British Touring Car Championship's new turbo charged eraBy Chris Walsh
April 10, 2012
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship got off to an absolute flyer for 2012, with rounds one, two and three at Brands Hatch demonstrating yet again, why BTCC is easily the most watchable and exciting racing event on the calendar.
Local boys Rob Collard and Jason Plato both grabbed wins in round 1 and 3 respectively, while the West Mid-Lander, Matt Neal picked up a victory in round two. Plato’s victory in race three came after he turned the tables on Andrew Jordan by passing him for the lead at mid-distance. Jordan took second ahead of Newsham who, after his race one disappointment, ended the day on a high with a maiden podium result. Significantly though, and in true BTCC fashion, race three needed to be re-started after a seven-car pile-up forced a red flag stoppage.
Follow Chris on twitter at @cwalsh_uk
The results mean Plato takes a slender lead to Donington Park with Matt Neal and Rob Collard in hot pursuit. No fewer than ten different models from nine different makes – Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, MG, Proton, Toyota, Vauxhall and VW – will be rolled out by the 14 teams which continues after the Easter weekend at the world famous Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire. But local racing fans needn’t be disappointed as the BTCC circus rolls onto the fastest track of the season – Thruxton – on the 29th of April.
Tickets start from £25 to watch all 3 rounds of the BTCC championship plus all the action from the supporting championships, including Formula Renault, Porsche Carrera Cup and the popular Ginetta series. Prices rise to £32 for a weekend ticket, which includes all the qualifying action on Saturday the 28th. If you are looking to get as close to the action as you can, then race day paddock transfers are available at just £8 each, allowing you to mix shoulder-to-shoulder with all the BTCC drivers.
The two-day event is one of the South’s biggest sporting events of the year with tens of thousands of people attending trackside. Swift access to the venue (just off the A303 near Andover) plus free admission for children and the chance to meet the hero drivers from Britain’s premier motor racing championship all add to the tremendous public appeal.
Notably, for the first time, every car on the BTCC grid will race with a turbocharged 2.0 litre engine and more than half the cars are built to the championship’s full ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ (NGTC) regulations, leading to a return of bigger, more aggressive-looking machinery.
This year’s BTCC will again comprise of ten events featuring 30 ferociously contested races (three on each race day) at nine venues around the UK. Each of the ten meetings will receive a minimum six hours of live television coverage on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, plus a ‘simulcast’ on the ITV website. The BTCC Series Director, Alan Gow said “Our trackside crowd and TV viewing audience figures continue to reach new heights – Brands Hatch has shown us that ticket sales for the opening round were the biggest ever for a BTCC event.