The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship brought the curtain down on its Diamond Jubilee season in style at Brands Hatch this weekend with three dramatic races and champions being crowned.
Having already proven to be a record-breaking campaign, the BTCC’s 60th Anniversary was signed off in typically thrilling fashion as Colin Turkington beat season-long rival Tom Ingram to lift the coveted title for a third time.
Turkington’s championship triumph was just half the story however on a weekend that saw the series showcase why it is one of the leading categories in the world.
Qualifying kicked off proceedings with the all-important battle for pole position set to be critical in the title battle. Following a frenetic session, Brett Smith topped the timesheet as the clock ticked to zero, handing him his maiden BTCC pole position.
Behind the Eurotech Racing driver were a further four Honda Civic Type R’s as the underlined their superiority around the Grand Prix layout. Of the championship protagonists, Turkington could only manage 17th whilst Ingram languished in 19th.
Halfords Yuasa Racing wild prove to be the dominant force on race day however as they stormed to a pair of 1-2 finishes, with Dan Cammish finally scoring a breakthrough victory and with it becoming the 17th different race winner of the season.
As the lights went out for race one, Smith held the lead off the start but soon found himself at the mercy of Cammish who made his move at Clearways. Triple champion Neal followed soon after and that was to be how it finished at the chequered flag.
Drama was to follow afterwards though as Cammish was handed a 30-second time penalty after being adjudged to have made a false start. Following an appeal by the team, Cammish was later reinstated as the race winner meaning the original result stood.
For Turkington and Ingram, a handful of points for both saw the Team BMW driver extend his advantage and put him on the cusp of championship glory heading into race two.
Cammish produced a carbon copy performance in race two, despite being ladened with 75kgs of success ballast as he led home Neal for another Honda 1-2. Things were far less comfortable for Neal however as he fended off Andrew Jordan for a majority of the race.
In the title battle, Turkington found himself in the thick of the action and contact with Dan Lloyd at Paddock Hill Bend was shortly followed by a trip through the gravel trap sent him tumbling down the order.
As that happened, Ingram’s target became clear – he had to finish on the podium to keep the championship alive. Hustling his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota into fourth, Ingram tried everything he could to muscle his way past Jordan in the closing laps but was unable to do so, meaning Turkington secured an unassailable lead and was crowned champion.
The final race of the weekend and the season proved to be a fitting end to the BTCC’s Diamond Jubilee as outgoing champion Ashley Sutton and Josh Cook engaged in a ding-dong battle for the honours.
Going bumper-to-bumper for a majority of the race and dicing for the lead, the pair kept fans on the edge of their seats and they were soon out of them as Sutton drew alongside Cook on the run to the line – snatching victory by a mere 0.032 of a second.
Rob Austin rounded out the final podium of the season as he finished third in his HMS Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
As Turkington celebrated becoming a three-time BTCC champion, BMW and West Surrey Racing also successfully retained their BTCC Manufacturer/Constructor Championship and BTCC Teams Championship respectively.
Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport did the same in the Independents’ categories whilst the Toyota Avensis driver was also the winner of the Dunlop Forever Forward award for the most overtakes over the course of the season.
Capping off the list of title winners was two-time race winner Cammish who lifted the Jack Sears Trophy.
For the final championship standings as well as the full classification of results from the weekend, click here.