After months of driver announcements and many miles of pre-season testing, the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship finally roars back into life this weekend (May 8/9) around the fastest circuit in UK, Thruxton, and the stage is set for what promises to be another sensational season.
Boasting a 29-car entry list made up of proven contenders, young challengers and returning champions, the battle for supremacy in Britain’s premier motorsport series is shaping up to be a mouth-watering affair over the course of ten rounds and 30 races.
Kicking the season off at Thruxton for the first time since 2010, current government guidelines means that the event will take place behind closed doors without spectators, but all is not lost as fans will be able to witness the BTCC in action around the Hampshire venue when the series makes its second visit in August (28/29) - Tickets are on sale
Headlining this year’s stellar line-up is reigning champion Ashley Sutton. Coming off the back of a mesmerising 2020 campaign with Laser Tools Racing, the now double champion is back behind the wheel of the Infiniti Q50 once again with his sights set on clinching a third championship - and you’d be hard-pressed to bet against him.
Whilst Sutton enters the year with the coveted number one adorning the side of his rear-wheel-drive machine, competition for his crown is set to come from all angles.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington narrowly missed out on clinching a record-breaking fifth title last year and the Northern Irishman will be hungry to make it happen this year. Elsewhere, former champions Jason Plato and Gordon Shedden are back on the grid and aiming high as they represent Power Maxed Car Care Racing and Halfords Racing with Cataclean respectively.
Other notable contenders that will be keen to make their mark include Rory Butcher, who spearheads Toyota Gazoo Racing’s expanded programme and Tom Ingram, who is now behind the wheel of a Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30N.
Throw into the mix race winners such as Dan Cammish (for one weekend only), Josh Cook, Tom Oliphant, Stephen Jelley, Adam Morgan, Tom Chilton, Jake Hill, Jack Goff, Aron Taylor-Smith, Daniel Lloyd, Ollie Jackson and Aiden Moffat and you begin to see why the battle for the big prize is wide open.
Other notable names to look out for over the course of the weekend and the season include the Honda duo of Dan Rowbottom and Jade Edwards, as well as former British GT champion Rick Parfitt Jnr.
In addition to the BTCC, Thruxton will also play host to a number of championships that make up the TOCA support package.
The Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship, Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Porsche Visit Cayman Islands Sprint Challenge GB, Quaife MINI CHALLENGE and F4 British Championship certified by FIA - powered by Ford EcoBoost will all be in action over the course of the weekend.
You can watch all the action live on ITV4 from 10:50 on Sunday, with BTCC qualifying broadcast on itv.com/btcc on Saturday. Live timing and circuit commentary will be available from TSL Timing.