THE UK’s leading saloon motorsport series, the British Touring Car Championship, will definitely return to Scotland this year after the Knockhill circuit received the green light after completing a number of improvements to the Fife circuit.
Although it was included initially on the provisional calendar for 2004 after being controversially dropped last year, BTCC boss Alan Gow issued a number of points he wanted remedied before confirming Knockhill’s return.
"We’re pleased to say we’ve met all the additional requirements requested by the BTCC organisers," Knockhill owner Derek Butcher said, "which means the championship will definitely return on August 7/8. It’s fantastic news and great for Scotland that the Touring Cars are definitely back. We always argued there was no way it could be labelled ‘British’ if it didn’t come to Scotland.
"I think what is important to emphasise is that there was nothing we had to do to improve the actual on-track racing facilities. They have always been acknowledged as being amongst the best. What we did have to do was address minor points such as improving the water supply to certain areas of the paddock as well as improving the area of hard-standing to support the large number of heavy vehicles which form part of the championship."
And Gow believes Knockhill can help give the championship, which gets underway on April 11 at Thruxton, the boost it needs if it is to continue building on last year’s success which saw Vauxhall team-mates and rivals Yvan Muller and James Thompson battle it out for the title right to the last round.
"I believe the BTCC is returning to the former glory it held in the 1990s," the burly Australian said, "and getting Knockhill back on board will certainly help lift the profile."