British Touring Car Championship

2016 BTCC season thread

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    Bradley Downton

    It’s that wonderful time of the year again where the incredibly brilliant in nearly most every way series – the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC for short) – returns for another campaign of panel bashing, close racing, driver arguments, incredible competition and a usually close and open title fight. (In case you can’t tell, I am quite a fan.)

    This year we have an impressive 32 cars set to line up on the grid (though frankly I’ll be amazed if all 32 ever actually all make it to one grid at the same, but we’ll see) and that includes 5 former champions (with 10 titles between them), 12 former race winners and an Emmerdale star! (Nope, I’ve no idea either.)

    But frankly and honestly, I don’t care one iota about how good the racing is this year, or how close the title fight is (obviously this is at the moment only, and if we see three boring races come Sunday I will complain no end, as my good friend @mathers knows only too well) because for the first time since 2008, Honda/Team Dynamics/Team Halfords are running with a glorious orange Halfords livery – the first thing that drew me in as a fan of the team and driver Matt Neal back in 2004.

    But anyway, the line-up:
    Subaru Team BMR (Subaru Levorg GT) – Constructor Entry
    4. Colin Turkington – 2009 & 2014 Champion, 36-time race winner
    20. James Cole – £££, highest race finish of 9th
    39. Warren Scott – team owner, highest race finish of 9th (x2)
    99. Jason Plato – 2001 & 2010 Champion, 94-time race winner

    Had just one car at the season launch a week or two ago, and there have been rumours that not all the machines will be ready, and even those that are could be unreliable. But Plato’s in the team, and while I’m by no means a fan, that means the team will be strong.

    Motorbase Performance (Ford Focus ST) – Independent Entry
    7. Mat Jackson – Spent first half of 2015 on the sidelines and won lots in the second half, 25-time race winner
    77. Andrew Jordan – 2013 Champion, 14-time race winner

    Were incredibly quick (at least in the hands of Jackson if not team mate Cole) in the last half of 2015 as they sat out the first half to improve the car, no reason they shouldn’t be at the sharp end. Jordan will be hoping so after a fairly mundane couple of seasons since his title win.

    Handy Motorsport (Toyota Avensis) – Independent Entry
    11. Rob Austin – Fan favourite, 2-time race winner

    Planned on running more cars than they’ve actually entered (but then so did a lot of people) but nonetheless after sleeping his own team to concentrate on racing, Austin could be a dark horse for the odd win (a large portion of the fans will certainly be hoping so!)

    Team HARD (Toyota Avensis) – Independent Entry
    12. Michael Epps – Rookie
    22. Chris Smiley – Rookie
    24. Jake Hill – (May as well be a) Rookie, highest race finish of 11th

    Two rookies I’ve never heard of, but nice to see Jake Hill (no relation to Damon) getting a proper shot, even if the car looks absolutely hideous.

    Dextra Racing with Team Parker (Ford Focus ST) – Independent Entry
    14. Alex Martin – disappeared from one round last year to witness the birth of his child, highest race finish of 13th

    Unspectacular last year, see no reason for that to change.

    Laser Tools Racing (Mercedes Benz A-Class) – Independent Entry
    16. Aiden Moffat – Still just 19 after joining series in mid-2013, highest race finish of 3rd

    Could be one to watch if he comes of age (in both senses of the phrase).

    Goodestone Racing (Proton Persona) – Independent Entry
    17. Dan Welch – Defiantly stuck with a slow and poor Proton but claim it will change this year, highest race finish of 4th

    There’s no way I can describe how bad that Proton is and get around F1 Fanatic’s filter…

    Halfords Yuasa Racing (Honda Civic Type R) – Constructor Entry
    25. Matt Neal – 2005, 2006 & 2011 Champion, 56-time race winner
    52. Gordon Shedden – 2012 & 2015 Champion, 41-time race winner
    57. Andy Neate – £££ (and had a horrific crash and injury in the 2008 Britcar 24 Hours at Silverstone), highest race finish of 6th

    Have to be one of the favourites, though the re-signing of Halfords as title sponsor, dropping of Honda from official name, and signing of big bucks bringing Andy Neate could potentially point to less input from Honda.

    Eurotech Racing (Honda Civic Type R) – Independent Entry
    30. Martin Depper – Consistently scored points but not the quickest, highest race finish of 9th
    55. Jeff Smith – Team owner but not the quickest, highest race finish of 2nd

    For a team that in 2013 won the title, a huge downturn in form, though the ownership has changed from the Jordan family (Andrew not Eddie, again no relation) to that of Jeff Smith.

    West Surrey Racing (BMW 125i M Sport) – Constructor Entry
    31. Jack Goff – Impressive youngster filling big shoes of Andy Priaulx, 1-time race winner
    100. Rob Collard – Been around forever, 11-time race winner
    600. Sam Tordoff – No-one seems quite sure what to make of him but impressed last year, 4-time race winner

    Lost 3-time WTCC champ Andy Priaulx who embarks on a journey through WEC with Ford, but signed the best replacement they could in up-and-coming Goff. As last year could nick some wins – especially at strong circuits like Croft.

    WIX Racing (Mercedes Benz A-Class) – Independent Entry
    33. Adam Morgan – Solid last season, 2-time race winner

    Could be one to watch if the car is stronger than last year.

    Team BKR (Volkswagen CC) – Independent Entry
    38. Mark Howard – Rookie
    40. Aron Smith – Dropped by BMR for upsetting Plato / ignoring team orders, 3-time race winner

    New team who were set to run in the new feeder BTEC series until it was postponed until 2017, but with a car that nearly took the 2015 title, could be dark horses.

    AmD Tuning (Audi S3 Saloon) – Independent Entry
    48. Ollie Jackson – Back after missing out in 2015, highest race finish of 8th (x3)

    Have dropped the Focus to run solely the Audi S3 that was briefly in the hands of Nicholas Hamilton last year (YES! He IS a relation, Lewis’ younger brother)

    Power Maxed Racing (Chevrolet Cruze) – Independent Entry
    54. Hunter Abbott – I like him, he has a good name (also had a big crash himself in the 2008 British GT Championship at Oulton Park), highest race finish of 10th (x3)
    84. Kelvin Fletcher – Rookie

    Had a solid season last year with Cook & Dave Newsham when no-one really expected anything form the old Cruze. I like Abbott but he’s done nothing special so far, and alongside him is someone who apparently stars in something called Emmerdale? (Nope, no idea either)

    Triple Eight (MG6 GT) – Constructor Entry
    66. Josh Cook – Good last year in his maiden season, highest race finish of 3rd
    116. Ashley Sutton – Rookie

    For a team that once had names like Fabrizio Giovanardi, Yvan Muller, Jason Plato and just last year Andrew Jordan, hard not to feel they’re on the decline with a mildly impressive youngster at best, and a rookie.

    Speedworks Motorsport (Toyota Avensis & Honda Civic Type R) – Independent Entry
    80. Tom Ingram – Impressive youngster, highest race finish of 2nd (x2)
    303. Matt Simpson – Rookie

    Ingram could be one to watch again this year, never heard of Simpson… well, not this one anyway.

    Maximum Motorsport (Ford Focus ST) – Independent Entry
    95. Stewart Lines – Urm… um… nope… I got nothing, highest race finish of 16th (x2)

    Slow and at the back last year, expect the same.

    Bradley Downton

    Spotters Guide

    Subaru Team BMR (Subaru Levorg GT)

    Motorbase Performance (Ford Focus ST) – Mat Jackson

    Motorbase Performance (Ford Focus ST) – Andrew Jordan

    Handy Motorsport (Toyota Avensis)

    Team HARD (Toyota Avensis) – Michael Epps & Jake Hill

    Team HARD (Toyota Avensis) – Chris Smiley

    Dextra Racing with Team Parker (Ford Focus ST)

    Laser Tools Racing (Mercedes Benz A-Class)

    Goodestone Racing (Proton Persona)

    Halfords Yuasa Racing (Honda Civic Type R)

    Eurotech Racing (Honda Civic Type R)

    West Surrey Racing (BMW 125i M Sport) – Jack Goff

    West Surrey Racing (BMW 125i M Sport) – Rob Collard & Sam Tordoff

    WIX Racing (Mercedes Benz A-Class)

    Team BKR (Volkswagen CC)

    AmD Tuning (Audi S3 Saloon)

    Power Maxed Racing (Chevrolet Cruze)

    Triple Eight (MG6 GT)

    Speedworks Motorsport (Toyota Avensis) – Tom Ingram

    Speedworks Motorsport (Honda Civic Type R) – Matt Simpson

    Maximum Motorsport (Ford Focus ST)


    He’s not wrong, the BTCC is probably some the closest racing on the planet, especially at a high level. Really looking forward to seeing the Boxer-engined Levorg, while I have to agree the Honda looks great. I’m also a fan of the WSR BMWs, but what I love is the sheer variety of brands we see on the grid, and the fact that out of 32 cars I can see at least half of the field that could be challenging for a podium at any given race weekend. But Bradley has said pretty much everything there is to say, so my advice is to check out the support series as well for more great drivers and cars, my personal favourites are the MSA Formula, with some great teams like Carlin, Arden, Fortec and my favourites JHR all running the stars of the future, but the Porsches also sound insane.

    And not only do I get it in the neck from @bradley13 if the racing is bad (luckily that is rarely an issue with such a close field), I’m a huge Plato fan so if him and Matt Neal have another bust up I don’t think we’ll talk for days!


    Great intro!

    The Levorg is a weird choice, emboldened by the (mild) success of the Civic Tourer I guess. Nice to see Subaru in the championship though.

    The Honda boys have to start as favourites again, other than that I think the Focuses of Jackson and Jordan and the BMWs of Goff and Tordoff have to start as outside bets.

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