The British Touring Car Championship’s UK tour rolls into Silverstone this weekend and with the Sunday Afternoon Club’s newly iOS7-equipped iPhone showing (we think) sunny spells, we reckon it might be worth a visit. Even if we’re reading those pesky little new graphics wrong, and it’s going to rain we still think it’s worth the trip. After all, since when does a little rain do anything but make the BTCC an even better spectacle?
This year’s championship — 24 races at eight different venues already under its belt — has been spectacular to say the least with the usual mix of bent metal and twisted egos across the simply huge grids of 40 odd drivers in 12 different cars. We think those are the numbers. There are two distinct classes this year, now that the BTCC Guvnors have fully embraced the New Generation Touring Car regulations and are no longer running an equivalence formula for the old S2000 cars which are instead competing for their own trophy.
And once again the organisers have apparently made the right call, as next year Renault will re-join the series for the first time in, what, a decade (over to you Sunday Afternooners)? Also joining the series next year with the A-Class are Mercedes-Benz meaning BTCC in 2014 will feature its own little DTM-junior battle as Merc will go wheel-to-wheel with BMW and Audi.
Both marques have won this year already, Rob Austin’s Audi A4 taking its first win in race 23 at the last meet at Rockingham while BTCC-returnee Colin Turkington’s BMW 125i is one of the revelations of this year, taking five wins already and came close to a near hat-trick at Croft.
Turkington nonetheless is only third in the championship behind the Team Honda Civic of Gordon Sheddon and the championship leading Pirtek Civic of Andrew Jordan who’s been the story of 2013. Racing for the family’s team, Jordan shone in practice in the snow-affected (remember that) opening round at Brands Hatch, but didn’t start notching up the wins until the second race of the second meeting at Donington. He’s won five more since, but importantly has also grabbed five podiums, so leads Sheddon by 30 points. You get 20 for a win in BTCC remember (17 for second and 15 for third), plus there are points for pole in the first race of the day (races two and three are based on results), fastest lap and leading a lap.
On that basis Matt Neal (Team Honda Civic) and the MG6s of Jason Plato and rookie winner Sam Tordoff of KX Momentum Racing (pictured above getting a little airborne) have it all to play for then. Practice and qualifying is tomorrow (tickets from £15) and the races on Sunday are at noon, 2.30pm and 5.15pm (tickets from £30). You know where Silverstone is. Alternately, you know where your TV is. All the races are on live, tho’ you will need to double screen as the penultimate DTM race is on YouTube from 12.30pm.
We’ll be back on Monday with news from both.