The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns to Thruxton Circuit this weekend (17/18 August) for its second high-speed visit of 2019, and local star Rob Collard has his sights set on podium celebrations at what he predicts to be another BTCC blockbuster show.
Collard might be one of the BTCC’s elder statesmen at 50 now, but the Hampshireman shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. That much was clear from his fourth-place finish amongst the 30 high-calibre contenders – some of the fastest drivers in the country – at Snetterton two weeks ago.
Indeed, Collard has 15 race wins to his name in the UK’s premier motorsport series – one of which came at Thruxton two years ago – and he sped to a top ten double on home soil earlier this season. Buoyed by his strong form last time out behind the wheel of his Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, the Eversley man is aiming to keep the ball rolling in front of family and friends this weekend.
“Thruxton is just a great circuit – one at which practically every driver looks forward to competing – and it’s fantastic that we have the opportunity to race there twice this year,” he enthused. “It’s probably actually the track I’ve driven the least in the UK due to limited testing opportunities, which makes it even more of a pleasure when we do get to drive there.
“It’s an undiluted challenge full of old-school charm – a really fast, flowing circuit that truly stretches drivers’ commitment and bravery to the limit, which ultimately is why we all do this. You also need to use your head as much as your right foot at Thruxton; its unique nature means that if you push too hard, too soon you will destroy your tyres in the first few laps – tyre preservation is equally as important as out-and-out speed. As we’ve seen in previous years at Thruxton, it really is never over until it’s over.
“It’s great having the local support behind me for the weekend, and Thruxton always generates exciting racing, with plenty of action at the Complex and Chicane in particular and fantastic viewing from the banking and on the big screens.
“We’ve struggled a bit for consistency this season and circumstances have conspired against us on occasion, but Snetterton offered more of a reflection of our true pace so hopefully we can keep that momentum going and score some good points. We were fast at Thruxton earlier in the year, and obviously it would be brilliant to reach the podium again on home soil.”
Alongside the headline-grabbing BTCC, a jam-packed schedule of high-octane support series – comprising the F4 British Championship, Ginetta Junior Championship, Renault UK Clio Cup, Ginetta GT4 SuperCup and Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the latter appearing at Thruxton for the first time in five years – will ensure the action remains red-hot from lights-out to chequered flag.
Off-track, there will also be a variety of activities around the venue including skid pan rides for all ages, an extensive display of Thruxton’s driving experience supercars and racing cars and a comprehensive trade village to explore. There will additionally be evening entertainment in the Thruxton Centre on both Friday and Saturday.
Tickets for the BTCC’s visit on 17/18 August can be purchased on the gate, starting at £17 for Saturday (qualifying) and £34 for Sunday (race day). Children aged 13-15 get in for £5 on Saturday and £10 on Sunday; accompanied children aged 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.
For further information or to buy tickets, visit thruxtonracing.co.uk/racing/btcc-aug or call 01264 882222.
For more information on Thruxton’s race meetings and driving experiences, visit www.thruxtonracing.co.uk