The changes have been made in a bid to “maximise the opportunity for spectators to attend” the second and third rounds, at Snetterton and Brands Hatch respectively, as the UK government pursues its path out of the latest coronavirus-caused lockdown.
The British Automobile Racing Club, which owns and operates Thruxton, had already confirmed two weeks ago that its opening round, scheduled for 8-9 May, would have to take place behind closed doors.
The Snetterton round was supposed to take place the following weekend, but has now been postponed until 12-13 June, with the Brands Indy Circuit fixture pushed back from 12-13 June to 26-27 June.
The rest of the calendar remains unchanged, with the fourth round (Oulton Park on 31 July-1 August) onwards following after the traditional BTCC summer break.
This is the second change to the 2021 BTCC calendar, as series organiser TOCA has had to react to the COVID-19 situation in collaboration with ITV, which broadcasts several hours of live coverage of the series and its support races.
Thruxton also hosts the sixth round on 28-29 August, and the BARC’s announcement said that those who have bought tickets for the May event will be able to exchange them for the August date, or get a full refund.
The revised schedule not only potentially benefits spectators in allowing them to attend, but is likely to also ease pressures on the teams, which were unable to welcome sponsors’ guests to races in 2020 due to all the rounds being held behind closed doors.
This caused the BTCC’s all-time wins record holder, Jason Plato, and his team Power Maxed Racing to pause their contracts with commercial partners in order to roll them over into 2021, in the hope that the pandemic would have passed.
Revised BTCC calendar
8-9 May Thruxton
12-13 June Snetterton
26-27 June Brands Hatch Indy
31 July-1 August Oulton Park
14-15 August Knockhill
28-29 August Thruxton
18-19 September Croft
25-26 September Silverstone
9-10 October Donington Park
23-24 October Brands Hatch GP