It’s almost time to set the grid for the first qualifying round of the year and then wait for lights out on the Sunday. Yes, that’s right, BTCC is back! And it’s looking better than ever. But what should you be watching out for?
This year sees a jam-packed grid of 32 drivers. 16 of which are already race winners in the series. This is by far the strongest field we have seen for a long time on the touring car scene. Between the winning drivers they share a breath-taking 329 victories! So prepare for the races to be hard fought and the action to be closer than ever. Will we see a runaway favourite for the championship or will we get a thriller that goes down to the wire?
Something that is for certain is that we can absolutely rely on the fireworks between Jason Plato and Matt Neal. Their fights in touring cars have become stuff of legend, epic championship battles, brutal overtakes on track and even the odd bit of confrontation in the paddock area. The Subaru of Plato is now in its second year and will be keen to show that it is the right car for the job.
Honda and Team Dynamics always seem to get stronger every year, no matter whether they are running a Civic tourer or the classic hatchback. BTCC isn’t just about those two though, oh no. Ask Collin Turkington, Gordon Shedden, Tom Ingram and the returning Tom Chilton. All just as eager to provide the action on race day and walk away with the silverware.
Speaking of Chilton, he hasn’t returned alone to the BTCC, Vauxhall are back as a works team. Partnering up with Power Maxed racing in the new Astra. The car looked resplendent today at Donnington, standing out in the white, black and yellow livery. West Surrey racing also have something to smile about as they managed to bag a works deal with BMW. With the main man Turkington back in the driving seat they will be battling hard to reclaim the title after coming so close with Sam Tordoff last year. It’s the same car with new faces over at Triple eight, Árón Taylor-Smith and Daniel Lloyd will front the charge in the MG’s.
My dark horse for this year though has to be Mat Jackson in the Motorbase Ford Focus. If they can get the car to perform in the early rounds then they will stand much more of a chance of having a shot at the title. Something that hasn’t really happened for the last few years. But no doubt they will be there or there about.
Whatever happens this year I can guarantee we will have a cracker of a season. Expect the racing to be heated right from lights out at Brands Hatch indy all the way through to the finale when they return to face the GP circuit. So, who’s ready?