Tag: BTCC

BTCC: Champion trio delivers at Donington Park

The three most successful drivers in the British Touring Car Championship field took a win apiece in a thrilling triple-header at Donington Park.

With seven drivers’ championships between them it was the class of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Matt Neal that rose to the surface on a brilliant day of racing in Leicestershire.

Left slightly disappointed that he couldn’t convert his superior free practice pace into pole position, Team BMR’s Plato wasted little time in reaching the race one summit.

He immediately blasted by Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R off the line and had enough grunt in his VW CC to be nudging the sister car of Turkington into the first corner. Reigning champ Turkington held on for much of the opening lap but eventually had to give way to Plato on the run to the final chicane. Plato powered away by more than a second before sustaining the gap for the remainder of the race.

Attention turned to the battle for second which resulted in some epic mid-race action. After trading places, Shedden’s Honda slid slightly wide at Redgate on lap seven and Turkington promptly angled his VW down the inside of the Japanese machine. The Ulsterman only held the position for a split second, however, as his Honda rival fought back brilliantly by returning the favour on the run to the Craner Curves.

The Scotsman managed to keep the #1 car at a relative arm’s length until the finish and celebrated second by also setting the fastest lap. The new lap record holder would now start race two from pole position ahead of Turkington.

Team BMR’s Turkington made it by the pole-sitting machine of Shedden on lap one, and although the pair scrapped ruthlessly early on, the VW eventually pulled away to take a comfortable victory. WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan took his first podium of the season to complete the rostrum.

Such has been the competitiveness to the start of the 2015 BTCC season that Turkington became the fifth different driver to win in the opening five rounds.

It was to be Matt Neal who earned bragging rights as the first double victor of the year after he came out on top of a relentless multi-car battle in the final bout.

Power Maxed Racing’s impressive rookie Josh Cook started the race from pole position and despite losing out off the line to Rob Collard’s BMW, he soon re-passed and did an absolutely stellar job at the front for the first few laps, but his hard work was soon to be undone.

The race was neutralised on lap six when Sam Tordoff’s BMW and Jack Goff’s MG had a coming together at the final chicane. Both cars were fired off into the gravel and out of the race with the Safety Car being deployed to allow marshals to retrieve both stricken vehicles. This eroded Cook’s lead and set up a spectacular end to the day.

There were changes aplenty behind as Plato’s VW, Jordan’s MG and the Mercedes of Morgan tussled in the early stages.

Aron Smith had already blazed a trail from 12th on the grid up to third prior to the incident and was into second shortly after the restart. He immediately reeled in the race-leading Chevrolet of Cook ahead of him which led to a pulsating scrap over the following few tours. The pair touched through the ultra fast Craner Curves and both cars bounced across the grass in dramatic fashion. The wild sliding VW of Smith made it back onto the track right amongst the chasing pack while Cook rejoined behind them. It was an incredible escape for both drivers but the episode left Collard out front.

Neal, who had already clashed with Jordan’s MG at the Old Hairpin, hauled in the WSR car and squeezed his Honda into the lead with just two laps to go. Jordan made it through too and he was eventually sandwiched between two Hondas as Shedden made the last step on the podium after his own stellar drive from 14th on the grid.

Collard claimed fourth ahead of an incredible drive from teenager Aiden Moffat. Not only did the Mercedes youngster make the most of the incidents ahead of him but he also made impressive late moves by previous race leaders Smith and Cook. Despite his dramas, Cook takes the lead in the Jack Sears Trophy table.

Neal leads the standings by two points from Turkington, with Shedden a further five points adrift in third. Honda takes the lead in the manufacturer/constructor standings, while Team BMR head the teams’ table.

The championship now heads to Thruxton in Hampshire on 9/10 May.

Read more at BTCC.net

BTCC: Matt Neal makes it a Honda double at Brands Hatch

Honda’s Matt Neal completed a memorable afternoon and claimed the second victory for the new Civic Type R, following team-mate Gordon Shedden’s thrilling race two win earlier in the day.

The finale got off to a dramatic start when Rob Collard’s BMW was tapped into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, whilst a quartet of runners further down the field made contact at Druids. The first safety car of the season was immediately deployed as Josh Cook’s Chevrolet and Warren Scott’s VW were also forced into retirement.

Pole-sitter Rob Austin remained out front in his Exocet AlcoSense Audi but the two-time race winner couldn’t shake off the attentions of Neal and the MG of the impressive Jack Goff. The top three pulled away following the restart as Sam Tordoff’s kept a trail of cars behind him in fourth.

2013 champion Andrew Jordan was busy having his best showing of the day on his MG debut, as he scythed his way by Tom Ingram’s Toyota and Tordoff’s BMW to grab fourth on lap 15. Aron Smith was cutting his own similar ascent through the pack and eventually followed Jordan through and into fifth.

There would be changes aplenty in the top order, however, as race-leader Austin struggled for pace late on. Neal made his move on lap 21, and was immediately followed through by Goff at Paddock, as Austin was unable to withstand the race-long pressure. Jordan was soon upon the Audi too but a mistimed attack on the approach to Clearways led to contact, with both cars scampering across the gravel. Austin recovered and went on to claim fifth while Jordan retired in the pits with a puncture.

Goff kept Neal honest throughout and although they couldn’t match the incredible closeness of the race two finish, the gap across the line of just 0.196s again went to show the ultra competitiveness of the BTCC.

Smith, Tordoff and Austin were next up on the timesheets while Ingram rounded off a solid opening day with a top six result. Adam Morgan’s Mercedes took seventh ahead of the charging Andy Priaulx, who made the most of last corner contact between Dave Newsham’s Chevrolet and Hunter Abbott’s Audi to claim eighth.

Former champions Colin Turkington, Jason Plato and Shedden all endured disappointing results for differing reasons. Turkington spun his VW at Surtees and could only recover to finish 12th while his team-mate Plato had his storm through the field halted by a power steering problem. He was able to finish the race, albeit way down the order, while Shedden’s Honda did not make the final classification after a mid-race pit stop to correct his own mechanical woes.

Read more at BTCC.net

BTCC Brands Hatch FP1: Tom Ingram is fastest

Tom Ingram was the surprise name at the top of the time sheets in the first free practice session of the new season of the BTCC at Brands Hatch this morning.

On a drying track the Speedworks Motorsport driver set a time of 50.665 seconds, more than half a second faster than the next best car, the Honda of Matt Neal
Rookie Josh Cook, runner-up in last year’s Clio Cup, was third frastest ahead of Rob Collard and Dave Newsham.

Reigning champion Colin Turkington could only manage 13th fastest in his first session with Team BMR. All three of his team mates were ahead of him, with Aron Smith seventh, Warren Scott eighth and Jason Plato 11th.

MG pair Jack Goff and Andrew Jordan spent most of the session in the garage, completing just eight laps between them.

The next free practice session is at 12:45pm.
Follow live timing and driver tracker on itv.com/btcc
Qualifying, live on itv.com/btcc at 3.30pm

Read more at ITV Sport

BTCC: New Honda Civic Type R breaks cover

Honda has announced it is to race the new Civic Type R in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

Scheduled to be officially unveiled at the BTCC media day at Donington on Tuesday 24 March, the new car has been designed and built from the ground up in the Team Dynamics workshops in Pershore, Worcestershire.

Working in close conjunction with Honda UK manufacturing in Swindon, Honda Yuasa Racing started designing the car last September with the build starting in November.

Based on the production version of the new Civic Type R which is due to hit showrooms in July, the race version will develop 350bhp with 400Nm of torque.  By building on the existing road car, which was sourced direct from the Honda UK factory in Swindon, the team has produced a car which has increased down force compared to last year’s Tourer, less drag and a more effective air flow management.

The team has high hopes for 2015 as Barry Plowman, Technical Director at Honda Yuasa Racing, explains: “We cannot wait for the new season to start.  Our car for 2015 is going to win races.  The shape of the new road going Civic Type R has allowed the team to build on the design and take it forward to be a championship winning car.

“2015 is widely being billed as the year Honda is back and we are continuing that in to BTCC. We’ve worked hard over the winter to ensure we have a winning car for 2015.”

The announcement comes as the team recently confirmed an unchanged driver line-up of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal for the sixth consecutive season.

“This is a car that not just us, but the entire automotive industry has been waiting for,” added Matt Neal. “We are as excited as anybody to start running the Civic Type R, which is a massive step forward from last year’s Tourer – from the engine to the handling and aerodynamics.”

“The Civic Type R is an iconic car,” commented 2012 BTCC Champion Shedden.  “We are champing at the bit to get this distinctive, aggressive looking car out on the track. It’s going to stand out and cause a real stir on the track. Especially when we clean up in the championship!”

Read more at btcc.net

BTCC: Jack Goff completes MG Triple Eight 2015 line-up

Reigning constructor/manufacturer champions, Triple Eight Racing, have signed BRDC SuperStar Jack Goff to a one-year race deal.

He will compete alongside 2013 BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in a second works-supported MG6.

The Briton, 23, made his series debut in 2013 after clinching the 2012 Clio Cup UK crown and has steadily progressed taking ten top-10 finishes throughout 2014, after the tail end of his debut season showed promise with a maiden BTCC podium in the final race of the year.

“It’s a thrill to start the season in the quickest front-wheel drive car on the grid,” commented Goff. “Obviously as a kid growing up, driving for a works team is the pinnacle. I’m chuffed that we’re working with Triple Eight and MG, over the course of the past three years they’ve shown that the MG is a race winner and a championship contender.

“This is an important step in my career and I have come here expecting to win races. I know what it takes to do that, I’ve shown my ability in the Clio Cup, and now I have a BTCC car and team that will give me a platform to challenge from. There’s a really good buzz at Triple Eight; you walk around the factory and there are so many trophies and references to winning in the BTCC. Add that to having a former BTCC champion in Andrew (Jordan) in the team, it really gives me a lot of confidence for the year ahead.

The Buckinghamshire-based driver added: “This is an unforgettable moment that I owe to all of those who have supported me – my family, my friends, and of course my partners 5 Star Cases, AC Entertainment Technologies, The HSL Group & RCIB Insurance, who without their help, I wouldn’t be on the grid this year.”

Triple Eight Racing’s Founder and Managing Director, Ian Harrison believes Goff will complement Jordan well and is excited about the new line-up for the 23-times champions, who will set out to defend their 2014 Constructor/Manufacturer title won with MG.

“Jack is a young guy on a journey to become a top BTCC driver. It’s great that he is with us; he fits with what we’re trying to do. We spoke to several drivers over the off-season, but when we found out Jack was available it was clear he was the best option for us. Everybody remembers the 2013 last round at Brands with (Gordon) Shedden and we need him to try to replicate that, albeit on a regular basis.

“We’ll aim to get him working in a methodical way, aid his development as a driver and give him a car that will allow him to show what he can really do behind the wheel in a BTCC car. We need Jack to be running in the top eight all the time and becoming a regular front-runner as the season progresses to enable us to defend the manufacturers title for MG.”

Harrison continues: “We said early on that what we want is someone who fits the demographic for MG; Jack ticks the box for MG, but also for us. We want to continue to win races, take podiums and lock out front-rows in qualifying, so for us Jack is the perfect compliment to Andy. It’s a nice story for MG too; he started his racing in one of its cars, and now things have gone full circle and he is in a works MG BTCC car.”

Goff has a significant allegiance to MG and is no stranger to its devoted fan following, having begun his racing in a MG and owned seven MG road cars. The arrival at Triple Eight as a MG works-supported driver sees the Triple Eight driver go ‘pro’ with the Longbridge-based brand.

“I started my track driving with MGs in the MG Trophy Championship in the ZR and having had lots of MGs in my lifetime, I have a real soft spot for them. I spent a lot of hours working on my MG racecars in the garage! The MG brand is huge and it has one of the most devoted and passionate sets of supporters of any car manufacturer. To hopefully have the weight of that support is going to be a real bonus this season.”

MG’s head of Sales and Marketing, Matthew Cheyne was pleased with the signing, adding: “Jack is a likeable young racer who has yet to realise his full potential. We’ve seen Triple Eight aid the development of drivers of all ages, and look forward to Jack achieving new levels of track success with MG, the brand he began his career with.”

The new MG-man won’t have to wait too long for his first test in the MG6 racer either, with his Triple Eight debut scheduled this time next week (Wednesday 4th March) at the Leicestershire track, Donington Park, with a further two tests planned before the series media launch back at Donington some three weeks later.

“This year we’ve got four days of testing planned before the first race, and it will actually be the first time I’ve properly run at the media day; we’ve never really got on track at it before. I just can’t wait for my first run in the MG6; I got a taste of what to expect when I had my seat fitting recently and I’ve spoken to Andy (Jordan) too. Bring on 2015!”

The deal will see Goff’s MG feature a different livery to that of past years, and the bold new design will be unveiled at the upcoming BTCC media day on Tuesday 24th March.

To complement the announcement, at 20:00 GMT tonight, Jack will takeover the official BTCC Twitter account (@DUNLOPBTCC) for a live Twitter Chat for approximately an hour. Fans and media alike can get involved, and should submit questions directly to the @DUNLOPBTCC handle, using the hashtag #AskJack.

Read more at btcc.net

BTCC: Colin Turkington and Jason Plato to race BMR Volkswagens

British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington and record race winner Jason Plato will race as team-mates in Team BMR Volkswagens in 2015.

The top two drivers from last year’s championship fight join Aron Smith and team boss Warren Scott in the fledgling outfit’s quartet of CCs for only its second season in the BTCC.

Both Turkington, whose departure from West Surrey Racing was confirmed last Friday, and ex-MG driver Plato have been signed on multi-year deals, with the team’s marquee 2014 signing Alain Menu and Jack Goff making way.

“It’s taken a while to get to this point and I am relieved,” Turkington told AUTOSPORT.

“I always tried to keep my options open because I knew I was in a potentially very tricky situation.

“I’ve spent quite a few weeks not knowing if I would even be racing at all. That was not easy to understand, having just won the championship.

“I feel it’s the best option outside of WSR. You want to go somewhere you feel you have the chance to win. Given time, there will be the possibility to do that.”

Scott’s team has also signed engineering heavyweights Carl Faux and Kevin Berry to help advance its fleet of CCs.

Plato worked with Faux at MG while Berry, who was at Triple Eight with Plato in 2012, was Turkington’s engineer at WSR for the last two years.

Double champion Plato, whose last title came with the RML-run Chevrolet operation in 2010, believes that technical strength will fast-track the team’s progression from reverse-grid race winner to championship challenger.

“It’s a race-winning car in race three, it’s still not there yet,” he added. “The main thing for me is the right people are involved in the programme.

“I worked with KB in 2012 and Carlos basically designed and developed the MG into the best car on the grid.

“Those two being involved and running the technical department is a very clear sign of how the team’s going to move forward.”

Team boss Scott said he had no worries about managing two of the championship’s best drivers, and played down the suggestion that the inexperience of the team would be a limitation.

“I think the team has coped extremely well with the steps we’ve taken so far,” he told AUTOSPORT. “Although we’re only a two-year-old team, if you look at our years of experience we’ve got a wealth of it.

“If I was going to play, I’d have one car. With four, I’m going to do it properly. When the opportunities come, you’ve got to take them.”

Read more at Autosport

BTCC: Rob Collard completes WSR line-up

West Surrey Racing has confirmed that Rob Collard will complete its driver line-up in this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The team has already added young race winner Sam Tordoff and triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx to its ranks and has now re-signed the experienced Collard for a sixth consecutive season.

Collard, who has taken eight race victories in his BTCC career to date – all with WSR, finished sixth in the overall championship last season and helped the squad win both the teams’ and independent teams’ titles.

The Hampshire-based driver has been part of the BMW 1 Series programme since its inception in early 2013 and has gone on to enjoy one victory and a further seven podiums in the all-conquering 125i M Sport WSR designed and built machine.

Collard brings with him continued support from the Duo Group and Hitachi Construction Equipment.

WSR commences its pre-season testing with two days of running at Thruxton next week (18/19 February) where its refined cars will come up against much of its tin-top opposition. All three drivers are expected to be in attendance with further test dates planned during February and March before the BTCC Season Launch takes place at Donington Park on 24th March.

The opening three rounds of the 30-race season will get underway at Brands Hatch on 5th April. Every race throughout the season will be screened live and exclusively on ITV4.

Rob Collard said: “I am delighted to be racing for WSR for the sixth consecutive season and it’ll be my eighth in total with the team in the BTCC. We have had some great memories together and I believe there are many more to come. I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel during testing over the coming week as we prepare to defend our titles in 2015.”

Dick Bennetts, WSR Team Principal, said: “Rob has been a mainstay of WSR for a number of years and we’re extremely pleased to have him signed up for another season. It’s great to welcome the talents of both Andy Priaulx and Sam Tordoff into the team but we felt it was vital to have some continuity in our driving ranks. Rob’s speed and experience are there for all to see and he will, as ever, play a key role in helping WSR challenge for more titles.”

Read more at btcc.net

BTCC: “I really want the Championship back” says Jordan

Andrew Jordan enjoyed a faultless debut run in the manufacturer-backed MG6 at Brands Hatch yesterday (12 February), completing more than 70 laps of the 1.2 mile Indy circuit.

The 2013 BTCC champion’s return to Triple Eight Racing has been one of the biggest stories of the off-season so far and the squad has wasted little time in kicking off its all-important test programme.

A steady start to the day in damp and chilly conditions gradually increased in intensity with the Lichfield-based driver piling on the lap count after lunch.

“The car is great, as you’d expect from a 2014 title challenger,” he said. “It’s very quick and rides the kerbs well. It’s hard to be too accurate with the assessment as it was so cold that the tyres were warmer when I came in and crossed them than after a ten-lap run.

“First impressions are that the general feeling’s pretty similar [to the Honda] to be honest. It is all the same running gear, so there aren’t too many differences in terms of fundamentals. The Swindon engine has different characteristics to the MG, which I thought it would and I think the engine will be more challenging to drive, which I’ll enjoy, because the power comes in more aggressively than the Honda did.”

Despite the change of machinery Jordan will be chasing a hat-trick of pole positions on the opening day of the season after he kicked of both his 2013 and 2014 campaigns with a flying performance in qualifying.

“We’ve been on pole the last two times here on the Indy circuit at Brands and I think that has something to do with us being early to test and experiencing conditions that we’ll probably face at the first race,” he continued.

“This test has provided us with a couple of interesting ideas for things to try. We’ve got another test here in a few weeks time, which I hope will be dry. I’d love to repeat last year’s form and get pole plus a couple of wins. That’s my aim because it would make a cracking statement.”

Jordan has already competed for the multiple championship-winning team back in 2010, but it’s fair to say that with a number of race wins and a BTCC title under his belt, the Pirtek-supported racer is at a completely different stage of his career.

“It’s a very different scenario to when I was here last,” enthuses Jordan. “Back then I didn’t win a race, so that’s certainly something I want to change! It’s been great to come back to Triple Eight. There are a few familiar faces here still; I know Ian [Harrison, Triple Eight Racing founder and MD] very well for example.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve had an arm round the shoulder, I’m not sure I’d want that either, but the whole team have been really warm and welcoming. In our technical meetings I’ve been very sure about what I want, it’s pointless coming in and just sitting there, and I have a lot of experience now, so it’s important to use that and get my views across.

“From the moment I started I wanted to be a full factory driver, so the outcome of that happening is something I’ve had plenty of time to consider. Last year I took to the grid as champion and that brought about an added confidence; I feel the same about being a works driver.”

The 25-year-old is clear to point out that yesterday was just the beginning of months of hard work, which he ultimately hopes will end with him winning his second title later this year.

“The Indy circuit at Brands doesn’t give me much chance to evaluate the aero, which I know is a strong characteristic of the MG,” he concluded. “I’m looking forward to visiting Thruxton next week because there’s a lot I want to try there; I’m really excited about trying to get the MG to improve there because I love the track.

“I’m here to do my job and get the most out of the season that I can and give my sponsors some podium celebrations. I really want the championship back. I have no doubt that Triple Eight can help me deliver the drivers’ title this year, there’s no reason why we can’t do it. We’ve assembled a good team of talented people and now I need to make sure I do my job on track and become a good team leader.”

Read more at btcc.net

BTCC: Turkington and MG crowned by Todt and Surtees

FIA President Jean Todt and Formula 1 legend John Surtees crowned the 2014 MSA British Champions at the Night of Champions ceremony.

Reigning BTCC champion Colin Turkington and Guy Jones – representing manufacturer winners MG – were among those awarded.

Alan Gow, Chairman of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), welcomed the winners of UK motor sport’s most prestigious titles to the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall for the annual awards evening. They were joined by a series of special award winners, each recognised for outstanding achievement throughout the past year.
Todt, who leads world motor sport’s governing body, took the opportunity to praise the breadth and depth of UK motor sport, while paying tribute to the MSA’s efforts to promote road safety messages in support of the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign.

Surtees, the only world champion on two wheels and four, entertained guests by recollecting the 50th anniversary celebrations of his 1964 F1 title.

Respected broadcaster Steve Rider returned as Master of Ceremonies and was joined by long-time colleague Louise Goodman.

Alan Gow, MSA Chairman, said: “The MSA Night of Champions is always a great occasion and a highlight of the domestic motor sport calendar. But the evening is not ours; it is our champions’ night and we were delighted to welcome them to the Royal Automobile Club to celebrate their achievements and successes. We were also honoured to have our FIA President, Jean Todt, with us throughout the evening and thank him for his contribution to such a special occasion.”

Read more at btcc.net

BTCC: Motorbase switches to Ecoboost for 2015

Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum announced the squad’s Ford Focus ST will benefit from Ford EcoBoost engines for the 2015 BTCC  campaign.

Starting with a standard Ford 2-litre EcoBoost engine; development work has been carried out during the closed season by mountune to ensure that the engine meets NGTC specifications, with technical partners Samco Sport, Pro Alloy and Speciality Fasteners all providing crucial background assistance throughout the process.

With the first engine build and preliminary tests now complete, the Motorbase squad is preparing to embark on a significant pre-season testing programme ahead of the opening round of the 2015 BTCC season at the team’s local Brands Hatch circuit on April 4/5.

“It’s been a busy winter for us behind the scenes, but I’m delighted to be in a position to finally go public with this very exciting development for Motorbase. The Ford EcoBoost engine has been a long time in the planning and it’s only really come together in recent months thanks to the great teamwork and input from mountune and our technical partners;” commented Team Principal David Bartrum.

This latest project marks another new era in the highly successful heritage between Motorbase Performance, mountune and the Blue Oval and initial tests on the direct injection system have produced some promising results.

“There’s still more development to do before the start of the season” explained mountune Technical Director, David Mountain. “Having said that, we’re confident that by the first round we’ll have a strong package available, from which we can build on during the course of the season.”

Bartrum added; “It’s early days yet and we’ve obviously still got a long way to go in terms of testing and development but it’s great news for Motorbase, Ford and the BTCC and I’m confident that we’ll be back in the thick of it once more when the flag drops in April.”

Having already confirmed that former sports-car driver Alex Martin will race one of the three Motorbase-built Ford Focus ST’s in 2015, the full driver line up and new team sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks.

Read more at btcc.net