British Touring Cars to blast into Donington this weekend!
Britain’s most popular four wheeled motorsport series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, returns to Leicestershire’s Donington Park circuit this weekend (18-19 April), with the season shaping up to be the most competitive in years!
The BTCC has always been famed for its exciting racing, but a shake-up in rules and driver line-ups over the winter months appears to closed things up even more, if the opening three races of the season are anything to go by.
Three different drivers took victories at the first round of the season at Brands Hatch, and each of them by less than half a second!
Championship veteran Rob Collard emerged as the first winner after fending off Aron Smith by four tenths of a second, but the second contest was even closer, as just 0.040 seconds, equivalent to an inch or two, separated Gordon Shedden and former World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx in one of the closest races ever seen in BTCC history. With Matt Neal then winning the third race by 0.196s, the form books would suggest three epic BTCC races are in store this weekend!
The BTCC driver line-up is the strongest it’s been for years too. The ambitious Team BMR secured the services of double champions Jason Plato and Colin Turkington over the winter break in one of the talking points of the season. They were the quickest drivers in the official test, held at Donington on 24 March, and should be names to look out for in their new berths. Their team mate, the aforementioned Smith is one of the new young stars of the championship, while other champions on the grid include Shedden and Neal (both driving a brand new Honda Civic Type-R), and Donington local Andrew Jordan, driving an MG, who lives in nearby Lichfield.
Youngsters have really come to the fore recently though, and other names to keep an eye on include Mercedes youngsters Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffatt, BMW ace Sam Tordoff, MG’s Jack Goff, who very nearly grabbed a first win at Brands Hatch and Toyota racer Sam Tordoff.
Fans at Donington will miss none of the action with big screens around the venue, while they will also be able to get up close and personal to the stars of British motorsport with an open paddock policy and a pit walk on Sunday at 9.15 where drivers will be on hand to sign autographs.
Packed support races
Aside from the BTCC, the weekend will also see racing from four excellent series, all flourishing in 2015. The KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship features a sold out grid of 25 teenagers aged between 14 and 17 racing small sports cars. Many of the drivers are graduates straight out of karting or are new to motorsport altogether, and the racing from these young upstarts is usually breathtaking, and full of action!
Sticking with the sportscar theme is the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Cup, which features dramatic looking GT cars powered by sonorous V6 engines. These cars are supremely quick and provide excellent racing, with many of these drivers looking to become Le Mans and GT racers.
More tin top thrills will be provided by the Renault UK Clio Cup, a popular category which is renowned as a proving ground for touring car stars. Recent graduates include Jack Goff, Josh Cook, Mike Bushell and Dave Newsham, and the racing is every bit as competitive as the BTCC. Expect fireworks in their triple header this weekend!
Completing the racing line-up is the brand new MSA Formula Championship. This is a category for youngsters in single seaters, all of whom are aiming to become F1 stars of the future. The first three races for this series were very exciting, with a truly international field of drivers aged 15 and up.
“This weekend promised to be a real carnival of modern day motorsport” Donington Park’s Managing Director Christopher Tate commented. “The BTCC is rightly regarded as one of the most exciting spectacles in motorsport and always puts on a fabulous show at Donington Park. This year’s rule changes seems to have kicked even more action into the championship, and with the big driver upheaval over the winter, no-one will be able to pick a winner this weekend! With more on track action provided by the excellent support series, it’s going to be a fantastic, and action packed weekend!”
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