Cook homing in on Thruxton glory as locals tipped to shine

Thruxton is preparing to welcome the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) on 19-20 May, with new race-winner Josh Cook primed as the local driver to watch at the forefront of what is being billed as a ‘changing of the guard’ in Britain’s top motor sport series.

In its 60th anniversary year, the BTCC’s Diamond Jubilee season is already shaping up to become one for the ages as the championship’s perennial favourites go into high-speed battle against the new wave of precocious talents enjoying success in Britain’s premier tin-top series.

It is a ‘revolution’ Cook from Bath finds himself at the heart of after claiming his maiden BTCC pole position and victory behind the wheel of his Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra last time out at Donington Park, in so doing lifting himself to third in the overall Drivers’ standings.

Buoyed by the prospect of following up his landmark weekend with another successful event at the Hampshire speedbowl, as Thruxton is affectionately known, Cook is convinced that local support has the power to carry him further on the crest of his current wave.

“It was fantastic to stand on top of the BTCC podium for the first time in my career and I cannot wait to experience that winning feeling again and again,” the 26-year-old commented. “Thruxton is an exhilarating circuit to race at and nothing would make me happier than to carry our momentum through to another great result. I will be giving it my all and I am sure the vocal home support for me and the team will be worth those extra tenths of a second.”

With the BTCC headlining an action-packed TOCA racing weekend, visitors will get their first proper look at the circuit’s brand new, industry-leading £2 million hospitality facility – The Thruxton Centre – ahead of its official opening by Nigel Mansell and Murray Walker on Sunday, 3 June amid a weekend of 50th Anniversary celebrations.

“I am looking forward to exploring the state-of-the-art Thruxton Centre,” Cook continued. “It is a brilliant new centrepiece for the circuit and one that represents an exciting future for this legendary venue.”

Cook’s burgeoning BTCC success comes as part of an unmistakable ‘youthful charge’ among some of the series’ up-and-coming participants, one that currently sees the top eight drivers in the standings average little more than 25 years of age.

Even so, there remains arguably no substitute for experience and few in the BTCC come as seasoned as fellow local favourite Rob Collard, the Frimley man seeking more silverware at Thruxton after a triumphant performance in front of a bumper crowd at the hugely popular Andover venue 12 months ago.

Competing in his 19th season of BTCC competition, Collard in the factory-backed Team BMW 125i M Sport has demonstrated some of his best form in recent years, finishing in the top five overall in both 2016 and 2017. He will be seeking to replicate his popular 2017 victory this weekend.

Armed with its striking new Civic Type R, Swindon-based Honda UK’s works team, Halfords Yuasa Racing, has enjoyed significant success at Thruxton over the years and is targeting a landmark first win for the latest-generation model with its accomplished driver pairing, BTCC veteran Matt Neal and rookie sensation Dan Cammish.

Fan favourite DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing will also strive for the top step at Thruxton with its all-new Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The Swindon team has re-introduced the iconic Italian marque to the BTCC for its first Thruxton appearance in more than a decade, HMS Racing hoping to hark back to Alfa Romeo’s iconic glory days when the Italian factory squad famously swept to the 1994 BTCC title with Gabriele Tarquini.

The RAF Falcons are additionally confirmed to perform their incredible display during Thruxton’s BTCC race meeting on Sunday, 20 May at approximately 10:15. More information can be found here

Tickets for the BTCC’s visit on 19-20 May can be purchased on the gate, priced at £16 for Saturday (qualifying) and £33 for Sunday (race day). Saturday grandstand seats are an additional £5. Accompanied children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge.