BTCC battle heads to Donington Park

The latest exhilarating chapter of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be played out this weekend (April 28/29), with Donington Park providing the backdrop for rounds four, five and six.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the series kicked into life at Brands Hatch in blockbuster fashion at the start of the month and that level of excitement is set to continue under the flightpath of East Midlands airport.

Three breathtaking races around the Kent venue brought three different winners as Jack Goff, Senna Proctor and Tom Ingram all topped the rostrum. Such is the competitive nature of this years grid, nobody visited the podium more than once – meaning a total of nine different drivers picked up silverware.

Further proof of how open the BTCC is this year is that the top ten in the championship standings sees ten different marques operated by ten different teams filling those spots. At the helm of the points arriving at the second event of the year is Speedworks Motorsport’s Ingram.

Adding a race win to a pair of solid points finishes at the curtain-raiser, the Toyota Avensis driver holds a slender three-point buffer over fellow Brands Hatch winner Goff and will carry 75kgs of success ballast into qualifying and race one.

Scoring a win at Donington Park last year, the Independent champion will be keen to further cement himself as the man to beat in the early stages; however challenges are set to come from all angles.

At the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R, Goff showcased that he isn’t a man to count out this year and he will be sighting further silverware for WIX Racing with Eurotech.

Adam Morgan and Rob Austin both scored podiums at Brands Hatch and the pair will be looking for more of the same in their respective machines. Despite expecting a tough time, reigning champion Ashley Sutton underlined his quality at the opening event to descend on Donington Park firmly in the mix in fifth.

Double champion Colin Turkington is another top name that will be eyeing victory to further ignite his title battle. Power Maxed Racing’s Proctor achieved that feat in a race that will live long in the memory for years to come having charged from P27 on slick tyres and a drying track.

Ollie Jackson, Rory Butcher and Mike Bushell round out the names that will carry success ballast into the weekend, virtue of their respective positions in the championship.

In total, 25 out of the 32 drivers competing this year having already scored points – once again echoing the level of competitiveness that the BTCC boasts this year.

Beyond the top ten, a host of names will be looking to strike at Donington Park and thrust themselves into contention. The likes of Andrew Jordan, Matt Neal, Sam Tordoff, Tom Chilton, Rob Collard, Josh Cook, Dan Cammish and Jason Plato, to name a few, will be notable drivers to look out for.

The introduction of the Dunlop hard option tyre will also no doubt play its part over the course of what is set to be a thrilling weekend of tin top action from Britain’s premier motor racing series.

Pembrey’s Spring Truckfest proves to be a smash-hit

Pembrey Circuit played host to memorable two day of racing this past weekend (April 21/22) as the British Automobile Racing Club descended on South Wales for Spring Truckfest.

In front of a bumper crowd, a trio of championships from the Club joined a host of other categories to entertain those who turned out in force in searing heat and the occasional rain shower.

Headlining the weekend was the BTRA Truck Racing Championship, which was competing for the second time this season after a frenetic curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch. Arriving as the early point’s leader, reigning champion Ryan Smith produced a mesmerising display in Division 1 to further cement his status as the man to beat.

Having won three races at Brands Hatch, the double title winner was a man on a mission at Pembrey winning four out of the five races, all in commanding fashion. The Smith juggernaut came to an end when David Jenkins notched his second race win of the season, doing so under intense pressure from Smith right the way up the chequered flag.

In Division 2, spoils were shared between a trio of drivers. Luke Garrett and Steve Powell charged their way to a brace of victories each whilst Craig Reid notched what proved to be a popular maiden win in the championship.

Elsewhere, the Hyundai Coupe Cup arguably stole the show as it ran three high-octane races; all of them jam-packed with plenty of bumper-to-bumper moments. Steve Kite continued his impressive run of victories in the opening encounter, narrowly pipping Wayne Rockett.

Kite and Rockett emerged as the drivers to watch throughout the weekend as they scrapped for top spot across all three races. Having missed out in race one, Rockett got the better of Kite in the second to score his maiden victory in the series and then backed it up with another in the reverse grid race.

The Max5 Racing Championship kicked into life at Pembrey following a lengthy off-season and there was plenty for Paul Roddison to smile about. Having topped the times in both practice and qualifying, Roddison took a dominant double ahead of Jeremy Shipley and Lee Malin in both races.

There were plenty of jaw-dropping moments in the Dunlop Mini Miglia Championship and Dunlop Mini Se7en Championship too. Aaron Smith scored two wins in the Miglia races whilst Darren Thomas and Max Hunter took a win apiece in the Mini Se7en encounters.

Track Attack Racing Club boasted a bumper and diverse entry list with William Di Claudio piloting his Peugeot 106 GTI to a brace of wins.

Rounding off the action was the Welsh Sports & Saloon Car Championship which saw Chris Everill and Damian Longotano take the top step of the podium each.

For the full classification of results, click here.

New Series Elite Championship launches

A new one-make series has today (April 24) launched aimed towards mature budding race drivers with a lower-age restriction of 50 years, titled Series Elite.

Running under the British Automobile Racing Club umbrella, the championship will see drivers compete in identical Jaguar F-TYPE GT4 machines – starting at Brands Hatch in late October before embarking on a full 12-race season in 2019.

Targeting high net worth individuals and offering a turnkey racing opportunity, Series Elite is designed to appeal to both amateurs and more experienced racers.

Drivers will be provided with all the relevant training, testing and race experience needed to compete in the new series, with their cars stored and prepared at a centralised team facility.

Series Director, Graeme Glew, said: “Currently there is no series that caters specifically for older drivers who want to compete at a high level with like-minded racers. We’re filling this gap with Series Elite supported by Jaguar’s race car expertise.

“Our competitors will own their own cars, but all the other aspects of going racing – preparing the cars, transporting them, arranging hospitality, travel and accommodation – will be arranged for them. With time at a premium it will allow drivers to fulfil their desire to go racing with minimal effort and fit into their busy lifestyle.

“Our offering will also extend off-track too, with high-class hospitality and exclusive lifestyle events outside of race weekends to expand the race experience into new areas, such as ice-driving.”

Greg Clark, Director Vehicle Personalisation at Jaguar Land Rover adds, “The Jaguar F-TYPE GT4 was developed last year for Invictus Games Racing and following this we were approached to develop the car for Series Elite.

“The concept and series profile is an obvious fit for Jaguar and it is an appropriate next step for us to expand production of the GT4 car, with a controlled environment and build schedule for this year.

“We are looking forward to seeing the first grid of cars at Brands Hatch before the full season with a 20-car field in 2019.”

The series’ inaugural weekend takes place at Brands Hatch on October 27/28 as part of a bumper two days of BARC racing. Series Elite is set to visit Silverstone, Donington Park, Rockingham, Brands Hatch and a yet to be decided international venue next year.

For more information, head to www.serieselite.com

BARC delivers memorable two days at Croft

The British Automobile Racing Club enjoyed a memorable two days at Croft this past weekend (April 28/29) as a trio of championships continued their campaigns.

Searing temperatures coupled with rain showers only added to the spectacle as the fans were treated to an abundance of bumper-to-bumper thrills.

Making their first visit to the North Yorkshire venue since 2007, the Pickup Truck Racing Championship returned to Croft for the second chapter of what has already been an enthralling 2018 campaign to-date.

Reigning champion Scott Bourne opened his silverware account in race one as he stormed to victory, narrowly pipping David O’Reagan and Mark Willis, with just under three seconds covering the rostrum finishers.

O’Reagan climbed to the top step in race two however as he emerged as the victor following a frenetic race-long battle with Lea Wood, crossing the line 0.051 ahead of the double Brands Hatch winner.

Wood wasn’t to be denied in the final race of the weekend though, cementing himself as the man to beat at this stage in the championship by scoring his third win of the season. Having failed to finish earlier in the day, Bourne bagged second place behind the former BTCC star whilst O’Reagan scored a hat-trick of podiums.

In the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres, John Mickel underlined his status as a multiple and defending champion with a scintillating showing.

Boasting another bumper grid of the 5/8 scale machines, Mickel started the weekend hot on the heels of Steve Whitelegg who took the win in the first of six races. From there on however the event belonged to Mickel as he produced a string of mesmerising performances to win the next five races.

Other notable performances included Miles Rudman, Jack Parker, Paul Simmons and Sean Smith.

There were no less than eight races from the Classic Touring Car Championship, with many classes amalgamating. The Pre 66 Classic Saloon & Historic Touring Cars saw Philip House pilot his Ford Lotus Cortina to a brace of wins as Alan Greenhalgh and Roger Stanford rounded off the remaining podium positions, each taking a second and third place finish each.

Stephen Primett and Jim Mcloughlin shared the spoils in Pre 83 Group 1 Touring Cars whilst Dale Gent and his Subaru Impreza proved to be too much for the competition in both Classic & Historic Thunder Saloons & Blue Oval Saloon Series both races.

Outright wins also went the way of Ian Bower and Steven Barden in the combined Pre 93 Touring Cars, Pre 2003 Touring Cars & Pre 05 Production Saloon Cars races around the 2.1 mile layout.

Rounding out the action over the course of the weekend was two races from the DDMC Northern Saloon & Sports Car Championship, which boasted an entry list of more than 30 cars. Jeff Wilson piloted his Lotus Elise to both victories.

For the full classification of results from all championships, click here.

Trio of BARC championships descend on Croft

The British Automobile Racing Club makes its first visit of the season to Croft Circuit this weekend (April 21/22) with a trio of championships set to entertain fans trackside.

Scorching weather is set to match the on-track action, which is made up of a diverse variety of categories and machines.

Making their first visit to North Yorkshire since 2007, the Pickup Truck Racing Championship returns to Croft for the second chapter of their season.

Former British Touring Car Championship racer Lea Wood leads the pack into weekend after scoring a dominant pair of victories at Brands Hatch at the start of the month. Defending champion Scott Bourne however is hot on his heels and will be keen to strike back

Add into the mix a host of wily veterans and fresh faces that make up this year’s grid and it is set to be a frenetic weekend of racing from the iconic line-up of trucks.

Iconic is a word that can be strongly linked to the Classic Touring Car Racing Club, with multiple classes and a raft of diverse cars set to take to the track during both days too.

Grids for Pre-93, Pre-96, Pre-03 and Pre-05 as well as the Pre-83, Thunder and BOSS make up the grid for this championship, ensuring that there is something for everyone no matter the age.

A total of eight races will be run over the course of both days with notable names such as Stephen Primett in his Ford Escort Mk1, Richard Askham in his Jaguar XJR and Dale Gent in his Subaru Impreza, to name just a few, to keep an eye on.

Rounding out the BARC flavour is the Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres. In what is their third event of the 2018 campaign, the action from the 5/8 scale has once again produced edge-of-the-seat thrills up to now, and that theme is set to continue this weekend.

Five races and a grid in excess of 30 cars will do battle around the Darlington-based venue. Two wins at Brands Hatch, paired with his consistency so far, sees Miles Rudman lead the series however he has a host of contenders hot on his heels.

Multiple and reigning champion John Mickel, Ben Power, Steve Whitelegg and Jack Parker are just a few drivers that will be in contention for outright honours.

Darlington and District Motor Club’s capacity-entry Northern Sports and Saloon Car Championship will also feature at their local track with a majority of the grid made up of local drivers to Croft in a host of different cars, ranging from historic sports cars to modern-day Touring Cars.

Scotsman Andrew Morrison leads the series after Oulton Park in his Seat Leon TCR just ahead of former champion Mike Cutt from York in his rapid BMW M3.

Practice gets underway at 9.30 on Saturday with ten races starting at 12.10. Sunday’s action commences at 12.00 with another nine races to round off a bumper weekend of action.

Adult admission is just £11.00 on both days in advance or £15.00 on the day with accompanied children aged 15 and under admitted FREE on both days. A weekend ticket costs £15 in advance or £25 on the gate. There is also FREE car parking and FREE paddock access.

Spring Truckfest awaits BARC categories at Pembrey

Pembrey Circuit is gearing up for a blockbuster two days April 21/22) of on-track action as the British Automobile Racing Club descends on South Wales.

In what is the first of several visits the Club and its championships will make to the venue over the course of the season, a bumper crowd is expected to witness a diverse range of machines battle it out in what is set be a scorching weekend.

Topping the bill is the BTRA Truck Racing Championship, which hits the track for the second time this year. Producing a memorable opening event at Brands Hatch at the start of the month, a bumper entry list in both Divisions 1 and 2 is set to

Division 1 sees a host of former champions all vying for early supremacy as they chase down reigning champion Ryan Smith. Submitting a late entry to the season-opener, Smith claimed a hat-trick of victories to springboard himself to the summit of the points and will be keen to build on that this weekend.

Stuart Oliver, David Jenkins and Mat Summerfield lead the charge to dethrone Smith and all are more than capable of doing so.

In Division 2, five podiums – three of them being victories, sees Luke Garrett as the early pace-setter however he too will have his work cut out as challenges come from all angles. John Powell, Steve Powell and Simon Cole are just a few of the drivers that be keen to topple Garrett from the summit.

Continuing to grow in stature year-on-year, the Hyundai Coupe Cup will looking to build on its burgeoning success as they also hit the track for the second time this season.

Billed as one of the cheapest and easiest ways to go motor racing, the saloon-based series once again boasts another bumper entry list this weekend with the likes of Steve Kite, Alex Cursley and Michael Evans as notable names to look out for.

The Max5 Racing Championship roars into life after a lengthy off-season. Split into three classes, the championship is once again is open to Mk1, Mk3 and Mk4 Mazda MX5’s and all at a cost effective price, making it easier than ever to go racing in the UK these days.

Mathew Tidmarsh, Josh Malin, Andrew Pretorius, Lee Hollin and Paul Roddison were just a few of the drivers that shined last year and are back to do it all over again this season to keep an eye on.

Fans will be able to also see racing from the Welsh Racing Drivers Association and Mini Se7en/Miglia Championship as well.

Tickets are available to purchase on the gate from £15 per day with children 14 and under going free when accompanied by a paying adult. For more information, head to www.pembreycircuit.co.uk or call 01554 891042.

Rockingham serves up BARC weekend to remember

It was all-out action at Rockingham this past weekend (April 14/15) as the British Automobile Racing Club produced a blockbuster two days of racing, with a host of championships coming to the fore.

On what was the first of what are set to be many visits that the Club will make to the Corby circuit over the course of the 2018 campaign, wheel-to-wheel edge-of-the-seat thrills were on order from the get-go.

The Dunlop Endurance Championship roared into life for a new season with another jaw-dropping array of cars and drivers making up the entry list. In the shorter 50-minute sprint race, Richard Neary powered his Mercedes AMG GT GT3 to victory ahead of the Ferrari 458 GT3 pairing of David Mason and Ross Wylie.

Neary notched a second sprint race win later in the day as the longer two-hour endurance race began to unfold. Following a total of 79 laps being completed, Andreas Demetriou and Luke Williams of Black Mamba Racing stormed to take the chequered flag, a mere three seconds ahead of the KTM X-Bow duo of Mike McCollum and Sean Cooper.

Ben Palmer continued his dominance of the Michelin Clio Cup Series, making it four wins from four races with another double at Rockingham. Living up the mantel of defending champion, Palmer once again swept his way to the top step of the podium in both races, further strengthening his position at the top of the points. The road class saw Nic Harrison win twice too.

The Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship saw similar levels of dominance with Gus Burton propelling himself to the top of the point’s standings after notching two wins.

In the Junior Saloon Car Championship, Joel Wren staked his claim as a credible title contender with a double of his own. In what turned out to be another frenetic weekend for the Citroen Saxo category, Wren made a lightening start in race one to take a commanding lights-to-flag victory.

Despite finishing second on the road in race two, Wren was declared the winner following a post-race exclusion for Ben Kasperczak, making it a dream weekend for him. Kasperczak picked up a rostrum finisher in the opener with Steven Chandler. Frankie Taylor and Charlotte Birch meanwhile scored silverware in race two.

Scott Kendall and Nevan Kirkpatrick shared the spoils in the Mighty Minis Championship whilst the Lancaster Insurance MG Owners Club Championship saw two wins go the way of Lee Sullivan in his MG ZR.

The curtain lifted on a new season for the Classic VW Cup with a variety of different models from the German brand doing battle. In what proved to be two thrilling encounters, Daniel Rose and Ken Lark proved to be in a league of their own, with Rose narrowly getting the better of Lark in his Golf to take both wins.

Rounding out the action at Rockingham was the new-for-2018 BARC Saloon Series, which also encompassed the Dream Automotive Honda VTEC Challenge. Open to all manner of saloon cars, the latest series to align itself with the Club enjoyed a strong first showing.

Robert Burkinshaw claimed race honours both in the overall and the VTEC Challenge classifications whilst Alistair Lindsey and Jacob Carter took a win apiece in the BARC Saloons classification.

For the full race results from every championship, click here.

Cadwell Park awaits three BARC championships

The British Automobile Racing Club heads to Cadwell Park this weekend (April 14/15) for a high-octane two days of wheel-to-wheel action.

Renowned for its undulation and the unique challenge that it presents to drivers and teams alike, three BARC championships are set to duke it out.

Following on from their opening event at Oulton Park, the APL Health Caterham Graduates Championship are back in action with it all to play for across all classes. Amalgamating grids once again, spectators will see plenty of the one-make series with the battle for supremacy

In the Classics class, reigning champion Graeme Smith enjoyed a dream start to his year with a dominant double at the season-opener and he will be keen to build on his recent success as the likes of Peter Tattersall and Marc Noaro bid to close the gap.

Jamie Winrow will be one to watch as he leads the way in the SigMax category whilst Lee Collins and Declan Dolan will undoubtedly be out to continue their reigns at the top of the Sigma and Mega class standings as well.

The CNC Heads Sports/Saloon Car Championship also kicked off their 2018 campaign at Oulton Park last month and continues this weekend. Run by the BARC’s North Western Centre, another bumper entry list, packed with a diverse range of cars, has been confirmed for rounds three and four.

Triumphing at the curtain-raiser, 2016 champion Paul Rose heads the 28-car line-up this weekend and will be focused on extending his early points lead.

James Auckland, Steve Harris, Guy Carter and Stephen Keenan are just some of the drivers that fans can expect to take the fight to Rose in his Saker.

Whilst the aforementioned championships have already had one event under their belts, the 2CV parts.com Classic Racing Championship launches into life for another season this weekend, with Cadwell Park providing a fitting backdrop.

Always a popular sight wherever they compete, the one-make tin top category has been producing great racing for more than two decades now and that trait is set to continue this year too. Running a pair of sprint races as well as a two-hour endurance race on Sunday, there will be no shortage of drama on track from the 2CVs.

Having won back-to-back titles, Lien Davies will have his sights firmly set on making it a hat-trick of titles however the likes of Ainslie Bousefield, Sandro Proietti and Nick Crispin, all of whom had their moments last year, will be keen to overhaul the defending champion.

Rounding out the action will be a host of high-speed, frenetic encounters from British Superkarts.

Bumper two days of action lie ahead at Rockingham

Rockingham is set for a blockbuster weekend (April 14/15) as the British Automobile Racing Club as a host of championships descend on the Corby venue for two days of flat-out action.

Marking the first of several visits the Club will make to the circuit during the course of the 2018 season, fans are set to be treated to a diverse range of pulsating races over the course of the event.

Boasting a variety of jaw-dropping machinery, Britcar’s Dunlop Endurance Championship is back for another season and the curtain will raise on the 2018 campaign at Rockingham.

With marques such as Ginetta, Ferrari, Porsche, Radical and BMW, to name a few, being represented on the grid, there is something for everyone as the championship roars into life with a 50-minute sprint race and two hour endurance encounter.

The Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship continues at Rockingham with rounds three and four taking place. A four-car grid will duke it out this weekend with Nicholas Reeve the man everyone is chasing after enjoying a dream debut at the season-opener.

Bagging both victories, Reeve and the Specialized Motorsport squad enter the event as the ones to beat however Lorcan Hanafin, Louis Doyle and Gus Burton will all be hoping to topple the youngster.

There will be tin top action for drivers aged 14 to 17 in the Junior Saloon Car Championship this weekend too. Renowned for how cost effective it is and giving drivers the perfect stepping stone from karting, the JSCC has long been a proving ground for racers to go on to big and better things.

With some familiar names and returning faces making up the class of 2018 this year, it is all to play for however the early title contender is Ben Kasperczak, who bagged a pair of wins at Silverstone in late March. Whilst the likes of Jemma Moore, Tony Rodriguez and others will be aiming to beat the rapid youngster, Kasperczak sits in the box seat as it stands.

Reigning Michelin Clio Cup Series champion Ben Palmer finds himself in a similar position too after coming off the back of two wins at Silverstone. Securing a late deal to be on the grid, Palmer asserted his dominance early on and will be a favourite for sure at Rockingham.

The Lancaster Insurance MG Owner’s Club Championship is another series that is hitting the track for a second time this season at the weekend. Bringing together some of the most iconic cars that the illustrious brand has produced over countless decades, there is something for everyone during

Iconic is one word to describe the Mini brand and in the Mighty Mini Championship, the popular car is celebrated with edge-of-the-seat thrills ’n’ spills. Pitting the Mighty and Super Mighty classes together on the same grid, wheel-to-wheel battles are the norm with notable names such as Scott Kendall and Jo Polley being drivers to look out for.

Capping off what is set to be a frenetic two days of racing this weekend is the BARC Saloon Series, Honda VTEC Challenge and Classic VW Cup. Sharing grids throughout Sunday, these trio of categories are set to provide some of the best saloon races around, with a diverse range of cars and models going head-to-head with each other.

TOCA test offers BTCC teaser as Thruxton prepares for top-line touring car action

Thruxton welcomed the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship to Hampshire yesterday as the majority of the grid took the opportunity to rack up the miles ahead of their competitive return to the UK’s fastest race circuit, 19-20 May.

The BTCC celebrates its 60th, Diamond Jubilee, anniversary this year and the country’s premier motor racing series has already shown signs that it will be another vintage, and fiercely competitive campaign after a storming opening race weekend at Brands Hatch – with nine different drivers making the podium, three different winners and 10 marques represented in the standings’ top ten.

Thruxton itself celebrates its 50thAnniversary, and the beloved circuit, affectionately referred to as the Hampshire Speedbowl, always yields an unparalleled weekend’s action. Its flat-out characteristics are so unique that TOCA runs an annual test-day for the BTCC and its support series – Renault UK Clio Cup, the Ginetta championships and the F4 British Championship – ensuring all involved are up to speed ahead of their return in five weeks’ time.

Twenty-five of the BTCC’s finest drivers jumped at the chance to rack up the laps (over 1,100 in all on the day), among those, incumbent champion Ashley Sutton (Adrian Flux Subaru Racing) and his team-mate – BTCC legend Jason Plato, Halfords Yuasa Racing’s triple title-winner Matt Neal and Dan Cammish, plus past champs Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan in the West Surrey Racing BMWs.

At the end of the day it was Sutton atop the timesheets, commenting later that evening that his heart rate had finally returned to normal levels after the high-speed Hampshire test!

“That was unexpected, I’ll be honest,” said Sutton. “It’s been a fast day in general and everyone’s been quick. We’ve come here looking for track time and I think we’ve found a few key things. It’s been a general test, not just a Thruxton test.

“We hadn’t done mileage prior to Season Launch at Donington Park, then Brands Hatch later that week but that was rained off. We’ve come to make up time on the others and we’ve achieved some key things and we hope some of those will carry over to Donington.”

Between the two sessions, eight drivers ran inside 2017’s BTCC qualifying lap record time set by the Honda Civic Type R of Matt Neal, so all signs are pointing to a fastest-ever race weekend come May.

Parts of Thruxton’s stunning new £2 million state-of-the-art hospitality facility, The Thruxton Centre, will be open for business by the time the BTCC makes its entry ahead of an official opening at 12:00 midday on Sunday 3 June amid a weekend of 50thAnniversary celebrations. Highlights there include 15 special races as well as high-speed demonstrations from Williams’ 1983 FW08C and other iconic racing cars and bikes. There will be appearances, too, from a number of high-profile guests including Murray Walker and Nigel Mansell.

“It’s always a delight to welcome Britain’s biggest championship on four wheels back to Thruxton,” said Thruxton Group Managing Director, Bill Coombs. “It’s a series that continually produces a fantastic weekend’s racing, with 32 cars and some of the best tin-top protagonists around throwing up a real treat. The test yesterday gave us a little glimpse of what’s to come – it’s going to be a quick one this year, that’s for sure.

“Having had a keen eye on its opening race weekend a fortnight ago, it looks like it’ll be an even more fascinating prospect around the quick stuff here come May. I wouldn’t dare try and pick a winner!

“The track itself is a favourite of many of the drivers, it’s a fast and flowing test of balance, bravery and poise plus a healthy dollop of slipstreaming!

“For 2018, in our 50thAnniversary year, we’re extremely proud to be able to open The Thruxton Centre – our brand-new, top-of-the-line facility comprises a restaurant and bar, exhibition spaces, function rooms, hosting and hospitality suites and a spectacular viewing terrace.

“Parts of the centre will be open for use at the BTCC race weekend but its official opening takes place over the weekend of 2/3 June – as part of a special meeting commemorating our golden anniversary.”

Advance tickets for the BTCC’s visit, 19-20 May, are available from £12, with weekend passes with paddock access running to just £40. Saturday grandstand seats are an additional £5. Accompanied children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Action aplenty on opening TOCA support package weekend

The TOCA support package was back in business at Brands Hatch this past weekend (April 7/8) with five championships kicking off their 2018 campaigns.

Once again competing alongside the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, there was high-drama throughout each category as they battled challenging conditions across both days.

In the Renault UK Clio Cup, spoils were shared between two title favourites. Multiple champion Paul Rivett showcased his experience in the opening race of the weekend, only after making contact with Max Coates early on.

Coming off the better of the two, Rivett powered away from the pack to the take a memorable victory. Behind him, the wounded Coates was unable to hold of the advances of James Colburn and Daniel Rowbottom, both of whom rounded out the podium.

Coates was the clear race winner in a wet race two, taking control from the start before storming into a lead he would ultimately never lose. Behind him though the tremendous battle for the remaining rostrum spots were decided as Rivett and youngster Jack McCarthy recovered from early struggles to join Coates in lifting silverware.

The Porsche Carrera Cup GB produced two different winners as well, with Dino Zamparelli and George Gamble taking a win apiece. Off the back of clinching pole position, Zamparelli asserted himself as one to watch this year with a dominant display in the curtain-raiser ahead of Tio Ellinas and Lewis Plato.

Plato had been on course to take race two honours until a mistake cost him, handing Gamble top spot on his first weekend in the series. Joining him on the podium was Ellinas and Zamparelli, who left the Kent circuit as championship leader.

The Ginetta Junior Championship delivered its usual mix of thrills ’n’ spills in true style, setting up what is set to be another fascinating campaign.

Last year’s scholarship winner Adam Smalley entered the season as one of the drivers to watch and he backed up his pre-season promise by grabbing the early advantage in the championship standings.

Claiming pole position in qualifying, the Elite Motorsport driver bagged victory in race one ahead of Ruben Del Sarte and Fin Green before then finishing hot on the heels of race two victor Luke Browning.

It is set to be a wide-open year in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup too with Charlie Ladell cementing his status as an early title favourite. The Rob Boston Racing was in imperious form around the 1.2 mile Indy circuit, taking two wins, with Carl Boardley capping off the weekend with a win of his own.

Rounding out the action in front a bumper trackside crowd was the British F4 Championship, which saw Ayrton Simmons enjoy a near perfect weekend, scoring a brace of wins. Sebastian Priaulx topped the rostrum in the remaining race.

For the full classification of results across all championships, click here.

BTCC delivers memorable season-opener at Brands Hatch

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship kicked off the 2018 season with three high-octane, edge-of-the-seat races at Brands Hatch this past weekend (April 7/8).

Months of anticipation, hype and pre-season testing came to a head at the Kent circuit as the series’ 60th anniversary year roared into life.

Boasting a capacity entry list, the first qualifying session of the year brought with it its own drama as Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish dipped under the lap record to score provisional pole, before then losing his best time due to failing to stop for a red flag upon entering the pit lane.

That promoted Jack Goff to the top of the times and the WIX Racing with Eurotech driver was unchallenged at the summit, going on to record his third consecutive pole position.

Race day saw wet conditions greet teams and spectators alike, further adding to the opening round spectacle. Blasting off the line from the front row, Goff converted pole position into a lead that he would ultimately never lose in the tricky conditions.

Fellow front row start Sam Tordoff saw his return to the series cut short as he struggled with wheel spin off the line and was then caught up in a collision at the end of the lap, ending his charge.

At the front, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan settled into second and third, the latter dispatching Cammish early on. Turkington soon began to hunt down Goff’s Civic Type R but the Independent driver drove a near-perfect race, defending where he need to and ultimately going on to take victory.

With conditions becoming ever-more difficult to judge, race two turned out to be one of the classic BTCC races. A majority of the front runners elected to stick with the Dunlop wet tyres whilst several further back decided to gamble and run the Dunlop soft option compound.

Turkington’s chances of glory ended before the race even started as his BMW went into limp mode, forcing him to pit and dropping a lap down. Team-mate Jordan launched his 1-Series into the lead from third with Goff and Ingram following.

The trio enjoyed a stellar scrap with Ingram leapfrogging the 2013 champion; further back reigning champion Ashley Sutton slotted into fourth and soon began closing on the top three.

Whilst conditions continued to improve and lap times dropped, it became apparent that the race was only just beginning as those on slicks began to carve their way through. Senna Proctor and Aiden Moffat were the big movers, lapping more than three seconds quicker than everyone else at one stage.

On lap 22 of 27, Proctor and Moffat were on the back of the leaders and took no time in dispatching them. Jake Hill, Ollie Jackson and Tom Boardman pounced just a few corners later and it was soon a five-car battle for the lead.

For Moffat, his aspirations of topping the rostrum came to an end after contact with Proctor sent him into the barrier, however he was able to continue. Proctor meanwhile held his nerve to score his and Power Maxed Racing’s maiden victory in the BTCC, with Hill and Jackson scoring their first podiums too.

Race three didn’t hold the same drama but it did produce another three different podium finishers as Ingram continued his Brands Hatch love affair with a seventh career victory. Adam Morgan and Rob Austin rounded off the podium, scoring an emotional podium in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Following the opening weekend of the season, Ingram holds a slender three point championship lead heading to Donington Park with Goff and Morgan hot on his heels.

For the full classification of results, click here.

Rounds four, five and six of 2018 take place at the Leicestershire circuit on April 28/29.