The Veteran - May Issue

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The newspaper for veterans produced by the Sandbag Times.

The Veteran 18 May 2019

Thruxton primed and ready for BTCC

Article: BTCC.net Image: Jakob Ebrey

T

he Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship

arrives at Thruxton this weekend

(18/19 May) for the first of its 2019 appearances

at the high-speed Hampshire track,

with the series returning in the summer (17/18

August) for another bite of the cherry.

Thirty top-tier drivers have battled it out in the

opening six rounds, producing five different

winners from the Brands Hatch Indy and Donington

Park race weekends. Reigning champion

Colin Turkington is the only driver to win

more than a single race so far in 2019, and his

victories last time out were enough to propel

him to third in the overall Drivers’ standings

behind BTC Racing’s Josh Cook and Subaru’s

Ashley Sutton. The latter currently leads the

championship having not yet taken to the top

step, though he has notched three podium finishes.

Closer than ever

The 2019 BTCC is as close as ever with the

top eight drivers in the standings separated by

fewer than 25 points, while a total of 13 different

drivers have already visited the podium.

The first two meetings have been full of surprises,

with Cook taking the honours in the

season opener, followed by victory for BMW

Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan in the second

encounter of the year – just days after the new

3 Series’ build had been completed by West

Surrey Racing. Donington Park wasn’t so kind

to Jordan, though, with his participation in the

weekend curtailed following a spectacular collision.

Rory Butcher and Tom Ingram took popular

victories in the final races at Brands Hatch and

Donington Park respectively, the latter in front

of 4,500 Toyota employees and their families

all there to cheer on Ingram in the new Corolla

with the Japanese marque making its BTCC

manufacturer return this season. This fantastic

result for the Cheshire-based team, coupled

with consistent top-ten results in the previous

8

five races, catapulted the reigning Independents’

champion to sixth in the overall standings,

just 12 points shy of the summit.

A whole host of other drivers have shown the

pace and potential to win so far this season,

and as is the norm in BTCC, they are queueing

up to take to the top step at Thruxton. The

most noteworthy has been championship

leader Ash Sutton, who is yet to win a race despite

his pole position at Brands Hatch and a

flurry of podium finishes. Another driver to

have reached the rostrum already this year is

Hampshire’s own Rob Collard. Tom Oliphant is

also one to watch after his third place at Donington

Park, while a win-double for Turkington

highlighted the BMW’s prowess throughout

that weekend.

Testing, testing

A host of Honda Civic Type Rs showed their

intent at Thruxton’s official BTCC Test Day

back in April. As the grid looked to prepare for

two 2019 visits to Hampshire, the top three positions

were locked out by Hondas. Dan Cammish

– who is yet to find himself at the sharp

end so far this season – led the way for the

Halfords Yuasa Racing works team, two tenths

clear of anyone else. Chris Smiley (second)

and Rory Butcher (third) joined Cammish at

the top of timesheets closely followed by Sutton’s

Subaru Levorg.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class runners seemed

to be there or thereabouts with Aiden Moffat in

fifth and Adam Morgan in eighth. Turkington

and Jordan in the BMWs also showed strong

pace after posting the sixth and 11th fastest

times respectively.

The top 11 drivers were less than a second

apart, giving high hopes of some close racing

and plenty of opportunities to capitalise at the

Hampshire speedbowl for Rounds 7, 8 and 9.

“It’s a huge deal that we have two BTCC meetings

at Thruxton this year,” enthused Thruxton

Group Director, Bill Coombs. “It’s the biggest

event of the year for us and to be able to have

two of those over the course of the year is just

fantastic.

“It’s a stunning weekend out, a real family

event. There are plenty of trade shows and

children’s activities to keep everyone entertained

throughout the weekend. Due to the

high-speed nature of Thruxton, the racing is

probably the closest you will see in the UK,

there’s always plenty of slipstreaming and

overtaking so it’s very hard to pick a winner.”

“Thruxton is a very unique circuit, it’s not like

any other on the calendar,” said Bath-based

racer Josh Cook, who regards the Hampshire

track as his home circuit. “We are coming here

twice this season so that means it’s even more

important to get the right setup during testing

and practice, anything we can learn will benefit

us at two race meetings.

There’s really only two braking points on the

whole circuit and then around the back section

you’re at full power for the majority of the time.

It is tricky – Church Corner is famed for its

high-speed nature. It’s certainly a circuit that I

love coming to.”

Tickets for the BTCC’s visit on 18/19 May can

be purchased on the gate, starting at £17 for

Saturday (qualifying) and £34 for Sunday (race

day). Children aged 13-15 get in for £5 on Saturday

and £10 on Sunday; accompanied children

aged 12 and under will be admitted free

of charge.

For further information, see https://thruxtonracing.co.uk/racing/btcc

or call 01264 882222.

For more information on Thruxton’s race meetings

and driving experiences,

visit: www.thruxtonracing.co.uk/

www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

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