Half-a-century on from the first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race to be held at Croft – known then as the British Saloon Car Championship – the UK’s biggest motor sport series is speeding back to the popular North Yorkshire circuit next weekend (23/24 June), with a quartet of homegrown drivers all primed to shine.
Yorkshire is the most populous county on the current BTCC grid, with four of the 32 high-calibre protagonists hailing from there – and all of them potential race-winners next weekend.
Honda rookie Dan Cammish (Leeds) is the best-placed of the four in the championship standings approaching the midway stage of the season, having taken a brace of podium finishes from the opening 12 races as he adapts to the cut-and-thrust of what is arguably the world’s most fiercely-disputed tin-top series. The 29-year-old – a two-time Porsche Carrera Cup GB Champion – would love nothing more than to reach the top step for the first time on home soil.
“Racing a touring car around Croft is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Cammish acknowledged. “It’s great to finally be in the main show! I’ve driven round Croft a lot – it’s a fast circuit where you really get a sense of speed, and I’ve gone well there in the past – but I’ve never driven the Honda there before. Hopefully we can do a good job for the home crowd, and I see no reason why we can’t pick up some very solid points.
“Being in Yorkshire, I’m sure I’ll have a fair few supporters and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s definitely a bit of home advantage, and you do get a real kick out of knowing the crowd’s behind you – the Croft paddock is always a great place to be.
“This year is a very steep learning curve for me, but I’ve been in the mix at every race so let’s see what comes. I’ll give it absolutely everything to make sure that I get the best out of both myself and the car – and I hope everybody has a great day out.”
Right behind Cammish in the points table are Senna Proctor (Driffield) and Sam Tordoff (Bradford). The former – in his second season in the series – claimed his breakthrough BTCC victory in a dramatic wet/dry race at Brands Hatch earlier this year, while the latter is a former championship runner-up. Although plagued by ill-fortune since the start of the 2018 campaign, Tordoff has the best qualifying record of anybody in the field and both men are sure to be leading contenders next weekend.
“I’m looking forward to going to Croft,” enthused Vauxhall young gun Proctor. “I love the circuit and always receive a lot of home support there, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be fighting up at the front. It is a rear wheel-drive track historically, but a front wheel-drive car won a race there last year – so that’s what we’re looking to do this year!
“It’s a real drivers’ circuit; you’ve got to push flat-out through the first two sectors and just hold your breath, before refining it all for the last sector, making sure you clip all the apexes and above all remaining patient. There’s obviously a bit more pressure than usual going to my home race meeting, but nothing I can’t handle and I’m feeling more confident than ever and working harder than ever to keep this dream going and keep the results coming.”
“I’ve got fond memories of Croft,” echoed Ford star Tordoff. “Last time I was there with BMW, we had a fabulous set of results. It’s always great when you finish on the podium at your home event, and I’m hoping to do so again this year in the Focus RS. I really think we can be up at the front. We’ve been blighted by bad luck so far this season but it’s slowly coming round our way, and in terms of one-lap qualifying pace, we are as quick as anybody.
“Croft is a circuit with a very tricky, technical section coupled with a really quick sequence of balls-out corners round the back, which makes it a tough lap to master and invariably generates exciting racing. It’s really abrasive as well, which means tyre management is key and it’s certainly an event I enjoy. The local support always helps, and with a lot of family coming, it just feels like home.”
The fourth Yorkshireman in the mix is Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield), who only returned to the BTCC last weekend at Oulton Park following a year’s absence. The last time the 26-year-old competed at Croft, he put his Honda Civic Type R second on the grid – and now he is set to return in the same car, albeit fielded by a different team.
“I love going to Croft,” he asserted. “It’s my home track and I always get a warm welcome there. It’s where I made my BTCC debut back in 2010, and then to qualify on the front row two years ago was really special.
“It was disappointing not to be able to race at Croft last season, but it’s great to be back and with such a potent package as the Honda Civic Type R and no ballast on-board, I’m confident of being able to challenge right up at the sharp end again. Bring it on!”
Tickets to the event are available priced at just £15 for Saturday, 23 June (BTCC Qualifying), £30 for Sunday, 24 June (BTCC Race Day) or £38 for the full weekend. Accompanied children aged 15 and under are admitted free of charge. Pre-orders can be made online at www.croftcircuit.co.uk/racing/btcc or over the phone (01325 721815) up to and including Tuesday, 19 June. After this date, tickets can still be purchased on the gate.