The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship brought the curtain down on its 2023 season in style at Brands Hatch this past weekend (October 7/8) as NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton was crowned champion for a record-equalling fourth time.
On what proved to be a momentous final day of the season around the Grand Prix circuit, the Ford Focus ST driver held his nerve in front of a capacity crowd to cement his place as one of the greatest ever drivers in the UK’s premier motorsport series.
Arriving at the Kent venue holding a commanding 45-point lead, Sutton stormed to victory in the opening encounter around the iconic Grand Prix circuit, which was enough for him to clinch the coveted crown.
With the title secured, the 29-year-old then went on to win the penultimate race of the season before concluding a quite incredible campaign with a points-paying finish in the finale.
Sutton’s path to a fourth title has been nothing short of impressive with six pole positions, 12 wins and a further eight podium finishes being tallied over the course of the ten event campaign.
In addition to now tying Andy Rouse and Colin Turkington for the most BTCC titles ever, Sutton has also become the first driver to win the prestigious accolade in both front and rear-wheel-drive machinery.
Whilst being unable to stop Sutton from triumphing, outgoing champion Tom Ingram ultimately settled for runners-up laurels whilst Jake Hill, Turkington and Josh Cook completed the top five in the standings.
Elsewhere, NAPA Racing UK and Ford claimed the Teams’ Championship for the second season in-a-row and they were also able to overhaul BMW to wrap up the Manufacturer-Constructor Championship for the first time too.
Cook retained his Independent Drivers’ title in comfortable fashion, and his performances also played a critical role in helping his One Motorsport with Starline Racing squad go back-to-back in the Independent Teams’ category.
Rounding out this year’s title winners was CarStore Power Maxed Racing’s Andrew Watson who triumphed in the Jack Sears Trophy ahead of his Vauxhall Astra team-mate Mikey Doble.
Sutton’s charge to the coveted crown began on Saturday afternoon as he scooped a sensational sixth pole position of the season. Pacing the opposition by more than two tenths of a second, that success also clinched him the Goodyear Wingfoot Award.
In a season in which he has largely reigned supreme, it was somewhat fitting that Sutton became the youngest ever four-time champion with a superlative lights-to-flag victory in the opening contest.
Blasting away from the front row, the Alliance Racing driver was wheel-perfect throughout the 18-lap bout as he led home his chief championship rival this season, Ingram.
With the championship secured and the pressure off, Sutton then produced a carbon copy performance in race two as he charged to an unprecedented 12th victory of the year – which tied the record set by fellow multiple champion Alain Menu more than two decades ago.
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Hill then brought the curtain down on the season with victory in a thrilling finale, as he came out on top of a captivating battle for the lead which inclued Honda ace Cook and BMW stablemate Stephen Jelley.
To view the full classification of results from all BTCC sessions at Brands Hatch, as well as the final championship standings, CLICK HERE.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will return in 2024, with the start of the brand-new season poised to start around Donington Park’s National layout on April 27/28.