Having trialled a top-ten shootout at a handful of events in 2022, before expanding to include half of all race meetings in 2023, the format will be completely revamped for the 2024 season.
The format, named as ‘Quick Six’ will look familiar to fans of IndyCar, where series organisers have taken a direct inspiration.
Following Free Practice Two, the grid will be split into two groups, with those finishing FP2 in odd positions going into one half, with those finishing in even positions going into the other. There will then follow a three-stage qualifying format which will be as follows:
Two ‘traditional’ ten-minute sessions, one for each group, where the top six from each advance to Q2 – known as ‘Top 12’. The grid from 12th down will be set from this point.
All cars that qualified for the Top 12 will compete in another ten-minute session. The top six will advance to the final Q3 ‘Quick Six’ session. Positions 7-12 will be set from this session.
The final ‘Quick Six’ session – a ten-minute session to set the first three rows of the grid for race one.
The new format also means that FP2 will now be of greater importance, as teams will need to run qualifying simulations owing to the limited track time once qualifying gets underway.
“We’re always looking to bring further energy to the championship, but it’s also important that the competitive integrity remains,” explained BTCC Chief Executive, Alan Gow. “I believe our new ‘Quick Six’ format will bring a heightened blend of competitiveness and intensity to BTCC qualifying. As well, it helps the drivers by reducing the amount of cars on track during all three of the qualifying segments.
“I’ve long admired the way IndyCar use this system for its road courses – it’s ideal for the BTCC and in keeping with our policy of providing short, sharp and intense action. The pressure will certainly be on the teams and drivers, more than ever before, to quickly ‘nail’ their qualifying laps in each short segment.”