Snetterton 2016 saw multiple incidents
(Photo from: www.btcc.net)
The long six-week summer break in the British Touring Car Championship is almost over as the series returns this weekend at Snetterton in Norfolk, for rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the year. Snetterton also commences the second half of the season, as it has done since 2008.
Like many circuits around the United Kingdom, Snetterton is an old RAF airfield with the original circuit consisting of two long straights connected by two fast 90 degree bends and a challenging stadium section.
However in 2005 MotorSport Vision (MSV) the owners of the circuit as well as other circuits such as Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, outlaid plans to redevelop Snetterton. In 2010 work began to expand the circuit, including adding a hairpin and a new infield section. By 2011 the expansion was complete, making Snetterton the second largest circuit in the UK at 2.97 miles only behind Silverstone.
Last year saw three of the most dramatic races of the season with two races being stopped due to red flags, including Hunter Abbott’s frightening barrel roll in the final round of the day, following contact with Mark Howard’s VW CC.
2016 also saw a mixture of both rear and front wheel drive cars doing well as Colin Turkington, Mat Jackson and Gordon Shedden won the three races on the day.
Heading into this year’s event, stories have been breaking about driver changes and replacements.
The first piece of news is that both Jeff Smith, Luke Davenport and Aron Taylor-Smith are all out of hospital following their horrendous crash during qualifying at Croft. All three suffered fractures, however all three are now on the mend, with Tylor-Smith expected to return this weekend,
As for Smith, it has been announced that his son, Brett will replace him for the remainder of the 2017 season, starting this weekend as Jeff continues to recover from the injuries which he sustained. Brett is currently competing in, and leading, the Mini Challenge UK, which the 25-year-old will continue to race in alongside his BTCC commitments.
Brett has won five races so far this season and gives the team their best chance of progressing forwards.
However Motorbase have revealed that they will compete with only two cars this weekend following Davenport’s own season ending injuries. In addition to this, Davenport’s car was written off in the crash and although Motorbase GT driver Rory Butcher tested the car at Snetterton earlier this month during the mid-season tyre test, no word has been confirmed as to who will replace Davenport after this weekend.
The final driver announcement is that Stewart Lines will return to the cockpit this weekend in the Maximum Motorsport Team Parker Ford Focus, following Dennis Strendberg’s return to the STCC. Strenberg was bought in for Croft following Josh Cook’s return to MG, after Daniel Lloyd left the team to compete in the TCR International series.
Qualifying is live online on ITV’s website on Saturday 29th July from 3:50 with all three races being broadcast live on ITV4. The times are as follows:
Race 1: 11:37
Race 2: 14:07
Race 3: 17:02