For 2013, BTCC series director Alan Gow threw a lifeline to the plucky, but dying breed of S2000-specification machinery, handing them a championship of their own to fight it out for what may well be one final time…
2013 may very well have seen the curtain closing on S2000 touring cars’ participation in the BTCC akin to poor entries late in the season, but they still had time to offer fans a sideshow spectacle to remember them by, the Jack Sears Trophy dominated by Vauxhall Vectra driver Lea Wood with a total of 18 Cups earning him the inauguaral class title.
The first half of the newly-formed S2000 class – named in honour of the BTCC’s maiden champion, Jack Sears – showed glimmers of a fizzing title fight in prospect, with four different winners from the opening six races.
Liam Griffin (Motorbase) and the vastly experienced BTCC returnee, James Kaye (AmDTuning.com) were the drivers to lead proceedings in those early meetings, but they soon wilted under the pressure of Vauxhall Vectra driver Wood who showed his giant-killing 2012 form to ultimately become unstoppable.
After a race two Donington win, Wood then hit form at the following meeting at Thruxton with two triumphs which sparked a run towards what would become a dominant title win.
The second half of the season was quite sensational from Wood, who added his first hat-trick at Snetterton following the summer break – what would be the first of three to land his way during the year with trebles also at Rockingham and Silverstone gifting him an early title before completing a tally of 18 wins from the 30 encounters contested.
A much-rejuvinated Griffin kept Wood honest at times during the year, most notably at Oulton Park and Knockhill during some hugely competitive tin-top dogfights between the pair that kept both parties very entertained, but in the end the Motorbase man had to second for second in class with six cup wins to his name.
The was also a fond farewell given to a BTCC favourite meanwhile, as AmDTuning said goodbye to their Volkswagen Golf. Shaun Hollamby‘s squad were desperately unlucky not to add more than the three class wins they eventually claimed in 2013, mechanical problems plaguing Kaye’s chances of further triumphs from races he had been leading comfortably (Donington and Thruxton the prime examples).
APR Volkswagen Racing Cup champion Aaron Mason enjoyed a debut run in the Golf at Oulton Park before Kaye’s outing at Croft became the penultimate meeting for the car.
Having started its life, Hollamby duly also did the final duties at Brands Hatch and emerged with a huge smile etched across his face as he claimed an underdog victory on his class debut following a Wood spin, to send the Golf into a happy retirement.
Star performances also came at the rain-disturbed fifth outing of the year at Croft, Jake Hill announcing himself as a BTCC star in the making with a super-sub performance for Motorbase in place of Griffin, netting pole and race one’s class victory in fine style.
Race two that day witnessed the best scrap of the season, David Nye rewarded for a fighting defensive drive against Hill and Wood to claim his and Welch Motorsport‘s one and only Jack Sears victory of the season, the trio covered by less than a second for the entire race.
Aiden Moffat became the youngest driver to enter the BTCC at just 16 years of age in a Chevrolet Cruze, a car which also took a Cup win along the way in the hands of Joe Girling at Donington for M247 Racing before the youngster’s season was ended prematurely by a heavy qualifying shunt at Croft circuit.
Final Jack Sears Trophy standings:
1) Lea Wood – 18 wins
2) Liam Griffin – 6 wins
3) James Kaye – 2 wins
4) Joe Girling/Jake Hill/Shaun Hollamby/David Nye – 1 win each