Super Touring

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Super Touring, Class 2 or Class II was a motor racing Touring Cars category defined by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for national touring car racing in 1993.[1] It was based on the "2 litre Touring Car Formula" created for the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in 1990.[2] The FIA organised a World Cup for the category each year from 1993 to 1995, and adopted the term "Super Tourer" from 1995.[3]

Super Touring replaced Group A as the norm in nearly every touring car championship across the world, but escalating costs, and the withdrawal of works teams caused the category to collapse in the late 1990s. The cars looked like regular production road cars, while expensive changes had to be made to provide space for racing tyres inside the standard wheel arches.

An example for this was the German Super Tourenwagen Cup (STW) series, which ran from 1994 to 1999, filling a void left after the end of the 2.5-litre V6-powered Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) in 1996. In 2000, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (keeping the 'DTM' acronym) resumed with 4.0-litre V8-powered cars.

Regulations[edit]

Renault Laguna built to Super Touring regulations competing in the British Touring Car Championship

The Super Touring cars were required to be a minimum of 4.20 metres (13.8 ft) in length, with four doors, effectively requiring a small family saloon car as a minimum. No more than 2 litres engine capacity, or six cylinders were permitted, and the engine was required to be normally aspirated. Only two wheels could be driven and steered.[4] For homologation, initially at least 2500 units of the model used must have been produced. In 1995, in a bid to counter the increasing numbers of homologation specials this was increased to at least 25,000 units.[5]

There was no restriction on body size and doors until 1993, when it was changed to only allow cars with a minimum of four doors and no smaller than the EuroNCAP 'Small Family Car' class, although 'Large Family Car' tends to dominate the category. Until 1995, teams were only permitted to fit aerodynamic device that were available through dealers, but that changed when, in 1994 BTCC season, Alfa Romeo entered a 155 with Gabriele Tarquini and Giampiero Simoni as drivers. The car had a front spoiler with a bottom piece that could be unscrewed and moved forward, acting as a splitter, and a rear spoiler with a pair of extensions, giving the car more downforce. When Alfa Romeo won the first five rounds, Ford, supported by Vauxhall, made a complaint to the race stewards. TOCA soon decided the aero devices were illegal and Alfa Romeo were stripped of the points they earned at Snetterton and Silverstone, though this decision was later reversed by appeal. After this point, Alfa were forced to run their spoilers in the retracted position (the position in which the spoilers were fitted on the road going version, the Alfa 155 Silverstone, though the road car was sold with two unfitted spoiler extension brackets). In the mean time, Renault and BMW responded by introducing their own limited edition road cars – to enable them to run with oversized aerodynamic aids. Soon after that, the FIA changed the regulation in all series to allow cars to only use non-production aerodynamic devices with a restricted size. Restrictions varied depending on body type, with Volvo having to revert from the 850 Estate to their four-door saloon model the following season when they found themselves to be disadvantaged by the new rules. In the Italian Supertourismo category, teams entered extended spoilers without complaints.

Alfa Romeo also homologated 2500 road cars, which was the minimum, for that season to allow their 1.8-litre car with an advantage of a higher rev limit to enter, that was also changed to only non-homlogated consumer models to enter.

Some series however, would change the rules to suit crowd demands, and competition from rival series, one example, was the Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC), which made increases to body width and exhaust noise, also keeping the front aerodynamic devices basic in 1997 and in 1998 with the withdrawal of Nissan due to financial problems and Honda, to commit to its Formula One (F1) programme, and realising it would be less expensive for them to race their NSX in the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC), leaving Toyota as the sole factory manufacturer to compete using their Corona EXIVs and Chasers. In 1999, a new formula using spaceframe cars came to nothing, and the series was abandoned altogether, as by then Japan's big three all had works entries in the JGTC.

In Australia, the series began in 1993 when the Group A regulations for the Australian Touring Car Championship series was replaced by V8 Supercars and Super Touring. The advent of a new management structure and telelcast arrangement for V8 Supercar put them in conflict with Bathurst 1000 organisers. Super Touring were offered the chance to compete at Bathurst after race organisers could not come to terms with V8 Supercar. Bathurst City Council and V8 Supercar came to a separate arrangement to host their own breakaway "Australian 1000 Classic" race. Super Touring did not become a viable option, and the third and final race was transformed into a motorsport carnival, with several categories attending and the Super Touring event halved to 500 kilometres (310 mi), before collapsing in the aftermath of the 1999 race. In 2000, in the absence of a rival, the V8 Supercar event took up the Bathurst 1000 name.

Unfortunately, during the Super Touring's long run, the category suffered two fatal accidents. In 1995, Gregg Hansford at Phillip Island, and Kieth O'dor at Avus, were involved in fatal accidents as a result of a broken neck caused by their cars' being hit side-on. Soon after, rollcages in competition cars with built-in side impact bars, and seats with head restraints on the side would become mandatory.

One reason for Super Touring's demise was the cost of preparing a car for competition. In 1990, a Vauxhall Cavalier cost £60,000. By the later part of the 90's, a similar car with more sophisticated aerodynamics device and telemetry cost £250,000.[citation needed]

The current World Touring Car Championship regulations are very inspired by the old series, with production-based four-door saloons powered by 2.0-litre engines. Wider wheel arches are allowed, which makes the cars look more spectacular. Cars under S2000 regulations are cheaper than their predecessors, to which serious modifications had to be made to allow for wider tires, lower ride height and different suspension – as the width of Super 2000 cars does not need to be the same as that of the production models, development costs can be kept lower. Various national championships use similar rules.

Although it bears no resemblance to its predecessor, the "Super Touring" name was retained by the Championnat de France de Supertourisme for the current 3.0-litre tube frame cars.

List of championships that used the Super Touring formula[edit]

List of Supertouring homologated cars[edit]

Country Marque Model Type No. Start End
 Italy Alfa Romeo 155 M.Y. 1994 ST-7 March 1, 1994 December 31, 2002
M.Y. 1995 ST-9 March 1, 1995 December 31, 2003
156 M.Y. 1997 ST-37 January 1, 1998 January 1, 1998
M.Y. 1998 ST-43 November 1, 1998 December 31, 2005
 Germany Audi 80 B4 ST-6 March 1, 1995 December 31, 2003
A4 B5 M.Y. 1995 ST-17 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2008
B5 M.Y. 1996 ST-28 April 1, 1996 December 31, 2008
 Germany BMW E36 320i ST-8 March 1, 1995 December 31, 2004
 United States Chrysler Stratus base ST-30 April 1, 1996 December 31, 2004
 United Kingdom Ford Mondeo Mk I 4Door ST-19 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
Mk I 5Door ST-20 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
Mk II 4Door M.Y. 1997 ST-34 March 1, 1997 December 31, 2004
Mk III Zetec ST-45 March 1, 1999 December 31, 2006
 United Kingdom Honda Accord (fifth generation) LS CC756 ST-1 March 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
Accord (sixth generation) LS CE856 ST-33 March 1, 1997 December 31, 2004
CG ST-46 March 1, 1999 December 31, 2006
 Japan Honda Accord (fifth generation) Ferio 4Door ST-11 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
 Japan Mazda Lantis Coupe 2.0 ST-4 March 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
Xedos 6 1.0 ST-5 March 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
 Japan Nissan Primera HP10 ST-21 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
HP11 ST-29 April 1, 1996 December 31, 2006
Pulsar FN14 ST-10 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2006
Sunny FB14 ST-23 October 1, 1995 December 31, 2006
 United Kingdom Primera P11 ST-48 January 1, 2000 December 31, 2006
 Germany Opel Astra F ST-16 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2004
Vectra ST-27 December 1, 1995 December 31, 2006
A ST-15 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2004
CD ST-39 April 1, 1998 December 31, 2006
GL Plus ST-40 April 1, 1998 December 31, 2006
 France Peugeot 405 Signature ST-13 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2003
406 ST-31 April 1, 1996 December 31, 2003
M.Y. 1998 ST-38 April 1, 1998 December 31, 2005
 France Renault Laguna I B56 ST-14 April 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
B56 M.Y. 1998 ST-38 April 1, 1998 December 31, 2005
 Spain SEAT Toledo GT ST-22 August 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
 Japan Toyota Camry SXV11 ST-26 January 1, 1996 December 31, 2005
Carina E ST191 ST-2 March 1, 1995 December 31, 2005
Chaser JZX100 ST-47 May 1, 1999 December 31, 2006
Corolla AE101 ST-3 January 1, 1995 December 31, 2002
AE110 ST-25 January 1, 1996 December 31, 2003
Liftback EE111 5Door ST-42 July 1, 1998 December 31, 2006
Corona EXiV ST202 ST-24 October 1, 1995 December 31, 2005
 Germany Vauxhall Vectra ST-36 November 1, 1997 December 31, 2004
 Sweden Volvo 850 T5 Estate ST-12 April 2, 1995 January 1, 2006
T5 Sedan ST-18 April 2, 1995 January 1, 2006
S40 ST-32 January 2, 1997 January 1, 2006
M.Y. 1999 ST-44 January 2, 1999 January 1, 2007

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ FIA Yearbook, 1993, Green section, page 277, Touring car technical regulations (Class II)
  2. ^ SuperTouring History : 1990 – Small Beginnings Retrieved from www.SuperTouring.co.uk on 9 December 2008
  3. ^ Automobile Year, 1994/95, page 175
  4. ^ Article 262 – Technical Regulations for Supertouring Cars (Group ST), Appendix J, FIA International Sporting Code, Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, 2001 
  5. ^ BTCC Technical Regulations

External links[edit]