Kwik Fit | Thursday 4th April 2019 3:00pm
With the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season kicking off this weekend, we are looking forward to seeing how the drivers and cars will perform. Last weekend, all the cars were out on the track at Brands Hatch for testing ahead of the start of the season. Sam Tordoff, driving the Honda Civic Type R for AMD tuning, recorded the fastest lap times in pre-season testing followed closely by Rory Butcher. The strong performance of the Hondas in testing should give the team confidence ahead of the first race of the season. However, other teams and drivers will be hoping to challenge Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff.
This seasonís BTCC line up is a mixture of both youth and experience. With new drivers like Daniel Rowbottom, making the step up from the Renault Clio Cup, five former champions and an ex Formula One Driver in Mark Blundell, this season is set to be competitively contested. Hereís a quick look at how the teams are shaping up going into the first race of the season.
with AmD Tuning
Racing for Trade Price Cars this season are Mark Blundell and Jake Hill. Hill is coming back into the BTCC and will be driving a racing Audi A3 saloon which has undergone extensive pre-season testing. Hill will be aiming for some podium finishes this season. One of the biggest surprises on the grid this season is ex Formula One driver Mark Blundell. Blundell is looking forward to the move to the BTCC. However, he is reluctant to set any goals for this season knowing how unpredictable and challenging the championship can be.
Owned by Matt Simpson, he is the only driver racing for his team in the Honda Civic Type R. Finishing in the top 10 independent drivers last year, Simpson will be hoping for a strong season again this year.
Flux Subaru Racing (BMR Racing)
With Senna Proctor and Ashley Sutton taking the wheel for Team BMR, they are hopeful of a competitive season. Both drivers were close in terms of lap times in pre-season testing so they will be competing against each other as well as the rest of the field.
Josh Cook and Chris Smiley will represent team BTC racing in this seasonís championship. Smiley won team BTC their first BTCC race last season at Rockingham. Driving in the Honda Civic, both drivers will be hoping to make an impact on the podium this season.
Team BMW & BMW
Pirtek Racing (West Surrey Racing)
West Surrey Racing have undergone rigorous testing of their new BMWs ahead of this season. In spite of the fears that the team didnít have enough time to prepare the car for this season, driver Andrew Jordan recorded some speedy lap times in pre-season testing at Brands Hatch. Jordan will be one to watch this season to see how the new BMW 3 Series competes. Also driving for West Surrey Racing will be reigning champion Colin Turkington who will be looking to match last season's success. Tom Oliphant makes up the final member of the team and will be hoping for success in the new 3 series
Racing with Ciceley Motorsport
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be driven by BTCC newcomer Daniel Rowbottom. After competing in the Renault Clio Cup for three years, Rowbottom is taking the next step up to touring car racing. After his successes in the Clio Cup, Rowbottom will be hoping to be just as competitive in the BTCC this season.
Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/ RCIB Insurance (AmD Tuning)
Topping the standings in pre-season testing, AMD Tuning will be hoping for more of the same this weekend at Brands Hatch. With Sam Tordoff recording the fastest time closely followed by Rory Butcher, the new Honda Civic Type Rs look to be performing well ahead of this season. Worries that it may take the drivers time to get used to the new cars seem to have been eased by last weekís performance.
A new BTCC team with two new BTCC drivers, Exceler8 Motorsport will be looking to be in the mix for podium finishes this season. Drivers Sam Osborne and Rob Smith have experience in the Mini Challenge with Exceler8 and will be hoping the partnership continues to be successful in the BTCC.
GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct (Team HARD Racing)
Driving for team HARD this season are Michael Crees and Bobby Thompson in the Volkswagen CC. Although they experienced a difficult season last year, they will be hoping for a better season this time out. With Thompson being last seasonís Ginetta GT4 Supercup Champion, he will be hoping to replicate his success in the BTCC with team HARD.
Insurance with Fox Transport (Team HARD Racing)
The other part of Team HARDís BTCC racing teams, this team performed better in the 2018 season. Driving for this team will be Jack Goff and Carl Boardley. Making his return to the team he started out with, Goff will be hoping to record more BTCC race wins this season.
Halfords Yuasa Racing (Team Dynamics Motorpsort)
Team Dynamics are the only team with the same car and drivers as 2018. With both Matt Neal and Dan Cammish having strong seasons last year and the team coming second overall, they will be hoping to build on that form this season.
Laser Tools Racing
Represented solely by Aiden Moffat, Laser Tools Racing have completely rebuilt their Mercedes-Benz A-Class over the winter. The car has been engineered for the best possible race performance through improvements such as making the car lighter. Moffat will be looking to add to his impressive BTCC career with more race wins this season.
Mac Tools Racing with Ciceley Motorsport
Like Laser Tools Racing, Ciceley Motorsport will be fielding a Mercedes- Benz A-Class this season. Driven by Adam Morgan, the car look set to be able to offer high levels of performance this season helping to propel Ciceley up the BTCC Independentsí standings.
RoKiT Racing with Motorbase
Nicholas Hamiltonís journey to the BTCC is an inspiring one. Competing in his first season, Hamilton spoke at the season launch event about his goals of improving his driving skills in his first BTCC season.
Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing
With two of the most experienced drivers racing for Power Maxed this season, they will be hoping to rack up the race wins this season. With a combined total of 111 wins, it will be difficult for the newcomers to knock these experienced drivers off the podium.
Team Parker Racing
Team Parker Racing are also represented by experience this season. Stephen Jelley is hoping for consistency this season and will be hoping to build on his BTCC career with more podium finishes in 2019.
Team Toyota GB with Ginsters (Speedworks Motorsport)
Racing for Team Toyota GB is Tom Ingram in the new Toyota Corolla. The Corolla hasnít been part of the BTCC for 30 years so itíll be interesting to see how Ingram fares in it this season.
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher
Driving the Ford Focus RS, Tom Chilton and Ollie Jackson will look to push on from last yearís fourth place team finish. Chilton will be hoping to improve on his third place finish in the Driversí Standings in 2018. Jackson has won a championship with Motorbase in the Porsche Carrera Cup and will be hoping for more race wins this season.
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Thursday 18th April 2019
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