Lea Wood won last year’s Jack Sears Trophy for his outsanding performance in the old S2000 class, so will definitely be one to watch this season (car 43). Another one to look out for on the grid and social media channels will likely be prolific tweeter Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Motorsport Avensis (car 80).

The successful United Autosports team has made the switch from GT cars to field a two-car Avensis line-up driven by James Cole (car 20) and Glynn Geddie (car 21). Also switching to the BTCC after clinching two one-make race series championships is Simon Belcher in the Handy Motorsport Avensis (car 11).

The prevailing feeling among the drivers and organisers at the launch event today was that this season would be remembered as a return to the good old days of the BTCC.

The 2014 season begins on 29-30 March at Brands Hatch, Kent. So why not see what you think by tuning in to ITV’s extensive coverage on ITV4, ITV4 HD and on the itv.com website.

 

 

 

 

 

By Joe Clifford

Comments (9)

  1. Greetings from a BTCC and Toyota fan from Australia. I can’t help feeling that Toyota UK are somewhat of a victim of the NGTC regulations. Having watched the Avensis cars in action in the BTCC it strikes me that the chassis simply too large and the wheelbase too long to achieve optimal performance according to the regulations. Here in Australia there is no direct Avensis equivalent, however we now sell a Corolla (your Auris) in a sedan version that is smaller than your Avensis whilst exceeding the minimum length requirement of 4.4 metres. I think this would form the basis if a superior BGTC car to be honest, however obviously it is not eligible because there is no Auris sedan available in the UK.

    Given that Honda have seen fit to introduce an Estate version Civic in this year’s series, it would be interesting to see Toyota field an Auris Estate, which does meet the NGTC criteria and would arguably adapt better than the Avensis has to the particular tracks used in the BTCC series.

    1. Hi Jonathan
      Thanks for your post. Great to hear of your support for the BTCC and Toyota from Australia.
      Some good points here and we appreciate your feedback. We know that the teams running the Avensis are committed to extracting the very best setup available to help the car remain competitive on the circuit. The Avensis has managed several podiums in the past and we are confident we will be seeing podium results this year as well. As you are already aware, we do sell an Auris Estate (we call it Auris Touring Sports) however are not aware of any team looking to use this model in the future, it certainly would be an interesting car to race.
      Thanks again for your post here and for your feedback. We will be sure to publish any news we receive on our Blog or on our UK Toyota Motorsport Facebook page.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Hi,

        Thanks very much for the reply. I really appreciate it. Yes, the terminology is very different in other parts of the world. I did of course mean the Auris Touring Sports (we call such designs station wagons down here!). At least in the UK your Touring Car racing formula makes far more sense in marketing terms compared to our own formula over here that uses car sizes and models that do not sell nearly as well as small and medium sized models, are increasingly unpopular when it comes to sales figures and are relaitvely inefficient (our country finally seems to be understanding that a Corolla, for example, can get you across Australia just as well, comfortably and effortlessly as anything that uses double or even triple the amount of fuel. Let’s not talk about hybrids as that would be even more embarrassing for these large cars using antiquated and inefficient drive train technology.

        I can’t say I am a huge fan of the NGTC engine rules, though, since they not only tend to discourage the company whose badge is on the car from playing a pivotal role, but I am not really a fan of the turbos, being far more interested in hybrid power which I believe is the way of the future. So I would love it even more if the rules permitted not only say, Toyota to field their chassis likeness, but also power the cars with a Toyota designed 2 litre DOHC 16 valve engine with hybrid power instead of a turbo. I mean, that is exactly what you guys are doing with your road cars now! The only reason I don’t have a Camry Hybrid is because my garage is too small! Anyway enough ranting about the racing.

        I’ve been a Toyota owner for 30 years now and have serviced my own cars from new with only one problem arising in 30 years of Toyota motoring (leaking slave cylinder on my 1987 Corona). I think our entire family must have had about 8 Toyota cars over the last 3 decades (my elderly Mum currently drives a 2006 Yaris and I have a 2014 Corolla) and that’s the only problem we’ve ever had!

        Anyway, best wishes again with the racing programs (including the WEC hybrid program which I find technically fascinating). Rest assured that just because all of this happens in Europe, don’t think I am any less interested than those people hanging off the fences at the actual tracks!!

        Go Toyota!!

  2. TOYOTA needs to create a BTCC edition or more performance based Avensis, with so much success in BTCC and Le mans it would be a shame to waste the continued efforts, that the motorsport teams have put in to promote and represent a company and or performance production car, that the general public can enjoy and feel the same TOYOTA performance kick that the professional race drives feel as they set out in their Le mans or Avensis BTCC race cars.

    1. Hi Clayton
      Thanks for your post.
      We really appreciate your feedback regarding the introduction of a performance Avensis model and will bring this to the attention of the product development team for the future. We do not have any details on future product at this stage but we share your enthusiasm when it comes to watching Toyota cars on track for both the WEC series and BTCC. Hybrid remains a core technology and we can assure that the knowledge that we are building will help with the development of future cars. The Yaris Hybrid R (we accept this is only a concept) is a good example of how we can adapt this technology. It’s is very much a case of watch this space at present and stay tuned to our Blog for the latest news. Thank you again for contacting us and for your interest in Toyota. If you have any other questions please let us know.

      1. Hello David,
        Thanks for the interesting reply. I will be monitoring the performance of the TOYOTA cars in BTCC and WEC series, and your website closely to see more about the Yaris Hybrid R, hopefully this concept can make it into production.
        Thanks

  3. So when are we going to see a more poerformance orientated Avensis? I used to have an Avensis T180, lovely quick diesel, but not engaging to drive or look at. I’d like to see a Hybrid Avensis R like the Yaris concept a while ago! New Aygo looks superb as does the facelifted Yaris, so come on Toyota, let’s see the Avensis get a much needed boost update!

    1. Hello Nigel
      Thanks for your post.
      We appreciate your feedback about the Toyota Avensis. We do not have any details regarding a new model at this stage but please be assured that we will pass your comments back to the product team for consideration during future vehicle reviews. Good to hear that you previously owned a T180 Avensis. Building better cars that are exciting to drive remains a key company objective for us and the GT86 and forthcoming Aygo are good examples of how we are looking to achieve new styling and exciting vehicle performance.

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