TCR Series One Off Event

(c) Photo Courtesy Of TCR Europe

Adria International Raceway, Italy – 28 / 29 October 2017

TCR drivers from all over Europe are bound for Adria

The 2017 TCR Europe Trophy will be awarded this weekend in a one-off event at the Adria International Raceway.

Drivers who have raced in the various TCR series and championships all over Europe are eligible to take part in the Italian race meeting and those who have entered have been allocated Pre-Qualifying points based on the number of TCR appearances they have made during the season.

The Adria International Raceway is located in the North-East of Italy, in the delta of the river Po, some 60 kilometres South of Venice. It was inaugurated in 2002 and has hosted a range of international races such as the FIA GT and ETCC and the DTM.

It was there that TCR Italy ran the opening event of the current season, when Eric Scalvini won both races at the wheel of a MM Motorsport Honda Civic.

The format of the TCR Europe Trophy will follow the same pattern as the TCR International Series, with two 30-minute Free Practice sessions on Saturday morning and the 30-minute Qualifying on Saturday afternoon that will be split into Q1 (20 minutes for all the competitors) and Q2 (10 minutes for the 12 fastest drivers in Q1). The two 60-kilometre races will be run on Sunday.

Drivers will also have the opportunity to take part in three test sessions on Friday.

TCR in Adria – The event at a glance

Lap distance: 2.70 km

Race distance: 23 laps

Start: Standing

Grids: Determined by the Qualifying results (Q1+Q2) with top 10 reversed for Race 2


Saturday, 10:00/10:30 – Free Practice 1

Saturday, 12:00/12:30 – Free Practice 2

Saturday, 15:00/15:35 – Qualifying (Q1 + Q2)

Sunday, 12:35 – Race 1

Sunday, 14:35 – Race 2

all times: GMT +2 until Saturday; GMT +1 from Sunday


How Drivers’ and Team’s Trophies will be awarded

Two TCR Europe Trophies will be awarded at Adria; one for Drivers and one for Teams.

Drivers’ scoring system

– Pre-Qualifying: 1 point per event will be allocated to each Driver who took part in any   TCR event during the 2017 season, up to a maximum of 5 points

– Qualifying: points will be awarded to the first five drivers classified in the Qualifying session according to the following scale:

1st: 5 points; 2nd: 4 pts; 3rd: 3 pts; 4th: 2 pts; 5th: 1 pt

– Races: points will be awarded to the ten drivers classified in each Race according to the following scale:

1st: 25 points; 2nd: 18 pts; 3rd: 15 pts; 4th: 12 pts; 5th: 10 pts; 6th: 8 pts; 7th: 6 pts; 8th: 4 pts; 9th: 2 pts; 10th: 1 pt

Teams’ scoring system

– Races: points will be awarded to the best two cars of each team classified in each Race according to the following scale:

1st: 25 points; 2nd: 18 pts; 3rd: 15 pts; 4th: 12 pts; 5th: 10 pts; 6th: 8 pts; 7th: 6 pts; 8th: 4 pts; 9th: 2 pts; 10th: 1 pt

Eight brands to be represented at the TCR Europe Trophy

The Adria International Raceway will welcome drivers and teams coming from no less than nine different series.

Eight brands of car manufacturers will be represented: Alfa Romeo, Audi, Honda, Hyundai, Peugeot, SEAT, Subaru and Volkswagen.

Files and Altoè pair up at Target Competition

Target Competition fields the strong duo of Josh Files and Giacomo Altoè at the wheel of two Honda Civic cars.

Files is aiming for a third TCR title in the current season after winning both the Middle East and Germany crowns (the latter for the second consecutive year), while his 17-year old teammate Altoè has established himself as one of the most competitive young drivers with brilliant results in the International, Benelux and Italian series.

One Peugeot 308 for Aurélien Comte

Two weeks ago at Le Castellet, Peugeot Sport showed for the first time the new 308 TCR that will be racing from next year. However, even without the full TCR kit, the Peugeot 308 Racing Cup car has already won TCR races in the Benelux and 24H series.

The twisty circuit of Adria will suit the French cars that will be in the experienced hands of Aurélien Comte, who classified fifth in the TCR Benelux with three race victories.

Buri and Kangas come from the North

Fellow Finns Antti Buri (Audi RS3 LMS) and Olli Kangas (SEAT León) will race under the banner of LMS Racing.

Buri comes fresh from a successful campaign in TCR Germany that saw him claiming one race victory at the Nürburgring and finishing a brilliant eighth in the Drivers’ championship.

Far less experienced than his teammate, Kangas has competed in the maiden season of TCR Scandinavia.

Together, they have won the 12 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, final round of the 24H Touring Car Endurance series a few weeks ago.

A Russian duo for Innocenti-AMG Motorsport

TCR Russia competitors Lev Tolkachev and Denis Grigoriev will race in two SEAT León DSG cars run by the Innocenti-AMG Motorsport team.

Grigoriev was classified tenth in the Russian series, claiming his maiden TCR victory in Race 1 at the Smolensk Ring; his teammate Tolkachev ranked 13th in the final standings.

Engstler Motorsport enters the youngest team

The age of the two drivers entered by the Liqui Moly Team Engstler adds up to just 38 years. Luca Engstler (17) and Florian Thoma (21) form the youngest team that will compete for the TCR Europe Trophy.

And yet, they have already shown their potential. After winning his maiden touring car race at Dubai in the TCR Middle East series, Engstler was crowned Junior champion of TCR Germany. Also a rookie in touring cars, his Swiss teammate Thoma made a sensational debut in TCR Germany, winning the second race in the season’s opener at Oschersleben. Engstler and Thoma will race two Volkswagen Golf GTI cars.

An Alfa Romeo Giulietta for Luigi Ferrara

Italy’s V-Action Racing Team will run a Romeo Ferraris-built Alfa Romeo Giulietta for Luigi Ferrara.

The 35-year old from Bari is an experienced driver who has already had different occasions of sitting at the wheel of TCR cars. Ferrara has driven the V-Action Giulietta twice this year, in the German and the Italian series (at Hockenheim and Monza respectively), showing the potential of the Italian car.

TCR Ibérico champion joins with a Volkswagen

During the last weekend, Francisco Abreu was crowned the first champion in the TCR Ibérico series.

Winning two of the four races of the final event at Portimão in the Team Novadriver Volkswagen Golf GTI cars, Abreu was able to close the gap from the previous leader Francisco Mora to clinch the title. He also finished second in TCR Portugal behind Mora.

Team WRT with Maxime Potty’s VW Golf

While Team WRT is in the best position to win a second consecutive TCR International Series title in conjunction with Leopard Racing, the Belgian outfit is also one of the top seeds in the TCR Europe Trophy.

The young Belgian Maxime Potty will be at the wheel of the team’s single Volkswagen Golf GTI at Adria. Last weekend at Assen, Potty won the final race of TCR Benelux, securing third place in the championship standings.

Endurance specialists come from Spain

It has been a very successful season for Monlau Competición as the Spanish team has clinched the TCR class title in the 24H Touring Car Endurance Series with a SEAT León DSG car.

At Adria, Monlau Competición wants to prove they are also capable of shining in sprint races and have entered the León for their best driver, José Manuel Pérez-Aicart. Experienced and quick, the 35-year old from Castellón boasts an impressive record, including titles in the Spanish GT Championship and the SEAT Supercópa.

Bulgaria’s Plamen Kralev to race his Audi

Bulgarian Touring Car specialist Plamen Kralev will compete in the TCR Europe Trophy with his Kraf Racing Audi RS3 LMS car.

Kralev, who switched to touring car racing three years ago after several season in GT and Formula 2, has successfully taken part in both TCR Italy and the FIA European Touring Car Cup with his Audi, ranking fifth and ninth in the two series respectively.

Hyundai and Subaru cars will be ‘transparent’

Two cars have been accepted to take part in the TCR Europe Trophy under temporary homologation forms: the Hyundai i30 N and the Subaru WRX STI.

Therefore they will be ‘transparent’ as far as the race results are concerned.

BRC Racing Team will run the Hyundai that will be driven by Touring Car legend Gabriele Tarquini; only a few weeks ago the Italian racer gave the Korean car its first victory on its maiden appearance, in the TCR International Series at Zehjiang.

The Subaru entered by Top Run Motorsport is the latest development of the WRX STI TCR that was successfully raced by Stefano Comini in the TCR Italy events at Imola and Monza. As Comini is not eligible to race at Adria (being amongst the top ten in the International Series) the team has still to name his replacement.

Full live coverage from Adria International Raceway

Fans will be able to follow live on the Internet the whole action of the TCR Europe Trophy at Adria on and according to the following timetable.

Saturday, 09:55 – Free Practice 1, timing and streaming

Saturday, 11:55 – Free Practice 2, timing and streaming

Saturday, 14:55 – Qualifying, timing and streaming

Sunday, 12:20 – Race 1, timing and streaming

Sunday, 14:20 – Race 2, timing and streaming

(all times local)


Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Guerrieri Given WTCC Factory Drive

Photo (c) Alexandre Guillaumot / DPPI

Double race-winning privateer Esteban Guerrieri has been rewarded for his hugely promising maiden FIA World Touring Car Championship season with a factory drive at WTCC JVC/KENWOOD Race of Japan this weekend.

Argentine Guerrieri will stand in for Tiago Monteiro at Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team after Monteiro was advised by doctors to remain at home in his native Portugal to continue his recovery from the effects of a high-speed testing accident in Spain last month.

The 32-year-old is in his first full season in the WTCC in a Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 and has notched up wins in Morocco and China. After 14 rounds, he’s seventh in the overall standings and fourth in the WTCC Trophy for independent racers. Campos Racing has given the move its full support and has signed ETCC prize-winner and rising star Kris Richard as Guerrieri’s replacement for the Twin Ring Motegi weekend.

“We are very happy to be part of Esteban’s success and we are delighted he has got this opportunity with a factory team,” said Campos Racing’s Ruben Espin. “Although we were hoping he could continue his push for the WTCC Trophy with our team, one of our main goals was to help Esteban develop as a WTCC driver in the hope that one day a chance like this came along. Now it has, we are really pleased for him because it’s richly deserved after all his hard work and outstanding on-track performances. He will continue to be part of the Campos Racing family and we wish him all the best for WTCC Race of Japan this weekend. Our focus will now be on helping the next young talent to join our team, Kris Richard.”

Having excelled in single-seater racing in the past against current F1 stars Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, Guerrieri was the fastest driver of all when he made his WTCC debut in his homeland in August 2016 and was chosen by a selection of WTCC journalists as their rookie of the year as a result.

“I was sorry to hear that Tiago would not be able to race this weekend, but I’m extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to join Honda for Motegi and to drive a factory car in the WTCC,” said Guerrieri. “I’d also like to thank Campos Racing for their positivity throughout this process and to everybody who has helped in making my move to Honda possible. Motegi is a new circuit for me and I’ve never even driven the Civic WTCC, so I’m aware that there’s a lot to learn, but I’m confident that I can do a strong job of helping Honda in the Manufacturers’ championship and supporting Norbi’s [Michelisz] Drivers’ title ambitions.”

Guerrieri will get his first taste of Honda Civic WTCC power during Free Practice 1 and Twin Ring Motegi on Saturday afternoon, when he will sample the track for the first time. He will also make his debut in the Manufacturers Against the Clock (WTCC MAC3) team time trial when he joins new team-mates Norbert Michelisz and Ryo Michigami in the Tour de France-inspired contest. Honda heads Volvo Polestar in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for Manufacturers by five points.

François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCC promoter, said: “We’re very pleased that Esteban’s talents have been rewarded with a factory drive in Japan. He will have a lot to adapt to in a short space of time but there is no doubting his ability.”

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Motorbase Performance Looking At TCR

Photo Courtesy Of Motorbase Performance

Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum has confirmed that his Wrotham-based squad has taken delivery of the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR machine to arrive in the UK, and is now evaluating available options for an extended TCR campaign in 2018.

The multiple championship winning outfit has most recently run in-house built NGTC cars in the BTCC and has an illustrious track record in its 13 year history; winning titles in the British Touring Car Championship, British GT and Porsche Carrera Cup as well as taking multiple wins internationally whilst competing in the Blancpain Endurance Cup and Gulf 12 hours.

Team Boss David Bartrum believes that the move into TCR perfectly fits into Motorbase’s portfolio as the former-racer looks to expand his squad’s championship campaign for next season, replacing the highly successful GT programme that has run for the past 5 years.

“TCR has grown quite significantly over the last two seasons, and it’s impressive if you look at what its achieved in a short space of time;” commented Bartrum. “It’s not just about the UK series; globally the format seems to work well. When you look at the various domestic championships running and the 24 hour series, TCR is a very competitive and attractive package and as an international racing team we want to be a part of that as it grows.”

“It fits the bill perfectly for us since winding down our GT programme;” added Bartrum. “It opens up a lot more opportunities for us as a team as we now have a stable of cars that we can take all over the world, we’re no longer limited to just the UK market which is a downside of the BTCC. Motorbase has already proven itself to be competitive in Europe and the Middle East in the GT world and we’re keen to do the same again in Touring Cars.”

The squad’s newly acquired Golf GTI’s maiden shakedown takes place at Brands Hatch today (Wednesday, 18th October) with the team working through an initial test programme before opening up packages to potential drivers and partners for the 2018 season in the coming weeks.

“We’re open to look at all available options for next season;” Bartrum explained. “I’m excited to see which drivers are out there with the potential and budget to work with us whether in the UK, Europe or further afield. 2018 is looking like a very interesting season for TCR and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes us.”

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

BTCC – Rule Changes & 60 Mile Race

Heading into the 2018 season TOCA and BTCC have made two announcements. One relates to the rule changes for the 2018 season and the other marks a special championship race to mark the 60 year anniversary.

Here are the announcements from BTCC:

Rule changes agreed for 2018 BTCC season

A number of rule changes have recently been ratified by TOCA that will take effect from the opening round of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship:

Increase in driving standards penalties

– Fines will be increased, with a significant additional championship fine applied on top of any MSA fine.

– From next year a ‘strike’ will last for 12 months from the date applied, rather than just the same season (This then brings them into line with the 12 month penalty points system on MSA race licence).

– Strikes gained during a 12 month period will result in the following penalties;

3rd strike – back of the grid

4th strike – one race ban

5th strike – two race ban

6th strike – three race ban

7th strike – banned from the championship for the rest of that season

– A relatively minor but straightforward on-track incident, involving and affecting only two cars, that can be simply rectified by swapping their finishing positions post-race (or which has already been fully redressed within one lap by the offending driver) will not necessarily constitute a ‘strike’.

3rd race grid draw

The partial reverse-grid draw will now extend to 12 ……i.e. the reverse-grid draw will be from positions 6-12 (rather than 6-10).

Jack Sears Trophy

Eligible drivers will be those that have never scored an outright podium position.

Any driver subsequently scoring an outright podium during the season, will be ineligible for the JST from the next season.

Boost adjustments

If needed, these will take place once per season – at around the mid-season point – as was done in 2016.

Driver changes

A team is now permitted a maximum of two permanent driver changes per season (previously one).

Mandatory Driver and Team manager regulations tests

A driver or Team Manager cannot take part until they have successfully passed a mandatory regulations test.

60 mile BTCC showpiece to take place at Snetterton in 2018

A special ‘Diamond Double’ race has been announced as part of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s 60th anniversary diamond jubilee celebrations in 2018.

The third race at Snetterton on Sunday 29 July will be an extended 60-mile contest, with all cars competing without any success ballast and with double championship points on offer.

Furthermore, there will be a separate qualifying session on Saturday 28 July for this showpiece race, with all cars qualifying at their base weights.

The 2018 season will still comprise of 30 races across ten weekends, with all other races following the regular format as per recent seasons.

Snetterton – also well known for the BTCC Night Race in the 1990s and 2000s – has long been a staple of the summer calendar for race fans and this exciting addition is set to add yet further fever to the festival atmosphere.

Alan Gow, BTCC Series Director, said:

“We are delighted to confirm this special extended race as part of the BTCC’s diamond jubilee celebrations. As well, there will be a number of additional activities to celebrate our 60th anniversary throughout 2018 which will be revealed over the next few months. We believe this 60-mile race, roughly double the distance of a normal BTCC encounter, will add a further sporting twist to what will be a fantastic and memorable season. I am sure our loyal teams, drivers, venues, officials, sponsors, partners, marshals and of course our fans will share in this excitement, making the Snetterton race weekend an unmissable event in 2018.”

The 2018 season will begin on 7/8th April at Brand Hatch.

(c) photographs courtesy of BTCC

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

BTCC Showdown – It all comes down to Brands!

It’s been a titanic season of touring car racing, with 12 different winners across the season so far, it all comes down to the last meeting of the season at Brands Hatch to see who will be crowned 2017 champion.

For one man he’s been there and done it, Colin Turkington has won the title twice, in 2009 and 2014, and in his first season back at WSR after leaving Subaru, he could make it a hat-trick. However, his rival has come from almost nowhere to be in prime position to take an unlikely maiden title.

Ash Sutton was a rookie last season, winning the Jack Sears Trophy, and having moved from MG Racing to the Adrian Flux Subaru team, taking a spot vacated by Turkington, he sits atop of the championship with just three races left to run.

It’s been a corking season, with more shocks than a low budget horror movie, there have been surprise winners, wildcard racers and some stars of tomorrow have emerged amongst the veterans and the elite.

This all begun with independent Tom Ingram taking the first win of the season at Brands Hatch Indy. Ingram was no stranger to the top step, having won twice in 2016, but the Speedworks driver has taken four wins this season and sits fourth in the table. Though he has a mathematical chance, it would take something special for the 24 year old to take the title.

Subaru took on a four car team this season, continuing with the Levorg GT estates. While these remind many of the Volvo 850 estates which Rickard Rydell rinsed around, it’s a young Englishman doing the winning this time round.

Ash Sutton came into the season as a young protégé, in the same team as BTCC legend Jason Plato, Sutton has emerged as the main man in Warren Scott’s team. Taking his first win from pole at Oulton Park, Sutton has been consistent and quick, taking wins at Oulton, Croft, two at Snetterton, Knockhill and Rockingham.

He holds a slender lead over Turkington heading into the finale, only ten points separating them, and while anything can happen in the BTCC, this title is Sutton’s to lose. As the reigning Jack Sears Trophy winner, he’s proved that the rookie championship does have a purpose.

This is proved by 2017’s rising star, Senna Proctor. The 19 year old, driving with Power Maxed Racing this season, has shone, and at some times outshadowed his vastly experienced team mate Tom Chilton. He has secured the Jack Sears Trophy championship already with Brands still to come. He will be encouraged by the progress Sutton has made in his second season.

With the title finely poised, Turkington and Sutton will be looking to keep their cars in one piece, while the chasing pack will be sure to get stuck in, with places and championships yet to be won. Brands Hatch is the classic circuit, and has seen some stellar moments over the years, but neither of our title protagonists will want to risk losing any ground, as one slip, could prove vital.

BTCC Title Race Gathers Pace

Tom Ingram (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis

Bank holiday crowds set for enthralling Rockingham encounter

It’s all-change at the top of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heading into Rockingham (26-27 August) for Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2017 campaign, with Team BMW’s double champion Colin Turkington holding prime position atop the Drivers’ standings with three events to go.

The trip to Northamptonshire is often a pivotal one as drivers fight to stamp their authority on the title or make their move to put themselves in the shakeup for the biggest prize in British motor sport, but is a shift in power already underway?

The pendulum swings

A week ago at Knockhill, reigning champion Gordon Shedden had to settle for damage limitation, as he and Honda contended with the rear-wheel drive might of the BMWs and Subarus – well suited to the stop-start ups-and-downs of the Scottish circuit. Home hero and triple champion Shedden had to make use of his local knowledge to notch a podium, as he battled through to hold onto a net third in the championship tally, 12 points down on new leader Turkington.

Rory Butcher (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus

The Ulsterman has launched himself to the fore with consistency over recent rounds – that trait a must for any prospective champion. Five podium finishes from the latest five races sent a shot across the bow of his immediate rivals. Team BMW team-mate Rob Collard is also racking up points round-by-round, leaving him well-placed in fourth. In fact, Knockhill was the first event this season where the Hampshireman had failed to make the podium, though he’s the only man to have scored points in every encounter this year.

Senna Proctor (GBR) Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra

Form man Ashley Sutton, of Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, notched a race two win to cement his status as the man in form with a high of five victories to his name this season. That latest followed a first of the season for rejuvenated BTCC legend Jason Plato, who believes his squad have finally found the ‘gremlin’ that has hampered his progress since an accident on the opening Brands Hatch weekend.

Sutton harbours second in the overall running just four points shy of Turkington, and while Plato will be going all-out to reach an unprecedented 100 wins in the series, he will be doing what he can to help Subaru and Sutton as the title fight heads towards its conclusion.

“I’ve had a right good kicking this year, and it’s just nice to take another step forward towards being competitive again,” said Plato. “It’s not just the winning it’s about being competitive and it’s nice to be there. I’m pretty awful to be around when things aren’t going well – this is my life.

Ashley Sutton (GBR) Team BMR Subaru Levorg

“We had a complete change of the differential and the car’s a different machine now. We think we’ve found the gremlin and I’m just so happy to be competitive again.

“I’m going to start enjoying myself. I think the 100 wins might be doable (he currently stands on 96). I’m playing myself back into the game and I could have been a bit more robust with Ash but what would have been the point?

“He’s got stuff to crack on with. I’m not going to give up wins, because I’m not going to take a financial penalty. But anything other than a win – he can have it! That is the way it goes and I’d expect that in return.

Gordon Shedden (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R

“I will play it honestly and nothing would give me more pleasure than to see Ash crack it and if I can help, I will. I have Ash at the forefront of my mind, most definitely.”

Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram made a long-awaited return to the top step of the podium after his start to the season had earmarked him as the early benchmark. Bad luck has conspired against the Toyota man in recent rounds, though at 61 points shy of the summit with more than 200 points still to play for, he’s not done yet.

Colin Turkington (GBR) Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport


All three BTCC races on Sunday, 27 August – and the day’s other races – will be broadcast live and in high definition on ITV4. Those in attendance at the circuit can stay in touch with the commentary and live timing from every session, available at throughout the weekend.

Advance tickets can be booked online at or via the hotline on 01536 500500 (option 1), until midday on Friday 25 August. Weekend passes cost £38, Sunday race day tickets are £30 and Saturday entry price is just £12.50.


Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Photographs: Copyright © 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Media Office

Interview With Matt Neal


An Interview With Matt Neal

He made his BTCC debut at Silverstone in 1991 and has competed in 600+ British Touring Car races, has 60 wins, 16 poles, 49 fastest laps and is a 3-time BTCC Drivers’ Champion and 6-time Independent Drivers’ Champion. He has raced in Australia and Europe and was awarded the Autosport National Driver Of The Year in 2005 and 2011.

What is your favourite circuit?

In the UK Brands Hatch – Been a good hunting ground and is more old school. Overseas either Bathurst or Nordschleife. 

Who was your motor racing idol?

Nigel Mansell – He was always a fighter.

Who would you regard as your toughest opponent?

My team mate Flash (Gordon Shedden).

Do you have a pre-race ritual/superstition and if so, what is it?

I have lots, I am annoyingly superstitious. 

Is there a race or series you never competed in, but would like/have liked the opportunity?

Not having done Le Mans is a regret, but I ain’t done too badly so I’m not complaining.

What is the best race you have been involved in? For what reason?

Bathurst 1,000km 1998, we almost won it as complete outsiders and underdogs, so it was what we all achieved together.

Personal Racing Number? What is yours and the meaning behind it?

Used to go with 5 as felt it was lucky and Mansell was always red 5, currently I’m 25 because that’s how long I’ve been racing, plus I had a big win years ago running as 25.

What was the best piece of advice given to you in your racing career?

A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor.

Who is the funniest person or your best friend in racing?

Steve Thomas is one of my best mates, his laugh is infectious.

Considering drivers over all-time and series’, if you were a team principal, which two racers would you have in your team if you owned one?

Current drivers, Flash and Tom Onslow-Cole

Touring car fans will be familiar with you commentating on the WTCC, is this an area you would move into in the future and what do you enjoy about it?

It’s ok I enjoy it and the people I do it with.

How did you get into motor racing, what ignited that spark to race?

All I ever wanted to do from a child was race, as soon as I could drive at 17 I bought a motocross bike and trailer as cheapest thing to get into for biggest adrenalin rush, raced that for 4 years then my Dad got me into a car simply to get me away from bikes and went from there.

Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your racing career?

My Dad without doubt.

British Touring is gaining more and more exposure recently (and rightly so) but is there anything you would like to see happen in the media to improve this?

I’d like a two driver race back like in Australia be fun and add another dimension, although that’s not exactly media related.

Outside of racing, how do you relax, what are your hobbies or favourite other sports?

I’m away so much it’s lovely to go home and spend time with the family. But mountain biking, martial arts and training I keep myself pretty busy.

If you could invite 4 famous people (dead or alive) for dinner and drinks, who would they be?

JFK, Elvis, Adolf Hitler and the Queen, just be really interested on each of their takes on life.

Who is your favourite artist or band?

Paul Weller is pretty cool and has some absolute classics all through his career.

And finally…….If you could give advice to anybody (in racing or in life), what would they piece of advice be?

Get a good education and make sure you have a good exit strategy because more don’t make it than do.

This interview took place last year and I would like to thank Matt for taking the time out to answer these questions and wish him the very best for the remainder of the season.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

Gordon Shedden Leads Pack Into Croft


Gordon Shedden (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R


The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship reaches its half way point next weekend (10/11 June) as the series’ pilgrimage around the best of the UK’s motor racing venues reaches North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit for Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the campaign.

A capacity 32-car grid will head north with drivers still searching for a foothold in Britain’s premier motor racing series, and the first dozen rounds of the season have been typically feisty and unpredictable – the fiercely competitive nature of the BTCC throwing up eight different visitors to the top step of the podium so far


Five marques have been represented in the winners’ circle, with Subaru joining the fold with a maiden win in 2017 via star turn Ash Sutton at Oulton Park – the site of its historic first victory in the championship last year.

The power shifted in the Drivers’ standings following the latest three rounds in Cheshire, with reigning champion Honda’s Gordon Shedden wresting control at the head of the pack after a disastrous outing for early-season table-topper Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota.

Tom Chilton (GBR) Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra

The latter will be looking to bounce back after notching just a single point at Oulton, which shuffled him from top of the tree to third on the ladder between the Team BMW pair of Rob Collard second, and Colin Turkington, fourth – both winners at Croft in 2016.

A strong crowd is expected to descend on the charming, charismatic and challenging Croft Circuit to enjoy the mid-June sun with hundreds of thousands more watching the action live on ITV4, as is the case for each and every BTCC encounter.

A year on…

Gordon Shedden endured a tumultuous first half of the campaign in 2016 in his bid to retain his crown. By the time the Halfords Yuasa Racing champion arrived in North Yorkshire, he had suffered three non-finishes. Despite this, he still sat fourth in the championship.

Croft, though, did the Scot no favours with a weekend-best result of just 13th place and a race three finish outside of the top 20 leaving him marooned way down the order in the race for the most coveted crown in British motor sport – ninth and over 50 points shy of then-leader Sam Tordoff.

It’s a different kettle of fish in 2017, though, as Shedden stands in charge at the top of the pile as he searches for a third consecutive BTCC crown. A consistent run of results, with only one non-finish, a disqualification from a provisional race win at Donington Park, encompasses two race wins and five visits to the rostrum – double the number of each in comparison to this same stage last season.

This leaves the triple champion with a very different proposition at the classic Darlington venue this time around – heading the pack with maximum success ballast on board his Honda Civic Type R, albeit at the scene of his worst weekend of 2016.

“It’s fantastic to be heading there leading the championship, but the downside to that is having to carry 75kg of glorious ballast for qualifying and race one!” said Shedden. “That means we’ll need to play the long game, but hopefully the Civic Type R will do the business and the weekend will come to me as it goes on.”

“Croft is an interesting circuit,” he reflected. “It’s a little bit like a game of two halves with some really slow, technical corners and some really fast, high-adrenaline corners, which always throws up a few surprises.”

Michael Epps (GBR) Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC

Those next up in the running will be hot on Shedden’s heels, ready to capitalise, and will have a job on their hands given Honda, with the exception of last year, are traditionally extremely strong at Croft with 13 wins there in the modern era – joint-most with BMW.

It is the Bavarian marque currently leading the chase with Team BMW’s Rob Collard – the only driver to have scored points in every race so far in 2017. He also happens to have a sparkling record there, having won twice in the last two visits, tallying five podium finishes since 2014.

Croft is a circuit that naturally favours rear-wheel drive machinery and the sister Team BMW machine, harbouring Colin Turkington, will surely be there or thereabouts as he aims to close on Shedden from fourth in the standings. The Ulsterman has garnered the most victories, podiums and fastest laps there in the last 20 years – 11, 19 and 7 respectively. Little wonder he has been dubbed the ‘King of Croft’.

Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram is in recovery mode and will be looking to make amends and get his title challenge back on track while Matt Neal in the second Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R is also in the mix – a stunning podium triple at Oulton Park made certain of that.

The third 125i M Sport, of BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan is currently some 50 points shy of the top of the table but a victory and a further podium at Oulton Park showed he is firmly in contention, as is the Subaru of Ash Sutton who is just ahead in the tally in sixth spot after his trip to the top step in Cheshire.

Jason Plato (GBR) Team BMR Subaru Levorg

Local Heroes

Legendary BTCC champion Jason Plato has suffered a difficult 2017 to date, with fewer points on the board after the opening 12 rounds than ever before. A heavy start line shunt at the season-opening weekend was a factor and Plato will be hoping to be back at the sharp end on home soil, with the Subaru now a race-winning machine in 2017 in the hands of team-mate Ash Sutton.

“There’s progress on my car at times but we’re still trying to fathom what exactly is wrong with it,” said Plato. “At the moment it still won’t do what we want it to do.

“Mine is not responding in the same way as the other cars – we made changes on the others and got the same reaction from each, but made the same changes on my car and there was no reaction, so something’s not working.

“I always enjoy coming to Croft,” continued Plato, who grew up in nearby Newcastle. “It’s great to see familiar faces and the racing is always good. It’s usually a rear-wheel drive track and it suited the Subaru last year and hopefully we’ll make another step there with my car and we’ll see what we can do as a team. I’m looking forward to it.”

Huddersfield’s Dan Lloyd also calls Croft home and the MG man will be hoping to make a jump next weekend and build on a season-best 12th last time out, though matching his qualifying effort last year – a front-row berth – may be a tough challenge for the MG6 on current form.

Ashley Sutton (GBR) Team BMR Subaru Levorg

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

(c) Photographs and press release courtesy of BTCC

Hyundai i30 TCR Completes Successful Test In Valencia

Thierry Neuville – Testing


  • Hyundai Motorsport continued to develop the New Generation i30 TCR with an intensive three-day program at the Circuit de Valencia
  • After previous testing allowed the team to establish a base set-up for the car, attention turned to maximizing the performance from specific areas of the chassis
  • The focus of the running at the 4km track was on testing different brake materials and damper settings.

Alzenau, Germany

June 2, 2017 – Hyundai Motorsport continued with the testing schedule for the New Generation i30 TCR earlier this week (May 30-June 1), successfully completing three days at the Circuit de Valencia.

Dani Sordo – Testing

The team returned to Spain for the third circuit test of the new car, having previously completed running at the Motorland Aragon circuit in the country, as well as Misano in Italy. As the development continued, attention turned from establishing a strong foundation for the project to concentrating on improving specific areas of performance.

With its technical infield section, long front straight and sweeping penultimate corner, the Valencia circuit was chosen, like the testing venues before it, for its mix of high and low speed corners. This offered the test team the opportunity to fully assess the balance of the chassis in a variety of situations over the course of the week, as the tight development schedule demands.

Focus falls on brakes and damper settings

The time at the Valencia circuit, which hosted a round of the inaugural TCR International Series season, was spent assessing different brake materials and damper settings. With each set-up change Hyundai Motorsport’s squad of engineers could compare the data not only with the New Generation i30 TCR’s previous runs on the 4km circuit, but with the baseline data gained from both Aragon and Misano. This information was then used, in conjunction with the feedback from Touring Car veteran and lead test driver Gabriele Tarquini, in order to work towards the ideal configuration.

Hayden Paddon – Testing

The New Generation i30 TCR is Hyundai Motorsport’s first project designed for circuit racing. The development of the new car is being overseen by the experienced engineers from the Customer Racing department based at the team’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany. The first completed chassis are scheduled to be delivered to customers in early December.

Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department manager Andrea Adamo said: “Already we have proved that we have a very strong base car. However, this early in a project there are always areas where you can still increase performance and, more importantly for customer project, improve drivability. After establishing the foundations for the set-up at our previous tests we are now building on to them. At Valencia we focused on the damper and brake settings, and we finished this week with very good information in these areas. Future tests will concentrate on other areas, such as developing the aerodynamic package and maximizing the power from the engine.”

About the Hyundai Motorsport TCR project

Announced in February 2017 the TCR project marks Hyundai Motorsport’s first steps into circuit racing following three full seasons in the World Rally Championship (WRC). Built and developed by the Customer Racing department at the team’s headquarters in Alzenau, Germany the touring car racer will be based on the road-going New Generation i30 model. Design work for the project began in September 2016, taking advantage of the TCR regulations which, since their introduction in 2015, have been adopted by more than a dozen national and international championships. Testing of the first completed chassis began in April 2017, with the first car planned to be delivered to customer teams in early December 2017.

Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at:

About Hyundai Motor

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company, which leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars, offers top-quality best-sellers such as Elantra, Sonata and Genesis. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2015, sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With more than 100,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localized models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, ix35 Fuel Cell.

More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: or

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_Racing

(c) Photographs and press release courtesy of Hyundai Motorsport

Lights! Camera! Action!

Image credit: Warren Nel


What a weekend that was! The BTCC’s highly anticipated return was welcomed with open arms this past weekend, as thousands of spectators lined the grassy banks of the Brands Hatch circuit, all keenly waiting for their favourite drivers to battle it out on race day. But who would take the spoils in the opening weekend?

Saturday saw a tense, nail-biting qualifying session for pretty much every driver up and down the pit lane. Rain would cause delays and ever changing track conditions. Of course, one thing that was equal for everyone was the “success ballast.” No points scored yet meaning equal weight for all. A pure fight in terms of performance creating possibly the most important pole position of the year.

After everything was said and done it was a surprising pole for Eurotech man Jeff Smith. 2016 Brands Hatch winner Tom Ingram would complete the front row and the two Halfords Yuasa racing Hondas of Gordon Shedden and Mat Neal would line up just behind.

Lights out for race one of the day saw drama from the get-go. Contact between the fast-starting Colin Turkington and the slower Mat Neal saw them both out of the running before even reaching Paddock Hill Bend. No such troubles for Tom Ingram however as he stormed ahead despite feeling under the weather.

A short safety car period would follow whilst the two former champions were cleared from the grid. Once the race restarted it didn’t take long for Shedden to pass Smith and move up into P2. Adam Morgan in the Mercedes A-Class would also quickly follow through thus completing the podium. Pole man Smith was forced into the pits after a wheel nut failure—not the start to the year he was hoping for. Ingram though proved his worth and claimed another stunning victory, mirroring what he did this time last year.

Image credit: Warren Nel

The drama didn’t just stay in race one—this is the BTCC after all, drama is its middle name.

This time for polesitter Ingram and an electrical fault with his Toyota Avensis meant he struggled to move away for the formation laps. He did however eventually get it going and regained his position. The grid lined up and out came a yellow flag just in front of Ingram. Confusion struck and the start was aborted. The cars were send around for another formation lap. By the regulations Ingram should now have to start at the back of the grid but this was missed and he lined up on pole. The stewards decided he would then have to take a drive through penalty.

All set then and when the lights went out, drama followed once again. Another former champion in strife, Jason Plato’s Subaru wrecked up against the barrier after what seemed like an identical incident to that of Turkington and Neal in race one. With debris and a stranded car littering the track there was only one choice and that was for a red flag stoppage. Cars would be reset and the grid reformed; good news for Ingram, as this took his penalty away.

A shortened race distance meant the racing would be harder and faster right up to the chequered flag. A storming start for BMW new boy Andrew Jordan saw him jump positions straight away. His BMW team mates Rob Collard and Colin Turkington also had impressive races with Rob taking a podium behind eventual race winner Shedden and ill-feeling Tom Ingram. Turkington managed to race his way brilliantly up into the top ten from the back of the grid.

Image credit: Warren Nel

Rob Austin was the man who was picked out for the reverse grid pole position, only for it to be taken away. Rob was deemed to have had overtaken Andrew Jordan under yellow flags resulting in him being disqualified from race two and losing his fourth place finish. Pole would then land with the returning Tom Chilton in his brand new Vauxhall Astra. Josh Cook and Andrew Jordan would line up just behind, all looking to take victory early in the season.

Lights out and another storming start for Jordan in the BMW, no looking back as he stormed past Cook and Chilton to take the lead. Mat Jackson in the Motorbase Ford Focus found himself skirting through the gravel as he lost grip on the outside of Chilton. It didn’t take long for Turkington to find himself further up the field and right up behind his team mate Rob Collard, team orders seemingly in place and the lighter car of Turkington was allowed through into third place. Colin was on fire taking huge chunks of time out of the leading pair. He made short order of getting past the Vauxhall and quickly set about Jordan. A close, exciting battle between the new team mates had everyone on the edge of their seats. Colin wasn’t going to try anything silly and risk losing a 1-2 finish and followed Jordan home. A great way for BMW and WSR to kick off their 2017 campaign. Tom Chilton would hang on to take third a dream result for the new Vauxhall team.

Personally I couldn’t think of a better way to open this year’s BTCC, we had action even in qualifying. We are definitely in for fireworks this year and already I’m looking forward to Donington where it will happen all over again. Who knows what will happen, three new winners? Subaru finding their form? Or some other surprise, whatever it is, it surely will leave us breathless.

BTCC returns at Donington Park Circuit on the 15th & 16th of April.

Mitch Oakley, BTCC Editor

©2017 The Pitcrewonline