This announcement might come as a surprise to some, but I had personally seen this one coming for a few weeks now.
Back in July 2020, Motorsport Games, which is the parent company above Studio 397 announced that they had acquired an official license to produce a standalone BTCC racing game and eSports series.
However, in the past few weeks rumors started to appear that Motorsport Games had lost, or at least canceled the announced BTCC title. Whatever the reason might be, it is now clear that Motorsport Games still holds the right to produce BTCC licensed content.
Studio 397 proudly announced that several British Touring Car Championship cars will be coming to the Factor 2 racing simulator, starting with the 2021 Infiniti Q50, and the Corolla GR touring cars which will be released as part of the rFactor 2 May 2022 Q2 Content Drop.
Studio 397 Quote:
The cars of the fabled British Touring Car championship are coming to rFactor 2!
That’s right, at long last, some proper tin-top machinery will be made available within rFactor 2, as we warmly welcome the cars of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship to the title over the coming months. Beginning with two of the premium marques of the series in the form of defending champions Infiniti and the eye-catching Q50, joined by one of the newest models to become part of the seemingly ever-expanding series, Toyota, and the stunning Corolla GR Sport.
These two cars will form the first of several BTCC machines set to appear in rFactor 2 over the coming months, and fit perfectly with the recently announced additions of Donington Park and Brands Hatch, as well as of course our current British marquee circuit, Silverstone.
A fine mix of front-wheel drive (Toyota) and rear-wheel drive (Infiniti) perfectly showcases just what the BTCC has to offer in the modern era, as the championship continues to go from strength to strength with record grid sizes, multiple race winners, and always the most fiercely fought racing anywhere in the world.
Working closely with tyre manufacturer Goodyear, the teams, and the championship themselves, these cars have been laser-scanned at team HQs, as well as benefitting from a wealth of team and driver data – helping us produce what I am sure you all agree with is an exceptionally true to life and exciting experience out on the circuit.
2021 would prove to be another mighty year for the revitalized Infiniti Q50 in the British Touring Car Championship. Now under the development leadership of Laser Tools Racing, the Q50 returned to the BTCC grid as a late addition to the field from round 6 onwards in 2019, as Laser Tools Racing and Aiden Moffett looked to put early development miles on the car following a few years mothballed following the failed Support Our Paras initiative with the original Q50 program closed after just one season at the start of 2016.
Moffett would achieve limited success with the new machine during the remainder of 2019, however, the real work went on behind the scenes as the Scotsman and his team looked to bring forward an accelerated development program ahead of a full season assault the following year.
That hard work appeared to pay off handsomely for the team, as heading into 2020 Laser Tools Racing made a shock swoop for 2017 Champion, Ash Sutton, and right from the very start of the year at Donington Park the new partnership laid down a marker of things to come – showing massive pace to take pole position on the first attempt, and eventually clocking up no less than five race wins and the championship crown. Sutton would go on to repeat his success in 2021, taking a further five-race victory en route to a second successive championship, a feat all the more remarkable considering the wealth of talent on display in modern BTCC racing.
As for the car, the Infiniti Q50 is something of an outlier within the NGTC rule set employed by British Touring Cars, in the fact that it joins just BMW on the grid as a rear-wheel-drive machine, matching the drive train of its road-going counterpart.
Engineered by Laser Tools Racing and running the TOCA / Swindon powertrain package, an engine configuration developed by the series organizers to allow teams who wish to purchase an engine off the shelf, an alternative to developing their own manufacturer derived unit.
Toyota Corolla GR
One of the many newer generation cars to be introduced in recent seasons to the BTCC grid is the wonderful-looking Toyota Corolla. Run by Speedworks Motorsport with support from Toyota UK, the Corolla quickly proved itself to be a very adept touring car machine, having taken the BTCC by storm since arriving on the scene at the start of the 2019 season. Replacing the venerable Toyota Avensis, the very first of the new NGTC specification cars, the Corolla immediately produced a significant uplift in performance for Speedworks, with lead driver Tom Ingram taking an impressive four race victories in the debut season of the car, securing himself and the team sixth overall in the drivers’ championship, a mighty result considering the single-car nature of the squad, and the relative inexperience of all concerned.
2020 would be even better for Speedworks in terms of championship standings, with Ingram ending a hard-fought year with a strong championship charge, falling just short of the title at season end, but still ending a mighty impressive fourth overall, with three race victories to his credit.
2021 would be all change for the team, switching up to a two-car effort with revised driving talents of Rory Butcher and young charger Sam Smelt behind the wheel. Now officially a Toyota works team under the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK banner, a further three victories would be added to the team account, as Butcher performed solidly in his new team leader role to secure 7th in the final title reckoning.
Following conventional touring car wisdom, the Corolla is based on a front-wheel-drive configuration, and just like the Infiniti mentioned above, runs with the TOCA / Swindon engine power unit.
Official Webpage – www.studio-397.com – The rFactor 2 Racing Simulator is available via Steam for €29,99.