BTCC

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will introduce mandatory breath testing for all competing drivers and senior officials in a move that will ensure anyone involved in its events is free from the effects of alcohol.

This is the first time mandatory alcohol testing has been introduced into British motorsport but the BTCC racing body TOCA believes it will ensure 'maximum levels of safety' are maintained at all times and it will help raise awareness of 'morning after drink driving'.

A spokesperson for the BTCC said: "Whilst BTCC drivers and officials are highly unlikely to risk their safety and those around them by consuming alcohol immediately prior to or during a race weekend, even moderate drinking the night before an event may leave some residual alcohol in a person's system, impairing both their safety and performance."

A strict 'zero tolerance' limit will be imposed on all race events in the UK, meaning any drivers or officials who fail the test will not be allowed to participate until such time as they pass.

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow said: "As the UK's premier motor racing series the BTCC should continue to set benchmarks and this is another important step we can take.

"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."

He added: "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.

"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 per cent to 21 per cent. 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."

Mandatory breath testing will commence at the next BTCC event at Oulton Park on June 7 and 8.