British Touring Car racers set for Donington Park drama this weekend
The bumper-to-bumper stars of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) will thrill thousands of spectators at Donington Park this weekend (16/17 April)!
The championship is one of Britain’s most popular forms of motorsport, with intense ultra-close racing, recognisable cars, charismatic drivers and frequent contact as the drivers go wheel to wheel in three contests around the racers paradise that is Donington Park.
This year’s BTCC is a record breaker already, with a mammoth line-up of 32 cars entered for the season, the biggest number on the starting grid ever. The numbers guarantee action on a circuit famed for its dramatic BTCC moments, including last year’s epic trio of races.
This year’s opening races at Brands Hatch saw a debut pole position and a first victory for Toyota youngster Tom Ingram, while reigning champion Gordon Shedden steered his distinctive orange Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda to a win in race two, before Mercedes man Adam Morgan took the spoils in race three. The latter two races were won by fractions of a second, and with a multitude of potential race-winners in this year’s field, predicting the outcome of any of the races around Donington Park this weekend is an impossible task!
Expect to see the usual bumping and barging as the likes of series legends Shedden, Matt Neal, Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan go wheel to wheel. Shedden and Neal lead the way in the standings at present while Turkington and Plato head the line-up of the much-anticipated Team BMR quartet of Subaru Levorgs. The new Japanese machines had barely turned a wheel before the season opener, but got closer to the pace as the first round weekend went on, and so could well be the surprise contenders at Donington. Plato remains as feisty as ever so expect to see him in the thick of the action.
A number of young pretenders will be snapping at their heels too. Morgan is now an established winner, while Ingram will be hoping to add to his Brands Hatch win in his third BTCC season. Young BMW aces Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff are undoubted stars of the future while MG duo Ashley Sutton and Josh Cook were exceptional in the season opener. Cook was the star of last year’s BTCC race at Donington, and should be a real challenger at the front of the pack in the proven MG car. Aron Smith, who challenged Cook at Donington last year is also another to look out for, in his Volkswagen CC machine, entered by series newcomers Team BKR. Keep an eye out too for Emmerdale actor turned racer, Kelvin Fletcher (Andy Sugden), who competes with Power Maxed Racing. The BTCC usually features as much action as a Soap Opera, so Fletcher should feel right at home!
Donington locals aim for the top
Donington Park is considered the home venue by several of the teams and drivers in the series. Lichfield racer and former champion Andrew Jordan counts Donington as very much home ground, while Ford team mate Mat Jackson hails from Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire. Stourbridge’s Matt Neal is a big fan of Donington Park and made history at the circuit in 1999 when he became the first Independent race winner in the modern era of the BTCC, taking home a cheque for £250,000 in the process! Eurotech Racing, who field a pair of Honda Civic Type-Rs for Jeff Smith and Martin Depper hail from Tamworth and enjoyed a competitive showing at Brands Hatch and will hope for more of the same at their home venue.
Entertainment on and off the track!
Fans at the venue won’t miss a second of the action with big screens placed around the track at popular viewing spots on Sunday, while an open paddock policy means spectators will be able to mingle with the drivers and see the teams hard at work! With more areas of the refreshed infield open this weekend, there will be many more new vantage points to see the racing from too.
There’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied this weekend with a total of 14 races, not just from the BTCC, but also the thrilling support races, including F1 stars of the future in the Ford MSA Formula Championship, young guns in the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship, sports cars from the Michelin Ginetta GT SuperCup, and the Renault UK Clio Cup, renowned as a BTCC proving ground.
Meanwhile, family fun will continue off track, with bouncy castles, trampolines, simulators, climbing walls, face painting, a giant Scalextric set, remote control cars and a kid’s fun bus available to keep younger fans entertained!
Donington Park Managing Director Christopher Tate commented: “We always look forward to seeing the BTCC at Donington Park. The exciting Season Launch event for the series was held again here at Donington just three weeks ago, and we saw all the new cars and drivers in action for the first time. But you just can’t beat the actual races for sheer action, unrivalled drama and entertainment value. With lots to keep the whole family occupied, we can’t say often enough how much we welcome both fans and newcomers to come along this weekend and take in all the action from some of the best race viewing areas in the country!”
Tickets for the BTCC at Donington Park on 16-17 April are available in advance from £11.25 with free entry for children aged 13 and under. Advance tickets are on sale until 5pm on Wednesday evening (13 April), although tickets will be available for purchase upon arrival at the circuit. For more information and to book tickets, click here.