SCOTLAND’S national motor racing centre at Knockhill aims to shame Formula One later this year when ITV transmits live coverage of the British Touring Car Championship from the Fife circuit.
A week after millions of viewers tuned in to watch the Australian Grand Prix, one of the most boring F1 races in the history of the sport, ITV has confirmed that the action at Knockhill will lead its new live coverage of Britain’s leading saloon championship.
"It’s terrific news for us and it’s very flattering to be rated ahead of many of the other leading tracks in the UK like Silverstone and Oulton Park," Knockhill owner Derek Butcher said.
"It is clear that ITV have selected circuits where they know they will be guaranteed close, bumper- to-bumper racing and the tight 1.3-mile, seven-corner circuit we have is acknowledged as consistently delivering some of the closest racing in the championship.
"I can guarantee that viewers will see more overtaking in the first lap of one of the three BTCC races than they will in a whole grand prix.
"Whereas F1 is becoming a boring procession again, touring cars are thrill-a-minute stuff from start to finish."
And Butcher believes the accolade of being selected to lead the ITV live coverage on August 8 - sandwiched between F1’s German and Hungarian grands prixs -- will have a positive effect on the 20,000-plus attendance expected on the day rather than diminish it.
"I think ITV’s build-up to the event will have the effect of generating even more interest in the public who are interested in attending the races live," Butcher predicted.
"At the end of the day, there’s nothing to beat being at the circuit and hearing the noise and experiencing the atmosphere."
The live coverage - which also includes races at Thruxton, Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Donington - will form part of ITV1’s new Speed Sunday programme and the news was welcomed by BTCC series director Alan Gow.
"Having Knockhill on board for the live TV coverage is great for us," the burly Australian said.
"ITV1’s commitment to the BTCC underlines the championship’s massive public appeal and will help make the BTCC the biggest show in town for every region of the UK that it visits.
"This sits extremely well with manufacturers, teams and sponsors, as does, of course, the incredible value for money they each receive from exposure on ITV 1."