2020 Season Review: BTRA British Truck Racing Championship

Heavyweight thrills and spills formed the backbone of what was a shortened BTRA British Truck Racing Championship in 2020 as Ryan Smith and Steven Powell reigned supreme to claim championship silverware in Division 1 and Division 2 respectively.

Weighing in at more than five tonnes and producing in excess of 1000bhp, the titans of truck racing served up a feast of unmissable wheel-to-wheel entertainment for the enthusiastic crowds that flocked trackside.

Despite the calendar comprising of just three events – Donington Park, Snetterton and Thruxton – no less than 14 races were staged over the course of the season, each one setting pulses racing.

Division 1 saw the familiar theme of Smith underlining his superlative racecraft by being crowned champion for a fifth consecutive year. Having been the man to beat over the past four seasons, the MAN driver entered the season as the hot favourite and duly delivered another vintage title-winning performance.

Kicking his campaign off with a double win at Donington Park, Smith added another victory at Snetterton before really hitting his stride when the series descended on what would ultimately prove to be the final round of the season at Thruxton.

Former champions David Jenkins and Stuart Oliver, as well as front running protagonists Martin Gibson and John Newell, found themselves in the battle for supremacy as each round passed too, setting up what was set to be a grandstand finish.

Unfortunately, the introduction of a second national lockdown prior to the series finale at Brands Hatch caused the event to be cancelled, subsequently crowning Smith as champion by a handful of points.

In Division 2, Powell paired rapid speed with consistency to wrap up the title. After narrowly missing out on the crown to Luke Garrett during the past two years, the MAN racer made a lightening start as he won four out of five races at the season-opener.

Establishing himself as the lead contender following his virtuoso performance under the flightpath of East Midlands airport, Powell would go on to score a further four wins across the remaining two events to wrap up the title.

Whilst Powell and Garrett went head-to-head for the coveted crown, other notable performers included Craig Reid, John Powell and Craig Evans.

BTCC announces several rule changes for 2021 season

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship has confirmed a number of regulation and procedural changes ahead of the 2021 season.

Following on from an end-of-season meeting between Series Organisers TOCA and all participating teams, tweaks to the qualifying format, tyre options, success ballast and fan enhancements have all been ratified.

Having been trialled at Snetterton in 2020, the ‘Top Ten Showdown’ qualifying session will return next year; this time at Donington Park, Snetterton and Silverstone.

Those three events will see the traditional 30-minute session replaced by a marginally reduced window of 25 minutes for drivers to record their lap times. After a short five-minute break, the fastest ten competitors will then progress into a ten-minute session to determine the top ten places on the grid.

Competitors will use variety of tyre compounds during the season as well as the ‘Option’ tyre is phased back-in at four of the ten scheduled events.

Oulton Park, Croft and Snetterton will see the Goodyear soft tyre used as the ‘Option’ whilst the Goodyear medium compound is the selected ‘Option’ tyre at Knockhill.

Over the course of those four events the ‘Option’ tyre must be used in one of the three races. Teams do not have to specify which race they will use the compound in before qualifying, with all choices being declared upon the cars leaving the pit-lane on their way to the grid.

Events at Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Silverstone will see only the Goodyear medium compound allocated, whilst both visits to Thruxton will see only the hard compound used.

Success ballast will be increased for the forthcoming campaign with the maximum weight of 75kgs being reintroduced, an increase from the current 60kgs. Ballast will be issued throughout the top ten as follows for 2021: 75kgs-66kgs-57kgs-48kgs-39kgs-33kgs-27kgs-21kgs-15kgs-9kgs.

Finally, following the initiative’s successful introduction at Silverstone in 2019, pit garages will again be reversed for the benefit of fans at events at those venues where it is practical to do so.

Pit garages will face into the paddock area, rather than the pit-lane, meaning teams and drivers will carry out a majority of their preparation work in clear view of spectators and adding a further dimension to the fan experience during a race weekend.

The 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will commence at Brands Hatch on April 3/4.

2020 Season Review: Sports Prototype Cup

The Sports Prototype Cup’s sophomore season proved to be a smash-hit in 2020 as it boasted bumper grids, exciting races and a debut on the international motorsport stage.

Debuting in 2019 with the aim of providing a multi-marque racing environment for lightweight sports prototype cars to race in a premium race weekend package, the category continued to grow in stature this past year as it delivered a memorable four-event campaign.

Brands Hatch provided the backdrop for the season-opener and it was Alex Kapadia who narrowly edged out Scott Mansell in race one to open his account for the year. Mansell would strike back in race two, getting the better of Bradley Ellis to take home a share of the spoils.

Rounds three and four saw the series go international for the first time, travelling to Belgium to tackle Spa Francorchamps and share the billing with the FIA World Endurance Championship. The category would produce a pair of action-packed one-hour races to show the potential of the fast-growing UK-based series on the global stage.

Morten Dons reigned supreme in the opening encounter around the legendary 4.35-mile circuit before Mansell tallied his second win of the season in a rain-affected race two.

Returning to British shores, Snetterton provided the latest stop on the calendar for two more contests and the Norfolk venue didn’t disappoint.

Spoils were ultimately split between James Abbott and Dons, each of them standing on the top step of the podium whilst there was also a podium finish for Olympic Gold Medalist Sir Chris Hoy, who was making his debut in the series.

The Sports Prototype Cup then brought its sensational season to a close back in mainland Europe, thrilling a 25,000-strong crowd as it starred at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve before the Formula 1 Heineken Grande Prémio De Portugal.

Taking centre stage alongside the biggest motor racing series in the world, an exclusive 17-car Revolution A-One Trophy field got plenty of pulses racing. 

Michel Frey claimed a commanding lights-to-flag victory in race one before Kapadia came to the fore to win the final race of the season. Kapadia’s victory would cement his position as the top ranked Cup driver of the 2020 season.

Work has already begun on the 2021 calendar for the series, with a mix of national and international premium events set to make up the schedule.

2020 Season Review: C1 Challenge

Having established itself as one of the staple categories that compete under the British Automobile Racing Club umbrella, the C1 Challenge enjoyed another superlative season as it produced big grids and exciting on-track entertainment.

Providing a low-cost method of competing in motorsport, the single-make series continues to remain as one of the fastest growing categories in the country since launching more than three years ago, surpassing the 150-car build mark.

Due to the impact the coronavirus pandemic, the C1 contingent announced a revised calendar comprising of three events for the remainder of 2020 however this would become two following confirmation that Pembrey would be unable to stage race meetings.

Hitting the track for the first time at Donington Park, an impressive 50-car entry list took centre stage for a three-hour encounter which finished with the top two being split by little over half a second.

The Progressive Motorsport Ltd duo of Howard Hayens and Dave Ward narrowly edged out Team Davies after a sensational 91 laps around the 1.98-mile track.

Always keen to make history where possible, the series then descended on the fastest circuit in the UK, Thruxton, for the very first time to stage another three-hour bonanza.

Renowned for its high-speed flowing corners, the Hampshire venue saw a bumper 45-car grid race into the darkness – producing a staggering spectacle.

Completing a total of 96 laps, the Hybrid Tune trio of Stephen James, David Meenan and Ben Simonds ran out as race winners, scoring victory by more than 90 seconds at the chequered flag.

The 2021 season for the C1 Challenge will hopefully see a return to some normality, with a seven event calendar having been provisionally announced already.

2020 Season Review: Uncle Luke’s BARC Saloon Series

The Uncle Luke’s BARC Saloon Series produced another breathtaking year of tin top entertainment in 2020 as it showcased some of the very best saloon car machinery.

Open to any saloon that complies with the Motorsport UK Blue Book, the multi-class series maintained its ethos of being all about having fun behind the wheel rather than attaining championship points and silverware.

Sharing grids with the likes of the BARC Red Open Sports/Saloons, Carbon8 Hyundai Coupe Cup and Kumho BMW Championship, the category had spectators on the edge of their seats from start-to-finish.

Taking centre stage at Snetterton, Mallory Park and Thruxton, despite there not being any trophies, points or titles on the line, race wins were still closely fought over from the outset.

With a variety of machinery going wheel-to-wheel across all three events, Chris Hitchen emerged as the driver to beat once again as he reigned supreme towards the sharp end of the field.

Piloting his trusty Renault Clio for the second successive season, Hitchin chalked up four wins to retain his status as the benchmark driver in the series, having previously done so in 2019.

Other notable names to feature towards the sharp end of the grid included Paul Nevill and Mark De Ath.

2020 Season Review: Max5 Racing Championship

Four drivers tasted title success in the Max5 Racing Championship this past season as the one-make category boasted bumper grids and blockbuster entertainment.

Conceptualised to produce exciting racing at an affordable price, the Mazda-based series’ slogan of ‘take it to the max’ was in full force as it took top billing at its four rescheduled events.

Visits to Croft, Donington Park, Mallory Park and Silverstone served up a total of eight enthralling contests, each of which had pulses racing both behind the wheel and on the spectators bankings.

Having been the benchmark for a number years, Paul Roddison continued to showcase why he is one of the most accomplished drivers in national motorsport as he triumphed in Class A. Roddison chalked up five wins to emerge as a convincing winner ahead of Sam Hicks.

Class A also saw the welcome return of former front-runner Jon Halliwell, who was back behind the wheel after suffering serious injuries during an accident at work a number of years ago. Halliwell’s return was a sensational one as he bagged a pair of race wins at Croft.

Aaron Bunning and Lee Hollin ended the year tied on points in Class B however it was Bunning who prevailed as champion having had to take a drop score at the season-opener.

Two competitors battled it out for overall honours in Class D and it was Geena Mae Watkinson that got the better of Oli Walden, virtue of completing the full season.

Rounding out the list of champions in the Max5 Racing Championship was Andrew Stacey, who narrowly pipped Richard Smith and the rest of the competition in Class D.

2020 Season Review: Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 Supercup

Having twice finished as runner-up, Will Burns came good in 2020 as he was crowned Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion after producing a sensational season-long performance.

Entering the season as one of the title favourites and hungry to finally lift the coveted crown, the Rob Boston Racing driver ensured that third time was the charm for him to follow in the footsteps of former winners Harry King and Charlie Ladell.

Burns kicked his campaign off with a double win at Donington Park before then embarking on a relentless points-scoring streak that would see him net a further three victories – at Croft and Snetterton – as well as a host of podiums too.

Taking the fight to the former BTCC racer over the course of the campaign was Tom Hibbert and series newcomer Gus Burton.

Each leading the standings at some point during the year, Hibbert and Burton chalked up three and five wins of their own respectively however neither of them would be ultimately able to stop the juggernaut that was Burns.

As the season wore on, the duo of Adam Smalley and Jamie Falvey also came to the fore towards the front of the field, netting six wins between each other, and adding further intrigue in the battle for overall honours.

Putting himself to within touching distance of the crown following a virtuoso performance at Snetterton, Burns entered the final event of the season needing just to finish to finally wrap up the coveted crown – and he did just that.

Powering his rear-wheel-drive machine to a brace of second place finishes, the 30-year-old was deservedly crowned champion for the first time after several missed attempts.

Elsewhere, the Pro-Am class saw Colin White regain the crown he had lost last year whilst Stewart Lines became the inaugural Amateur title winner, edging out Carl Garnett by just two points come the end of the year.

Thruxton Circuit unveils full-throttle 2021 events calendar

Thruxton Circuit is gearing up for a packed programme of motorsport action in 2021, highlighted by two visits from the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship and the return of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

Following on from a COVID-19 affected 2020 campaign, the fastest circuit in the UK is set to play host to the some of the biggest championships and clubs over the course of the season, staging a total of seven race meetings from early May through to late August.

Kicking off the season at the Hampshire venue, Britain’s premier motorsport series – the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – will descend on the home of the British Automobile Racing Club on May 8/9 for the first of two visits during 2021, with a trio of action-packed contests set to take centre stage.

The start of June will see the return of the much-loved adrenaline-pumping, two-wheeled heroes of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship – moving from their customary August slot in a shakeup in the calendar.

One week later Thruxton will take a spirited trip down memory lane to a bygone era of machinery for its annual ‘Thruxton Historic’ two-day spectacle. The British Truck Racing Championship, Classic Sports Car Club and British Racing & Sports Car Club will also all captivate and entertain before the venue brings the curtain down on what will have undoubtedly been an unforgettable few months.

Having starred back in May, the BTCC and TOCA support package returns to Thruxton for another three high-octane races as the battle for the coveted title reaches the business end of the season.

Pat Blakeney, Thruxton Operations Manager, said: “We’re excited to release our 2021 events calendar that’ll provide a fantastic mix of two and four-wheeled action, both and new.

“A big change for next year is the revised date for the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which has moved to the weekend of June 4/5/6 instead of its traditional August fixture.

“We’ll also host two rounds of the ever-popular BTCC, as well as several other notable meetings which all in all sets the scene for what should be a great season.”

Thruxton Circuit 2021 Calendar

May 8/9 – British Touring Car Championship
June 4/5/6 – British Superbike Championship
June 12/13 – Thruxton Historic
July 3/4 – British Truck Racing Championship
July 24 – Classic Sports Car Club
August 14 – British Racing & Sports Car Club
August 28/29 – British Touring Car Championship

Stringent measures are in place to ensure that Thruxton operates in a COVID safe environment, ensuring that spectators remain safe whilst soaking up the on-track action. Should Thruxton be unable to have spectators at a race meeting in 2021. Customers will have the option of a full refund or to transfer their tickets.

Head to https://thruxtonracing.co.uk/racing to find out more information on each event and ticket prices.

2020 Season Review: Carbon8 Hyundai Coupe Cup

Championship titles may not have been on offer but the spoils of race wins was more than enough to spark a fire in the Carbon8 Hyundai Coupe Cup this past season, with Mark Dicken ending the year as the most successful competitor.

Roaring into life several years ago, the Coupe Cup has made a name for itself a budget conscious, single-make category for first and second generation two-lite Hyundai Coupe machines.

Continuing to grow in stature each year, 2020 presented a unique campaign for the series but it underlined its popularity by producing mammoth grids and enthralling races, sometimes sharing the track with the Uncle Luke’s BARC Saloon Series.

Kicking off proceedings at Snetterton with a record-breaking 25-car grid, Dicken reigned supreme in both encounters around the Norfolk venue’s 300 layout, edging out Alex Cursely each time.

Mallory Park provided the next step on the calendar and it would see the roles reversed at the front of the field as Cursely this time came to the fore with a double-winning performance of his own.

Dicken cemented his status as the man to beat at Oulton Park, bringing the curtain down on a shortened yet memorable campaign by chalking up his third win of the year.

2020 Season Review: Lancaster Insurance MG Owners Club Championship

They say that variety is the spice of life and that was certainly the case for the Lancaster Insurance MG Owners Club Championship this past season, which enjoyed another outstanding year of competition.

Despite the unprecedented nature of running a condensed campaign, the illustrious category continued to flourish as it took centre stage at Brands Hatch, Mallory Park, Snetterton and Silverstone – crowning three champions along the way.

The Classic Class provided waves of entertainment over the course of the nine-race schedule as two stalwarts of the championship went toe-to-toe in their battle for supremacy, taking the fight down to the wire.

Both David Amphlett and Jim Baynam have become synonymous with the MGOC down the years and the duo had everyone on the edge of their seats as they duked it out for honours, ultimately being separated by a single point in the end.

Kicking his season off in style with a win, Amphlett kept the points consistently ticking over before picking up a pivotal second victory at the Silverstone finale. For Baynam, missing the season-opener ultimately proved costly as he had to play catch up from the second event of the year.

At the wheel of his trusty MG ZR, Baynam chalked up six wins from the remaining seven races to narrowly miss out on being crowned champion once again.

Class F was won in a slightly more comfortable fashion as Mark Baker stormed to savour the spoils of a championship victory. Tallying four wins over the course of the season, the MG F racer showcased his class as the superior force in the category. 

Elsewhere, the trio of Martin Wells, Stuart Plotnek and Simon Kendrick also picked up class wins but none of them could stop Baker in the end.

Fergus Campbell capped off the list of winners as he triumphed in Class Z. The MG ZR ace was often the driver to beat overall and his class victories made him an unstoppable force on his way to the title.

2020 Season Review: Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres

The Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres witnessed one of the closest title battles in its illustrious history in 2020 as Daniel Clark was crowned champion for the first time in his career.

Returning to the high-octane series for his first full campaign in more than a decade, the 36-year-old pieced together a consistent championship challenge to clinch the coveted crown by a mere 20 points.

Renowned for producing close bumper-to-bumper, wheel-to-wheel action, the popular 5/8 scale series was at its brilliant best as it staged a short, sharp three-event schedule. 

Croft played host to a scorching curtain-raiser which saw three drivers open their accounts for the season. Sy Harraway netted a hat-trick whilst a brace for Jack Parker and a solitary victory for defending champion Miles Rudman made it a weekend to remember in North Yorkshire.

Onto Donington Park next and Clark came to the fore under the flightpath of East Midlands airport as he scored what would be his only race win of the season. Triumphs for Connor Mills and Will Gibson also took place at the Leicestershire venue but it was to be Clark’s front-running consistency that would grab the headlines as he moved level on points with John Mickel.

With the title battle beginning to gather momentum, Snetterton’s six contests would ultimately prove pivotal on deciding the destiny of who would walk away as champion.

Bidding to successfully retain his crown, Rudman enjoyed a superlative weekend in Norfolk as he powered his way to a hat-trick of wins whilst Parker and multiple title winner Mickel also triumphed.

Once again however it was Clark’s relentless front-running points scoring that made him the talk of the town as he left the third meeting of the year topping the standings by 20 points.

As many as ten drivers held a mathematical chance of lifting the crown heading into the home stretch of the championship however the unprecedented situation regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic led to events at Pembrey and Brands Hatch being cancelled.

Due to the final two meetings of the season not being run, the final championship standings were taken following Snetterton, therefore crowning Clark as champion ahead of Mickel and Rudman.

2020 Season Review: 2CV Parts.com Classic Racing Championship

Alec Graham ended Pete Sparrow’s recent run of dominance in what was a compacted 2CV Parts.com Classic Racing Championship this year to be crowned champion after producing a superlative display behind the wheel.

Widely recognised for close-quarter, exciting racing, the series once again enjoyed memorable year as the iconic 2CV machines producing wheel-to-wheel entertainment wherever they went.

Traditionally made up of four or five race meetings, this year saw a short, sharp three-event calendar put together in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent suspension of motorsport in UK.

Kicking off the season around the undulating twists and turns of Cadwell Park, Graham began his pursuit of title glory in the best possible way as he powered his way to a stunning victory in the opening encounter.

Bagging valuable points in race two as Luca Proietti triumphed, Graham assumed top spot in the championship standings and ultimately never let it go.

Viewed as the jewel in the crown of the 2CV Racing calendar each year, the annual 24-hour race at Snetterton provided the next challenge for the series.

After a true race of attrition and a total of 696 laps, the Wingrove/MWR Racing quartet of Matthew Cobb, Peter Dalkin, David O’Keeffe and Mark Waghorn emerged victorious.

Finishing fifth overall but first of the UK 2CV Racing competitors, Graham bagged big points to help in his quest for the coveted crown.

Bringing the curtain down on their season at Mallory Park, the one-make series served up a feast of entertainment as outgoing champion Sparrow signed off in style by winning both races.

Behind, points leader Graham did enough in both encounters to ensure he secured an unassailable lead and with it, the championships title by 90 points.

The 2021 2CV Parts.com Classic Racing Championship will see the calendar return to five events, with the 24-hour race assuming its spot as the series’ finale.