The 1995 jump saw the end of the homologation special – you still could walk into an Alfa Romeo showroom in 1994 and ask for the BTCC car you saw race that weekend, it’d just be very difficult to get your hands on (and it wouldn’t quite look the same because the rear wing was a kit in the boot…).
It was also very easy in the late ‘80s through to the late ‘90s to have these totally up-to-date road cars doing battle across the country thanks to the huge number of works teams that made up the BTCC at the time, and with these works teams came massive manufacturer budgets.
During a time of rising costs and manufacturer pride, you had to have a new car every year. If you didn’t you were outpaced and left wanting, and you certainly wouldn’t want to be beaten by something as vanilla as a Volvo or there went your image. And so the spending spree began, costs skyrocketed and the Super Touring scene completed its self-destruction at the turn of the century.
Today a works team is nothing more than a sponsorship deal, with Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla programme being a prime example - the only real involvement from Gazoo Racing seems to be a sticker on the front quarter panel.
The 2,500 minimum returned with the S2000 regs in the early 2000s, continuing through to the current NGTC period, but there is nothing to say a car that was homologated when the regs were first implemented cannot compete now. Which is how you have a grid like today, where a lot of cars are hand-me-downs from previous seasons. It was only when Speedworks Motorsport brought the all-new Corolla to the party in 2019 that the last of the original 2011 shapes, the Avensis, bid the series farewell.