IN A STEP WHICH might quickly be mirrored in other motorsport disciplines, a key Touring Car series is moving to daily alcohol checks on drivers and officials. Mandatory breath-testing will now take place on every day at every British Touring Car Championship event, to ensure that all competing drivers and senior championship officials are free from alcohol in their system.
A new “zero tolerance” policy means drivers won’t be allowed to race until they have passed the test. The Series Director of the BTCC is Ala Gow who says it also sends out an important message to the public:
“As the UK’s premier motor racing series the BTCC should continue to set benchmarks and this is another important step we can take. Whilst random breath-testing does happen on occasion at various motor sport events, the BTCC is the first championship to mandate the zero-tolerance limit and back this up with compulsory testing each day at each event. All our drivers and officials have endorsed this zero-limit initiative as it delivers such an important road-safety message to the public in a high-profile way.”
“This was a bit of a personal crusade for me, as I have long thought that the sport does not carry out enough alcohol testing. When I happened to mention this to Hunter Abbott of AlcoSense he immediately agreed to provide TOCA with the specialist equipment and training for us to make it happen – so I appreciate the commitment by AlcoSense to become the BTCC’s Official Alcohol Testing Partner.”
“It’s difficult to calculate when alcohol has cleared your system as everyone is different – but in the last ten years the occurrence of ‘morning after drink driving’ road accidents has risen from 13% to 21%. Education is key and by pioneering this mandatory testing we believe the BTCC will raise more awareness of the dangers and help keep its drivers, officials and fans, safe – not only at the circuit but on the road.”
Gow is the Chairman of the UK motorsport governing body, the MSA, which is also responsible for all UK rallying.