- 2005 British Touring Car Championship season
Previous = 2004
Current = 2005
Next = 2006
The 2005 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season was the 48th
British Touring Car Championship(BTCC) season. As in 2004, there were ten racing weekends at nine different circuits; each round comprising three races, making a thirty round competition in total.
Changes for 2005
Teams and drivers
After 2004 saw the BTCC boasting its biggest number of entries since the abolition of the Super Touring rules in 2001, the following season brought a significant decline in interest. Proton and Honda pulled their manufacturer support from the series, with many of the smaller independent teams also deciding against returning. Reigning champions Vauxhall stayed on as one of the two remaining manufacturers, dropping its Astra Coupe after four straight titles with the chassis, and introducing the all new Astra Sport Hatch (again prepared by Triple 8). Reigning champion James Thompson had left the BTCC to contest the
World Touring Car Championshipwith Alfa Romeo, leaving runner-up (and 2003 champion) Yvan Muller to head the team. Irishman Gavin Smith joined the team after a part-season with GA Motorsport in 2004, and Colin Turkington moved into Thompson's seat after two promising seasons with the WSR MG squad. Their only manufacturer opposition came from SEAT, expanding their effort to three Super 2000-spec Toledos for their second season. 2001 champion Jason Plato remained as team leader, but Rob Huff departed to join the ChevroletWTCC campaign. He was replaced by Luke Hines, joining from Vauxhall, with James Pickford taking the third seat as reward for winning the SEAT Cupra Cup in 2004. Team Dynamics took a brave gamble by replacing their Honda Civic Type Rs with a pair of brand new Integras. Matt Neal (son of team boss Steve) and Dan Eaves were again driving. A third car was entered late in the season for Gareth Howell in order to support Neal's title campaign. West Surrey Racing again campaigned the MG ZS as an independent after MG Rover withdrew their support at the end of 2003, Rob Collard moved from his independently run Astra Coupe to fill Colin Turkington's seat, but a second driver with sufficient budget could not be found. Arena Motorsport also continued their campaign despite losing manufacturer support, entering a single Honda Civic Type-R for the returning Tom Chilton from the second round onwards. The only other full-time returnees were Synchro Motorsport, with James Kaye driving their ex-works Civic Type-R once again. Two new squads joined the series, both on very low budgets. SpeedEquipe (as HPI Racing) graduated from the Renault Clio Cup together with their drivers Richard Williams and Ian Curley, to run the Lexus IS200s last entered by Total Motorsport in 2001. Fast-Tec Motorsports moved from the SCSA stock car series to run the ex-Rob Collard Astra Coupe for team owner/driver Mark Proctor. Kartworld Racing returned mid-season with team principal Jason Hughes again racing an ex-works MG ZS, as did Tech-Speed Motorsport running their Astra Coupe (now bio-ethanolpowered) for rookie Fiona Leggate, and Daniels Motorsport entered another Astra Coupe for Andy Neate for the final round at Brands Hatch.
* Dunlop were announced as the new title sponsor of the series
* The grid for race three was determined by race two's finishing order but with the top ten positions reversed. In 2004 this rule had applied to race two based on the finishing order of race one.
* The cars of the championship's top five drivers carried "Championship Ballast" for each race meeting's practice, qualifying and first race. Success Ballast was then carried in race two by the top five finishers from race one and in race three by the top five finishers from race two respectively.
* 'Negative' ballast for finishing outside the top five in races was abolished
* Tyres were limited to 16 new slicks per race weekend, but with no limit on wet-weather tyres
* All teams were permitted only up to four days' testing during the season
* Teams were permitted to build their own Super 2000 specification cars and enter them for the championship even if they did not have proper FIA homologation. Provided they met all current S2000 requirements the BTCC was able to grant the cars 'local homologation'.
* The Independents' Team Trophy was introduced
Teams and drivers
M = Manufacturer team
I = Independent team
E = Car built to Super 2000 regulations
* [http://www.btccaction.co.uk/results/2005/index.php btcc:action]
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