Ashley Sutton sets the pace as BTCC Season Launch concludes at Thruxton

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship brought the curtain down on its 2022 Season Launch at Thruxton today (April 13) with reigning champion Ashley Sutton topping the times in the final official pre-season test.

After months of anticipation and excitement, the 2022 BTCC campaign officially launched at an exclusive event event in the Thruxton Centre on Tuesday evening where invited guests were introduced to the drivers and informed on the introduction of hybrid technology.

Following the completion of official championship photography and ITV filming, cars hit the track for an action-packed day of testing in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans.

With a total of 1250 laps being completed around the fastest circuit in the UK, triple champion Sutton left it late in the afternoon before storming to the top of the timesheets and ultimately claiming the bragging rights.

Dipping well under the existing lap record, the NAPA Racing UK driver set a best time of 1:15.607s to end the day a tenth of a second quicker than morning pace-setter Jake Hill. 

Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Daniel Rowbottom had held first place for much of the afternoon before being bettered; the Jack Sears Trophy winner ultimately finished third.

Hotly tipped title contenders Tom Ingram and Gordon Shedden rounded out the top five – the latter doing so in the closing stages of the day after being involved in an incident during the morning session.

Dan Cammish, Adam Morgan, Colin Turkington, Daniel Lloyd and Jason Plato rounded out the top ten with a total of 26 of the 29 entrants ultimately hitting the high-speed Hampshire track over the course of the day.

Away from testing and media duties, the BTCC Season Launch also saw the welcome return of the Pit Lane Autograph Session, which took place during the lunch break for the first time since the end of 2019. 

To view the full classification of times from testing at Thruxton, CLICK HERE.

Donington Park plays host to the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship curtain-raiser on April 23/24.