The British Touring Car Championship is a staple of British Motorsport, and returns once again in 2018, for another year of action-packed, wheel-to-wheel racing. Starting way back in 1958, the BTCC was very successful and has attracted fans from around the world to admire the intense 2.0 litre action.
The racing series sees names such as; Jim Clark, Max Chilton, Tom Chilton, Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato (Baked Potato) race amongst some of the most iconic circuits in the UK. Previously, at the end of the last season, Ashley Sutton won the drivers’ standings with Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, whilst BMW dominated the constructor and team’s championships.
Well, as the name suggests, the BTCC take places at several British race tracks across the UK. Here is the official calendar of when it is a track near you:
This year, Silverstone and Goodwood will will also host various celebrations for the sport's 60th anniversary, as well as a one-off special race at Snetterton in late July, where the drivers will be able to compete for extra championship points.
If you’d like to go to a BTCC race, look at your local tracks website for tickets, they vary in price from about £25 up to £40, and in some cases, it will be cheaper to book in advance rather than buy a ticket at the gate.
From left to right is Tom Ingram for Speedworks Motorsport, Matt Neal for Halfords Yuasa Racing, Ashley Sutton for Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, Colin Turkington for Team BMW, and Senna Proctor for Power Maxed TAG Racing.
In a nutshell, a BTCC weekend goes something like this. It starts off like most racing events, practise sessions. Saturday has two free practise sessions, followed by a 30-minute qualifying session of which the outcome determines the grid of the races on Sunday. Race One is based on the grid from qualifying, Race Two’s grid is based on the outcome of Race One, and Race Three has the possibility of the grid being reversed, kind of. From the results of Race Two, places 6th -12th are placed into a bowl. One name is taken out, and the corresponding driver starts on pole for Race Three, with the rest of the grid being based on the results of Race Two.
Another thing that has to be taken into consideration is weight, otherwise knowns as ‘ballast’. Drivers that are doing well in the championship and that specific race weekend, will be given more weight as handicap to make the racing a lot more closer and entertaining. This is stop the top cars racing ahead, leaving the rest of the pack dead, as seen with its sister sports like Formula One.
32 drivers will make up the grid, in various forms of 2l, 330bhp, turbocharged cars. Four manufactures will return for action packed racing; BMW (current reigning champions), Honda, Subaru and Vauxhall, as well as a plethora of other manufactures that make up the independent teams including a Mercedes Benz A-Class and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Gordon Shedden has left the BTCC to go and compete in the world touring car championship. Mat Jackson and Dave Newsham will also not be in competing in the BTCC this year either. Bobby Thompson, Sam Smelt and Tom Oliphant will make their BTCC debut from the VW Cup, F4 and Ginetta GT4 respectively.
ITV will continue its long-lasting partnership with BTCC, broadcasting the races live on ITV4. Qualifying will be broadcast live on the ITV Hub app, and ITV’s dedicated BTCC website, so you can watch it on any device with internet connectivity (let’s be honest, what device doesn't have that these days). The Sunday Races will be live on ITV4 on the Sunday, followed by a highlights reel of the weekend shown on ITV1, late on Monday night. If you live further afield, channels such as ESPN, the CBS network in the US and Fox Sports in Australia will also show some highlights of the weekend in various other countries.
The BTCC is back on our screens this weekend. With an action packed season last year, fans are eager for the racing to get under way. Although there has been a few driver changes and regulation changes, 2018 is looking to be another great year for BTCC, for the sport's 60th anniversary.
All pictures taken from the BTCC website and aidenmoffatracing.
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