Pride of Yorkshire keen to steal the show in front of Croft faithful

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.

Thruxton gains second event as 2019 BTCC calendar is unveiled

Series organisers, TOCA, have confirmed the official calendar for the 2019 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – boasting a fresh look.

Comprising of 30 races spanning ten weekend’s across the length and breadth of the UK, Britain’s premier race series will once again dazzle thousands throughout the year.

The most notable change to the 2019 calendar sees Rockingham not included due to the impending sale of the facility not providing TOCA with sufficient clarity at the time of finalising the calendar.

In its place instead is a second event at Thruxton, which will add an August summer visit to its regular May date. Croft and Oulton Park have also changed berths in the order of events, the latter now following the annual trip to North Yorkshire.

Brands Hatch Indy will once again play host to the curtain-raiser on April 6/7 before the series moves on to Donington Park, Thruxton, Croft and Oulton Park. Following the traditional mid-season break, the action will resume at Snetterton before once again returning to Thruxton.

Knockhill, Silverstone and the iconic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit cap off the season, where a champion will be crowned.

2019 BTCC Calendar:

Rounds 1, 2 & 3 – Brands Hatch Indy – April 6/7

Rounds 4, 5 & 6 – Donington Park – April 27/28

Rounds 7, 8 & 9 – Thruxton – May 18/19

Rounds 10, 11 & 12 – Croft – June 15/16

Rounds 13, 14 & 15 – Oulton Park – June 29/30

Rounds 16, 17 & 18 – Snetterton – August 3/4

Rounds 19, 20 & 21 – Thruxton – August 17/18

Rounds 22, 23 & 24 – Knockhill – September 14/15

Rounds 25, 26 & 27 – Silverstone – September 28/29

Rounds 28, 29 & 30 – Brands Hatch GP – October 12/13

BTCC shines at Oulton Park as three new winners make their mark

Matt Simpson, Colin Turkington and Rob Collard took a win apiece as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship served up a scintillating three races at Oulton Park this past weekend (June 9/10).

In searing temperatures and a bumper crowd, Britain’s premier racing series saw three different drivers scaled the top step of the podium – taking the 2018 tally to nine victory from 12 races.

Qualifying saw history made as Simpson set a new lap record on his way to his first-ever BTCC pole position. Firing a warning shot in free practice after setting the pace, the Simpson Racing driver backed-up his front-running pace by setting a blistering time of 1:25.750 around the 2.23 mile Cheshire venue – a lap that would was ultimately never bettered.

Motorbase Performance also enjoyed a strong qualifying session as Sam Tordoff pipped team-mate Tom Chilton to second place whilst BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan rounded out the top four.

As the lights went out for the opening encounter of the weekend, Simpson launched his Honda Civic Type R into a lead that he ultimately would never lose. Controlling the pace, Simpson delivered a measured drive and despite coming under late pressure in the closing stages, he had enough in hand to score a popular breakthrough triumph.

Behind Simpson was the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus RS of Tom Chilton, who bagged his and the teams maiden rostrum finish of the year. The former Independents champion resisted a near race-long challenge from the BMW of Andrew Jordan to keep second place as Jordan capped the podium.

Unfortunately for Simpson he was unable to see if he could replicate his race one performance, forced to instead watch on from the sidelines as his race-winning machine underwent an engine change.

With everyone moving up a spot on the grid, Chilton blasted away from pole position and held off the early advances of Jordan as the field filed down The Avenue into Dentons. Further back there was action aplenty as Dan Cammish, Josh Cook, Aiden Moffat and Ashley Sutton were all caught up in an incident, Moffat and Cammish coming off worse out of the four.

Back at the front however all eyes were on Turkington as he made up places in no time at all, soon surging into second place. Producing a textbook pass on Chilton into Lodge corner, the double champion powered his BMW into the distance and on to an emotional first win of the season for both himself and West Surrey Racing.

Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal slipped past Chilton at Old Hall a couple of laps later but was unable to catch Turkington, settling for second whilst Chilton bagged a second podium of the day.

Race three saw Rob Austin drawn on pole position but there was to be drama further back as a multi-car accident brought the red flag out immediately. Coming together with Mike Bushell, the quartet of Tom Oliphant, Rory Butcher, Daniel Lloyd and Chris Smiley all saw their races come to a premature end – with substantial damage bestowing all of them.

On the restart, Austin was powerless to stop fellow front row starter Rob Collard from getting the jump on him off the line, setting into second place behind the West Surrey Racing pilot. Building up an early advantage, Collard soon gapped the Alfa Romeo driver and stamped his authority on the race.

Austin had looked on course for a second podium of the season but cruel fate was to strike as he slowed, forcing him to retire to the pits. That left West Surrey Racing to pick up a famous 1-2-3 finish as Jordan and Turkington followed Collard to a mammoth haul of silverware.

As a result of the weekend’s three races, Turkington leaves Oulton Park as the championship leader, 12 points ahead of Adam Morgan and Jack Goff.

For the full classification of results from all BTCC sessions over the course of the weekend, click here.

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championships heads to North Yorkshire next with Croft playing host to rounds 13, 14 and 15 on June 23/24 – marking the traditional halfway point of the season.

Advance tickets for the fifth meeting of the 2018 campaign are available until June 14, priced at just £11 for Saturday, £24 for Sunday and £33 for the full weekend. Head to the Croft Circuit website for more information.

BTCC heads to Oulton Park for latest chapter of 2018 season

Oulton Park awaits the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this weekend (June 9/10) with rounds 10, 11 and 12 set to write the latest chapter in what is becoming a fascinating battle for the biggest prize in UK motorsport.

With nine races down so far, there has been a changing of the guard in the BTCC this year with the next generation of youngsters taking the fight to the established names and so far prevailing.

Arriving at what is his and Ciceley Motorsport’s home event, Adam Morgan arrives at the Cheshire venue topping the championship standings for the first time in his career.

Two victories, the second coming last time out at Thruxton, sees Morgan hold a slender two point lead over fellow double race-winner Josh Cook – a revelation of sorts with Power Maxed Racing in the Vauxhall Astra.

Oulton Park is also home turf for Speedworks Motorsport and Tom Ingram, who together have made another lightening start to the season. Two wins and big points saw Ingram as the man to beat heading into Thruxton but an electrical issue left him to fight back on race day.

In the past both Ingram and Morgan have endured rocky rounds around the sweeping curves of Oulton Park, both will be hoping to turn their fortunes around this time.

Beyond the top three Jack Goff has been impressive in the WIX Racing with Eurotech Honda Civic Type R whilst many will be looking to see what Colin Turkington can achieve. Sitting fifth in the points, the West Surrey Racing driver was back on song at Thruxton and has an impressive record at Oulton Park.

Matt Neal and Senna Proctor have each scored a race win this season too and the pair will likely be in the mix towards the sharp end of the grid. Dan Cammish, reigning champion Ashley Sutton and Chris Smiley round out the top ten and will be keen to top the rostrum for the first time this year.

Last year Oulton Park marked the start of Sutton’s title assault and the aim will be to replicate that during this year’s trip to the picturesque circuit, both for himself and Adrian Flux Subaru Racing.

Beyond the top ten is a whole host of race-winning drivers that could easily be in the mix for victory this weekend. Fighting fit Andrew Jordan, his BMW team-mate Rob Collard, Motorbase Performance duo Tom Chilton and Sam Tordoff, as well as Aiden Moffat and Rob Austin lead the charge for the top ten and are more importantly free of success ballast heading into qualifying and race one.

Britain’s biggest motor sport series braced for colossal Croft challenge

Croft Circuit is preparing to welcome the UK’s leading motor sport series later this month, as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship speeds into North Yorkshire on 23/24 June – with local stars to the fore.

The BTCC is the biggest deal on the national racing scene, with 32 of the most talented drivers in the country taking to the wheel of cars that would not look out-of-place doing the weekly supermarket shop – albeit with a few more galloping horses underneath the bonnet.

These flame-spitting, 160mph monsters produce spectacular action wherever they go, and you can be assured that when the BTCC rolls into town, drama, entertainment and thrills ‘n’ spills are never far behind, particularly in a season as close and competitive as 2018 is turning out to be.

As the flagship event on Croft’s annual sporting calendar, the BTCC always draws a huge and enthusiastic crowd to the popular venue located just outside of Darlington, and they are richly rewarded with head-turning doorhandle-to-doorhandle duels from lights-out to chequered flag.

The Pride of Yorkshire will be well-represented on the grid, with four locally-born chargers all firmly in contention at the sharp end of the field. Vauxhall young gun Senna Proctor (Driffield) claimed his breakthrough victory in the 2018 curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch, while Honda new boy Dan Cammish (Leeds) arrived in the BTCC with an impressive reputation and has thus far lived up to that billing and then some.

Former championship runner-up Sam Tordoff (Bradford) has rejoined the fray this season in a Ford Focus RS, and a front row start and three consecutive fourth-place finishes at Thruxton suggest he will be a force to be reckoned with on home turf. An even more recent returnee is Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield), who qualified second the last time he raced at Croft so will certainly be one to watch as he takes to the track in the potent Honda Civic Type R.

Indeed, with one-eighth of the field hailing from ‘God’s Own County’, Yorkshire currently boasts more BTCC drivers than any other area of the country – all the more reason to come along to Croft on 23/24 June to cheer the locals on.

A raft of support series will add to the appeal, from the Ginetta Junior Championship for precociously gifted 14-to-17-years-olds to the Renault UK Clio Cup for tomorrow’s touring car heroes, the Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup and the F4 British Championship, where fans may just spot a future Formula 1 driver or two.

Better still, Croft’s popular open-paddock policy means spectators can get up close and personal with the stars of the show, while Sunday morning’s traditional Pit-Lane Walkabout offers the opportunity to snap some selfies and add to autograph books.

“The BTCC is a major draw wherever it goes, and the series’ annual visit to Croft is the only chance for fans in this part of the country to enjoy a taste of its high-octane thrills, so this really is an event not to be missed,” enthused Circuit Manager, Tracey Morley. “Better still, with such a high chance of ‘home’ success, our four-strong local contingent are sure to receive rapturous support.

“The drivers are unanimous in their appreciation for the challenge that Croft presents, as one of the most technically demanding circuits on the calendar – and it is that same layout that generates fantastic racing and irresistible action. It really is a fantastic event for the whole family to enjoy.”

Advance tickets are available until 14 June, priced at just £11 for Saturday, 23 June (BTCC Qualifying), £24 for Sunday, 24 June (BTCC Race Day) or £33 for the full weekend. Tickets purchased after 14 June or on the gate will cost slightly more. Accompanied children aged 15 and under are admitted free of charge.

For further information or to book tickets, please visit www.croftcircuit.co.uk/racing/btcc or call 01325 721815.

BTCC shootout set for Goodwood Festival of Speed as part of 60th Anniversary celebrations

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will continue its Diamond Jubilee celebrations at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July, with a thrilling BTCC shootout set to be staged.

In-keeping with the series’ 60th Anniversary, the four-day event (July 12-15) will see some of the current stars of the championship duke it out for bragging rights on the infamous Hill.

A shootout was last held at Goodwood in 2016 with 2013 champion Andrew Jordan emerging victorious at the wheel of his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST.

Jordan will return to compete once again this year, however this time he will be at the wheel of his West Surrey Racing BMW 125i M-Sport.

Also returning to the Festival will be three-time champion Matt Neal, who will pilot his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R, and Adam Morgan, who will drive his race-winning Ciceley Motorsport with MAC Tools Mercedes Benz A-Class.

Power Maxed Racing will be in action too with their rapid Vauxhall Astra to be driven either by Josh Cook or Senna Proctor. There will also be Festival of Speed debuts for Tom Ingram and Rob Austin as they drive their respective machines in the shootout too.

Alongside the BTCC shootout will be a celebration of some of the most iconic saloon cars to grace the UK’s top venues down the years.

Those attending will be able to see the iconic Alfa Romeo 155, Mini Cooper S, Volvo 850 Estate and the car which took Jack Sears to championship glory in the series’ inaugural year in 1958, the Austin A105.

In addition to the BTCC shootout, this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is set to mark its own Silver Jubilee – with a feast of all things automotive set to dazzle the bumper crowd that is expected to attend.

Matt Neal, Josh Cook & Adam Morgan triumph at sun-baked Thruxton

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship produced another memorable weekend (May 19/20) of racing as Matt Neal, Josh Cook and Adam Morgan stormed to victory at a sun-baked Thruxton.

Marking the third stop on the calendar for the series, following visits to Brands Hatch and Donington Park, the high-speed Hampshire venue proved to be a different challenge altogether for teams and drivers.

Qualifying proved to be a scorching affair as Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Neal stormed to his second pole position at the Hampshire venue in as many years, setting a new lap record along the way. Piloting his Honda Civic Type R to a best time of 1:15.612, the triple champion was joined at the top of the times by Colin Turkington, Brett Smith, Dan Cammish and Senna Proctor.

The wave of young taking it to the established names were hot on the heels of the former champions however with Brett Smith and Dan Cammish, both in Honda’s, locked out the second row of the grid.

With a bumper crowd soaking up the searing temperatures on race day, the opening 16-lap encounter proved to be a tense affair as Neal converted his pole position into a lights-to-flag victory. Launching off the front row, Neal held off the advances of Turkington as the field stream into the Complex for the first time.

Holding top spot, Neal began to get his head down and build up a gap to the chasing Turkington, who was unable to make any inroads into the 51-year-old’s lead. Further behind Cammish held off a charging Andrew Jordan, who ultimately succumbed to the chasing pack, with Sam Tordoff dispatching him.

Neal ultimately went on to clinch victory to become the sixth different winner of the season, with Turkington and Cammish rounding off the rostrum.

Race two proved to be all about Power Maxed Racing’s Cook, who produced a sensational drive to notch his second win of the year. Starting ninth and carrying minimal success ballast, the star of Donington Park showcased his talents once again as he scythed his way through the field.

Latching himself onto the back of the top five within a matter of laps, Cook’s march to the front continued as he threaded his way past Tordoff and Neal, pulling a bold move around the outside of the latter heading into the final chicane.

Soon hot on the heels of Turkington, Cook pulled off a near identical move on the BMW to take the lead, with raptures of applause breaking out on the bankings of his home circuit. Stretching his lead in the closing stages, the Vauxhall Astra driver held his nerve to score his second win in as many events, with Turkington and Neal finishing second and third.

For the reverse grid encounter, Adam Morgan was drawn onto pole position and the Mercedes Benz A-Class driver took full advantage on a circuit which has been a happy hunting ground for him in the past.

Blasting off the line, the Ciceley Motorsport racer commanded proceeding’s as he led from lights-to-flag, starving off an early challenge from Senna Proctor. As Morgan made his escape, the real mover to watch was WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Jack Goff. Starting eighth, the Honda driver had strong pace and wasted little time in fighting his way towards the front.

Despite not being able to do anything about the formidable Morgan, who made it back-to-back race three wins, Goff ended the day with a second place with Proctor gave Power Maxed Racing even more to celebrate in third.

Virtue of his second win of the year, Morgan has now moved to the championship summit, holding a slender one-point lead over Josh Cook, whilst Tom Ingram is a further ten back.

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

The 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship resumes on June 9/10, with rounds 10, 11 and 12 taking place at Oulton Park.

Fun in the sun at record-breaking Thruxton thriller

Thousands of fans have lapped up the high-octane thrills on a record-breaking Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) weekend at Thruxton, as the fastest drivers in the country put on a spellbinding show for the capacity crowds.

The UK’s leading motor sport series is always a major draw, and this year, record numbers of fans chose to eschew the Royal Wedding and FA Cup Final to flock to Britain’s quickest circuit.

They were repaid with interest, witnessing 12 absorbing races, headlined by the attention-grabbing BTCC but also comprising the Renault UK Clio Cup, F4 British Championship, Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge and Ginetta Junior Championship.

A sun-kissed weekend saw victories for Matt Neal, home hero Josh Cook and Adam Morgan, whose race three triumph earned the Ciceley Motorsport star the championship lead. Two-time title-holder Colin Turkington made history in the first race as he broke a lap record that had held firm since 2002 – the longest-standing benchmark in the BTCC – before it was further lowered by a charging Tom Ingram in the day’s finale.

The popular Chicane grandstands and spectator banks around the circuit were filled with enthusiastic fans, while the new, £2 million state-of-the-art Thruxton Centre – due to be officially opened by motor sport legends Murray Walker and Nigel Mansell during Thruxton’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in a fortnight’s time (2/3 June) – received a rapturous reception, with the first guests soaking up both the sunshine and the action from the panoramic balcony.

“What a brilliant weekend!” enthused Thruxton Group Managing Director, Bill Coombs. “It’s obviously extremely satisfying to welcome another record crowd, which is testament to the enduring appeal of the BTCC and the first-class entertainment that Thruxton invariably produces – and with wonderful weather and some sensational racing, they all went home with smiles on their faces, which is great to see.

“The packed spectator banks looked fabulous in the sunshine, and the action was phenomenal across the board, from the young guns in Ginetta Juniors up to Britain’s biggest motor sport stars in the BTCC.

“Thruxton always generates superb slipstreaming scraps and close, competitive racing, and with battles throughout the field, there was something to catch the eye wherever you looked.

“Congratulations also to Tom and Colin for their lap record-breaking pace. To lower a benchmark that had gone unchallenged for 16 years – and on such a hot day, too – was quite an achievement.

“It was fantastic, finally, to see the new Thruxton Centre open for business for the first time, and the feedback we received has been universally positive, which is very gratifying. In building this facility, we were keen to really raise the bar and there is no question that it sets the tone for the circuit’s future. We now look forward to its official inauguration with Murray and Nigel at our 50th Anniversary Celebration.”

Thruxton’s Anniversary weekend will feature 15 races, high-speed demonstrations from Williams’ 1983 FW08C amongst other iconic racing cars and bikes, a static display of Mansell’s all-conquering, title-winning Williams FW14B, world-famous British Army parachute team the Red Devils, car club reunions, a funfair, live music, overnight camping and a fireworks display in evidence of the festival’s family-friendly appeal.

Advance tickets for Thruxton’s 50th Anniversary Celebration are available from just £12 for Saturday entry and £15 for Sunday – or £24 for both days. Sunday grandstand seats are an additional £5. Accompanied children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge.

BTCC battle speeds into ultra-fast Thruxton

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship descends on the home of the British Automobile Racing Club, Thruxton Circuit, for the third event of what is shaping up to be a season to remember this weekend (May 19/20).

Celebrating the BTCC’s 60th anniversary this year, the championship has produced six blockbuster races across Brands Hatch and Donington Park, with somewhat of a changing of the guard taking place as a host of young drivers have come to the fore.

It isn’t just the series that is celebrating a milestone year, Thruxton is too as it marks its 50th year in 2018 too. The beloved circuit is set to open parts of its brand-new, industry-leading £2 million hospitality facility – The Thruxton Centre – ahead of a full official opening on Sunday 3 June amid a weekend of 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Speeding into rounds seven, eight and nine, the drivers’ standings has a distinctly familiar feel to those of last year, with Tom Ingram sitting at the summit. Two wins paired with consistent points finishes has handed the Speedworks Motorsport driver a seven-point advantage and he will be keen to extend that at a circuit where the Toyota Avensis has gone well at in the past.

Leading the chase for Ingram and top spot is Donington Park race winner Adam Morgan. Enjoying a solid start to the year, the Ciceley Motorsport driver has been a force to be reckoned and has a prove package around Thruxton, making him a clear contender.

Josh Cook scored a breakthrough win at Donington Park and the local driver will be keen to add further silverware to his collection. The Power Maxed TAG Racing competitor is one of several emerging talents in the BTCC this year and it is hard to discount any of them.

Jack Goff, race winner in round one, and reigning champion Ashley Sutton have been in the thick of the action and round out the top five whilst Aiden Moffat has impressed with two podiums. Factor in his strong pace at Thruxton and the Scotsman can’t be discounted from podium contention either.

Dan Cammish and Chris Smiley will be ones to watch as well, piloting their respective Honda Civic Type R’s. Both picked up their maiden podium finishes last time out and given the track record of the Honda at Thruxton in the past, both will be confident of what they can achieve.

Duo Motorsport with HMS Racing’s Rob Austin is another home hero for fans to cheer on and he, along with Colin Turkington, round out the top ten.

Beyond that, a whole host of race-winning drivers sit on the fringe of spring boarding themselves into front-running contention. Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal have both thrived around the high-speed layout in the past and will be keen to ignite their championship challengers; as will local man Rob Collard, Jason Plato, Motorbase Performance – to name just a few.

With five different winners from six races and a total of 14 drivers have graced the podium so far, the landscape of the BTCC is as unpredictable as it ever has been and that trait is set to continue around Thruxton’s famed 2.356 mile track.

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.

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.

Britain’s premier motor racing championship poised for high-speed thriller at Thruxton

Thruxton will be the next port of call for what is already proving to be a Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign to remember, with 32 of the best tin-top stars set to take on the UK’s fastest race circuit, 19-20 May.

The BTCC is celebrating its 60th, Diamond Jubilee, anniversary in some style so far this year, with typically fierce competition evidenced at two storming weekends at Brands Hatch and Donington Park – producing five different winners from the opening six rounds. There have been a host of new faces take to the podium, and somewhat of a changing of the guard in the Drivers’ standings with the top eight’s drivers harbouring an average age of just a little over 25.

Thruxton is set to celebrate what is all set to be a special weekend’s racing by offering one lucky winner the chance to wave the chequered flag on the opening BTCC race – with anyone who has purchased or is set to purchase advance race day or weekend tickets for the meeting entered into the prize draw.

Last year at the Hampshire Speedbowl, as Thruxton is affectionately known, BMW secured a landmark 100th victory in the BTCC at the hands of Rob Collard and Colin Turkington, who took a round apiece, while Matt Neal sealed a win on home turf for Honda.

This year, though, the form-book certainly looks to have swung the way of the young-guns – headed at the top of the table by Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram in the Toyota, who secured a pair of rostrum finishes at Thruxton last time around, and is also the only double winner so far this season.

Incumbent champ Ash Sutton was quickest back at the annual TOCA test-day a month ago and, currently fifth in the standings, he’ll be looking to fire his Subaru Levorg to a maiden top-step appearance of 2018 and the start of his title defence proper. Judging by his pace back at that test, he’ll be one to look out for.

The WIX Racing with Eurotech-run FK2-generation Honda Civic Type Rs have historically gone well around Thruxton’s high-speed sweepers and if the outfit’s start to the season is anything to go by, it would take a fool to doubt their race-winning credentials, especially given Jack Goff has already notched a victory this year and is sitting pretty in fourth in the overall standings.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Classes are perfectly suited to the balance and poise required around the Hampshire racetrack. Adam Morgan is hot on the heels of standings leader Ingram in second spot after his victory at Donington Park and the Lancashireman is twice a winner at Thruxton – it’s shaping up nicely for Ciceley Motorsport. Aiden Moffat, in one of the sister Mercedes’, is a man on a charge, too, after a podium double back in Leicestershire.

A host of other names are vying for top honours, with the intense competition of Britain’s biggest motor racing spectacle making predicting the outcome of any one race, let alone the three that take place over a race weekend, an impossible task. Whatever the outcome, it’s sure to be a day of unmissable action.

Thruxton itself celebrates its 50th Anniversary, and the beloved circuit, a favourite of many a driver, always yields unparalleled racing. In addition to the three touring car races, there are nine more top-tier encounters on the TOCA package – the Renault UK Clio Cup, the Ginetta championships and the F4 British Championship.

Visitors will also get their first proper look at the circuit’s brand-new, industry-leading £2 million hospitality facility – The Thruxton Centre – ahead of an official opening on Sunday 3 June amid a weekend of 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Highlights there include 15 special races as well as high-speed demonstrations from Williams’ 1983 FW08C, wielded by ex-F1 star Karun Chandhok, and a number of other iconic racing cars and bikes. There will be appearances, too, from a number of high-profile guests including Murray Walker and Nigel Mansell.

“We’re always thrilled to host what is undoubtedly the premier four-wheeled series in the country,” said Thruxton Group Managing Director, Bill Coombs. The BTCC has storied history – spanning 60 years – and the championship never fails to come up with the goods over a race weekend.

“As we’ve seen this season, it’s entirely unpredictable. You don’t head into a BTCC race weekend knowing who will be coming out on top – it’s just too close to call, and that makes for some of the best doorhandle-to-doorhandle racing around with 32 cars all racing within a second or so.

“The test day a month ago gave us an insight into just how competitive it’ll be come race day. Some of the times were quicker than we’ve ever seen before here from BTCC machinery – it really whetted the appetite.

“The beauty of the TOCA package means that not only do you get the three headline BTCC races, but nine further races of the highest quality across a number of leading championships.”

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.

Spoils shared as BTCC young guns come to the fore at Donington Park

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship saw another three frenetic races at Donington Park serve up three different race winners this past weekend (April 28/29) – with the series’ young guns coming further to the fore.

Coming off the back of a memorable curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch, the capacity 32-car grid descended on the Leicestershire venue with it all to play at the top of the standings.

Qualifying proved to be a dramatic affair with times tumbling right until the end of the session. As the clock ticked to zero, Power Maxed Racing’s Josh Cook displaced Chris Smiley to score his first BTCC pole position.

Cook’s Saturday dominance translated to race day as he converted pole position into a commanding first victory – becoming the 19th different driver to have scaled to the top step of the podium.

Launching his Vauxhall Astra off the front row, Cook held off the advances of Smiley on the opening tour before stretching his advantage over Dan Cammish and Aiden Moffat, who moved themselves into the remaining rostrum places.

Race two went the way of championship leader Tom Ingram, who became the first driver to win two races this year. Having scored a handful of points with maximum weight and the hard tyre in race one, the Speedworks Motorsport racer scythed his way through the field from P13 in the second encounter.

Picking his way through the top ten, Ingram shuffled BTC Norlin Racing’s Smiley to second on lap ten and was never challenged thereon after. WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Jack Goff rounded off the podium after also charging through the pack.

Goff had been hot on the heels of Ingram at one stage but a valiant defence from Cammish, who had led early on, saw the Honda Civic Type R driver lose ground to the leaders.

One of the star performers in race two however was the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes Benz A-Class of Adam Morgan, who crossed the line fifth having started 25th.

With the top nine reversed for race three, Rory Butcher lined up on pole position with reigning champion Ashley Sutton lining up alongside him. As the lights went out, five cars fell victim to the close-quarter racing down the Crater Curves, with James Cole, Josh Price and Sam Tordoff all out on the spot.

At the front, Sutton propelled himself into the lead but soon fell into the clutches of the chasing pack, with Morgan leading the way. Making his move on lap eight, Morgan held his nerve, withstanding a late charge from Cook to score his first win since Thruxton 2016.

Laser Tools Racing’s Moffat made it two Mercedes on the podium as he scored his second third place finish of the day. Standout performances from Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan saw them round out the top five, piloting their West Surrey Racing BMW’s through the field.

Following on from another exciting day’s racing, Ingram extended his advantage in the drivers standings with Morgan and Cook filling the top three spots.

For the full classification of results, click here.

The 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returns on May 19/20 with rounds seven, eight and nine taking place at Thruxton.