The British Touring Car Championship returns to action on Sunday, with another sensational season on the cards. With 32 cars, 15 race winners and 5 former Champions, the series looks stronger than ever for its Diamond Jubilee year. Set to take place over thirty rounds, across ten different race weekends, at nine venues around the UK, the 2018 BTCC is one of the most anticipated motorsport championships in the world.
Celebrating 60 years of success, the Championship is one of the longest standing series stretching all the way back to 1958. Special events are planned at the Silverstone Classic, Goodwood Festival of Speed and more, with a ‘Diamond Double’ race at Snetterton on the 29thJuly also on the schedule. The 60-mile race without success ballast and with double championship points is set to be a highlight of the season and will be critical in the Championship contenders title push.
“This will be my 14th year in the BTCC and although I’ve been in the Championship for nearly a quarter of its Diamond status, I feel fitter and fresher than ever. One thing I’ve learned from having a career in sport is that every year you must be prepared to work harder than ever and seek improvements in every aspect of your life.
Every season adds another layer of experience and knowledge and every season presents another opportunity to arrive better prepared than ever.
Success in the BTCC requires a melting pot of many things and I believe the consistency with Team BMW and West Surrey Racing are two of the key ingredients. I can’t wait to commence my 11th BTCC season with WSR and 7th with BMW. I count myself extremely lucky to be surrounded by the best in the business and with a manufacture of such status.
We had a competitive car here last year and even though I suffered some terrible luck in race 1, we turned it around for a podium in race 3. Based on our recent test results I’m confident we wont be too far away this time around and I’ll be aiming for three consistent top 10 finishes.
There’s a long season ahead and I’m sure we’ll all face our fair share of challenges throughout the year, but the aim is to arrive at the season finale’ with a shot at the title.
I enjoyed the 2017 season so much more than any year before and I hope in 2018 we can do more of the same.”
TURKINGTON FOR TITLE?
After finishing runner-up last year, Colin Turkington declared at the official Media Day last week (read the review here) he was hungrier than ever for his third crown. Admitting that his “chin didn’t stay down for too long,” Turkington hailed the support he received following the event as indication to the reach of his efforts. Far from slipping under the radar, he has caught the eye of many, nonetheless than the experts from ITV4. Scrutinising every practice, qualifying and race in detail, the ITV racers-turned-TV personalities Tim Harvey and Paul O’Neill, along with lead commentator David Addison have all tipped ‘Turkington’ for the title.
Answering some of the hot topics going into the new BTCC campaign, the three TV pundits sat down with leading publication Motorsport News for a feature out today.
Motorsport News: Who is going to be champion?
Tim Harvey: “Colin Turkington. Because consistently he is always challenging for the title, and he has all the goods at his disposal.”
Paul O’Neill: “Turkington.”
David Addison: “Turkington. He is a top-class driver in a top-class team. Nothing is left to chance at WSR. Turkington knows how to wrap up points, he knows how to win championships and he rarely makes mistakes.”
BTCC RACE WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Race 1: 11:35am
Race 2: 2:25pm
Race 3: 5:15pm
Circuit length: 1.21 miles
Qualifying record: Tom Ingram, 47.990s, 2016
Race record: Matt Neal, 48.498s, 2011
WATCH THE ACTION LIVE THIS WEEKEND
Showing live on ITV4 this Sunday from 10:15am, Brands Hatch will be broadcast LIVE throughout the day. Make sure to double up on social media with plenty of behind the scenes info and pictures on Colin’s facebook, twitter and instagram accounts.
SATURDAY 7TH APRIL
Qualifying live online from 3:10pm
SUNDAY 8TH APRIL
Watch on ITV4 live from 10:15am
Following the 2017 season a few changes to the rules and regulations were made.
1. Race 3 reversed grid ballot will extend to the top 12 finishers of the second race. This means the winner of race 2 could potentially commence race 3 in 12th position on the grid.
2. Increase in driving standards penalties. Fines will be increased and a ‘strike’ will last for 12 months since date of application.
SEE ALL 2018 RULE UPDATES HERE
The BTCC grid will use the SOFT compound as the option tyre at Brands Hatch. The drivers must choose which one race they will run the option tyre before qualifying on Saturday afternoon.