Whatever happens it’ll be a memorable day
(Photo from: www.btcc.net)
After nine rounds and 27 races, the 2017 British Touring Car Championship finale is here with two drivers battling for the title heading into the final three races. Ashley Sutton will be hoping he can hold onto his 10 point advantage and take his maiden BTCC crown at only his second attempt whereas Colin Turkington will be hoping to claim his third crown, having last one the series in 2014.
As has become tradition the BTCC will end on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, known around the world as being one of the best circuits in motorsport. Over the years, the circuit has played host to numerous title fights, an example being last year when Sam Tordoff could not hold onto his lead heading into the final round allowing Gordon Shedden to take his third crown.
As mentioned, this weekend the BTCC with be using the Grand Prix layout rather than the Indy layout which was used for the season opener. The Grand Prix layout is 1.3 miles longer than the Indy configuration as it disappears into the woods.
As well as the BTCC the circuit has played host to many major events, including Formula 1’s British Grand Prix from 1964 through to 1986, alternating each year with Silverstone, bar 1985, where it was called “The European Grand Prix” and the scene of Nigel Mansell’s first win in F1.
Sadly, due to noise restrictions that have been enforced in recent years due to the tracks proximity to local towns, the amount of racing on the Grand Prix circuit is limited each year, usually for two or three big events.
Leading up to this weekend’s title showdown, there have been a few news stories revolving regarding 2018.
The first story is that former BTCC frontrunner James Nash is aiming for a return to the series having last raced for Triple Eight Racing in 2011, in which he won the Independents Crown. Since then he has gone onto race in the WTCC and sports cars however most recently Nash has competed in TCR International in which he finished vice-champion last season though has struggled this due to his cars lack of competitiveness.
Despite this Nash still runs seventh in the standings and is still an outside bet for the championship, though he admits that his sole focus for 2018 is a return to the BTCC.
In other news Rob Collard has been declared fit to race this weekend following his mega shunt at Silverstone however Will Burns will miss out after suffering broken ribs and a bruised lung. There were fears that even if Collard was fit enough, his car would not be ready in time due to the severity of damage caused in the collision.
Will Burns’ season has been cut short sadly though by the incident as he was not passed fit as his recovery is expected to last four weeks. In addition to this the damage caused by the collision was too extensive to be repaired, ensuring that Team HARD will only be running two cars this weekend for Jake Hill and Mike Epps.
For the second year in succession, WSR and Team BMR have a driver in contention for the BTCC crown. If Sutton were to win the championship, it will be the first time a car other than a BMW or a Honda has won the series since 2010.
With the action starting tomorrow and the conditions expected to be wet, it will certainly be a memorable weekend. Qualifying will be streamed live tomorrow online at ITV motorsport at 15:00 with the three races being shown live on ITV4 as follows:
Race 1: 11:37
Race 2: 14:22
Race 3: 17:14