The British Touring Car Series will introduce mandatory alcohol breath tests to all drivers and officials before races.

It is the first time that such a practice will be utilised in British motor racing.

It is understood that the decision was taken with the universal consent of drivers and officials. The BTCC do not expect to catch competitors trying to race under the influence and instead intend to ensure that none are racing with residual alcohol in their systems.

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The new regulation will bring the sport into line with Formula One and NASCAR, held in the United States. The former is a signatory to WADA's World Anti-Doping Code and conducts random dope tests, while NASCAR - which has an official beer supplier - has a substance abuse policy which covers alcohol, with random blood, urine, saliva and breath tests conducted to all those who race in the competition.

"Any drivers or officials who fail the zero tolerance test will not be allowed to participate until such time as they pass the test," read a statement from the BTCC, released yesterday.

Testing will be carried out on every day a race is held, without exception. "Whilst random breath-testing does happen on occasion at various motor sport events, the BTCC is the first championship to mandate the zero-tolerance limit and back this up with compulsory testing each day at each event," said Alan Gow, the series director for British Touring Cars.

"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."