The official entry list for the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has been revealed ahead of the official Media Day at Brands Hatch.
23 cars have been registered to compete for honours this year, and the grid features 10 different makes of car from 7 different manufacturers, along with two manufacturers running works cars – Honda Racing with 2005 and 2006 Champion Matt Neal and rapid Scotsman Gordon Shedden, who has returned to the team.
Meanwhile, Jason Plato and Alex MacDowall have been announced at Silverline Chevrolet – the first time in BTCC History that Chevrolet has entered as a full works outfit, and they debut their Cruze model. Plato is one of the most successful drivers ever in the BTCC, and will be looking to beat the 60 wins that Andy Rouse recorded during his time. MacDowall, by contrast, is going to be the youngest driver on the grid at 19. MacDowall finished runner up in the Elf Renault Clio Cup in 2009.
In the financial times that the UK is currently experiencing, this years BTCC is set up to be one of the most competitive in recent history, and compared to other national touring car series, the BTCC is battling the economic crisis.
As well as the 4 works backed entries, 2010 sees the return of the Volkswagen name to the BTCC grid for the first time since 1989, with AmD Milltek entering a VW Golf MK5 for Shaun Hollamby, while Lea Wood joins Paul O'Neill and John George in running a Honda Integra.
The seven different manufacturers in the 2010 BTCC:
|Manufacturer||Car||Number of cars|
|Ford||Ford Focus ST||2|
|Honda||Honda Civic Type R, Integra, Civic||6|
|Vauxhall||Vauxhall Astra Coupe, Vectra||5|
|Volkswagen||VW Golf Mk5||1|
The biggest name missing from the entry list is the 2009 Champion, Colin Turkington. After RAC scaled back their sponsorship of the WSR team, Turkington hasn't found the required funding to enter, although he plans to get back in later in the season.
WSR are present on the grid, again running a brace of BMW's for former Airwaves BMW driver Rob Collard and miracle man Andy Neate, who is in the BTCC, 18 months after suffering life threatening injuries in a start line accident at Silverstone.
WSR aren't the only team running the German marquee, Airwaves BMW have signed up 2008 series runner up Mat Jackson and 2008 driver Steven Kane to front their challenge. Airwaves BMW, according to the fans, have what some consider the strongest line up.
Former Mini Challenge runners Martin Depper and Arthur Forster are running both the former Mat Jackson BMW's under the Forster Motorsport banner, both team and drivers are making their debut in the series.
The Team AON Ford Focus’s have added a unique feature to the grid – the cars will be run on LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) – instead of normal petrol.
Speaking about the field, BTCC Series Director Alan Gow said: “This is a fantastic start to our new season and a new decade for the BTCC.”
“Globally, motor sport has really felt the pinch of late following what has been a very cruel recession, yet the BTCC continues to buck that trend and set an example for many other high-profile series around the world, as shown by our 2010 entry list.
“I'm immensely proud of the huge efforts made by the teams, drivers and sponsors during the winter to ensure they are here, but the fact they continue to want to compete and succeed in the BTCC speaks volumes for this great championship's ability to excite, inspire and reward at the very highest level in the UK. No doubt, as normal, even more teams and drivers will join the championship during the course of the season – which is further testament to the BTCC as being Britain's biggest drawcard for teams, drivers and sponsors.
“Just to remind people of a few facts: our trackside crowds are often bigger than many Premiership football games; we are watched by many millions on TV, in both the UK and right around the world, thanks to our truly terrific broadcast partner ITV; we enjoy the tremendous support of a hugely passionate title sponsor in Dunlop; plus, the free admission for children and unrivalled interaction between the public and the stars all make the BTCC a unique sporting attraction.
“The BTCC remains way ahead of all other motor racing series in Britain in terms of public profile, variety, action, competitive rivalry, unpredictability, popularity and levels of professionalismâ€¦ and our entry list again underlines its stature. In fact, many other international series look at our championship with real envy. I look forward to what promises to be another phenomenal season in the BTCC's illustrious history.”
The official 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Entry list:
|2||Jason Plato||Silverline Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze||Manufacturer|
|4||Matt Neal||Team Honda||Honda Civic||Manufacturer|
|5||Mat Jackson||Airwaves BMW||BMW 320si E90||Independent|
|6||Rob Collard||WSR||BMW 320si E90||Independent|
|11||Steven Kane||Airwaves BMW||BMW 320si E90||Independent|
|20||Alex MacDowall||Silverline Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze||Manufacturer|
|21||Tom Onslow-Cole||Team AON||Ford Focus ST||Independent|
|22||Tom Boardman||Special Tuning UK||Seat Leon||Independent|
|23||Tom Chilton||Team AON||Ford Focus ST||Independent|
|27||Martin Johnson||Boulevard Team Racing||Vauxhall Astra Coupe||Independent|
|28||John George||Sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport||Honda Integra||Independent|
|29||Paul O'Neill||Sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport||Honda Integra||Independent|
|30||Martin Depper||Forster Motorsport||BMW 320si E90||Independent|
|37||Arthur Forster||Forster Motorsport||BMW 320si E90||Independent|
|43||Lea Wood||Central Group Racing||Honda Integra||Independent|
|44||Andy Neate||WSR||BMW 320si E90||Independent|
|52||Gordon Shedden||Team Honda||Honda Civic||Manufacturer|
|55||David Pinkney||Pinkney Motorsport||Vauxhall Vectra||Independent|
|77||Andrew Jordan||Pirtek Racing||Vauxhall Vectra||Independent|
|TBA/88||TBA||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Vauxhall Vectra||Independent|
|98||Matt Hamilton||TH Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R||Independent|
|99||Shaun Hollamby||AmD Milltek Racing.com||VW Golf Mk 5||Independent|
|TBA/888||TBA||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Vauxhall Vectra||Independent|
Photo credit: BTCC.net