With the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and its band of support series’ starting their 2014 season this weekend at Brands Hatch (29/30 March), The Checkered Flag have picked out our top twenty five drivers in the support championship we feel you should be keeping an eye on over the course of the upcoming campaign.
Part one of our countdown, published yesterday, covered places 25 to 19. If you missed it, you can read it by clicking here.
Today we’re counting you down from 18 to 10. First up, it’s a returning Formula Ford driver with a household motorsport name …
18. Sam Brabham
Whilst he may have been a late starter in last year’s Formula Ford GB, Brabham made an immediate impression in his first car-racing campaign, gaining vital experience whilst taking six podium finishes and fourth in the championship.
While Brabham was able to quietly go about his business last season while team-mate Dan Cammish garnered all the attention, this year the third-generation racer will be firmly in the spotlight as he mounts a title challenge with JTR and continues the Brabham legacy.
17. Andrew Watson
2013 was a frustrating first Ginetta GT Supercup campaign for Watson. He showed great raw pace from the off, picking up a few pole positions and podium finishes, but a number of problems meant he couldn’t get a consistent run of front-running results together.
The Irishman hopes continuity will be the key for a successful 2014 as he sticks with regular team Douglas Motorsport, and he has been tipped by many of his rivals to be one of the main contenders this season.
16. Ant Whorton-Eales
For Whorton-Eales, 2013 was a year defined by one moment, the overtaking move of the season he produced at Rockingham en-route to his maiden Renault UK Clio Cup victory in September.
After showing plenty of promise in his Clio career beforehand, that win has moved Whorton-Eales to the next level and he’s now expected to be one of the drivers in the thick of the Clio title battle, as he embarks on his second campaign in the coveted SV Racing/KX Akademy camp.
15. Jack Mitchell
Mitchell starred in his maiden Ginetta Junior campaign last season, showing great pace and racecraft as he became the first rookie to collect a race win, punching above his weight as a privateer up against the established front-running teams
For the new season, Mitchell has joined forces with one of those teams, JHR Developments. With the team’s experience behind him, as well as team-mates to push him forward, Mitchell has all the ingredients required to put together a title challenge.
14. Carl Breeze
It proved to a tough title defence last season for 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup champion Breeze, who struggled to keep pace with runaway champion Tom Ingram, meaning the 34 year old is now fired up to reclaim his title this time out.
Breeze has linked up with GT powerhouses United Autosports for 2014, and with all his experience in the category, it wouldn’t be a smart move to bet against him being in title contention come the end of the season.
13. Paul Rivett
The triple Renault UK Clio Cup champion is back to challenge for a fourth title, and will be fired up to taste victory with category newcomers WDE Motorsport after a heart-breaking end to 2013.
Despite all his experience in the category, it will be an interesting year of new challenges for the 35 year old as he gets to grips with the new Clio, as well as juggling his driving duties with his new role as WDE team manager.
12. Charlie Robertson
After only one season in single-seaters, a championship-challenging year in BRDC Formula 4 that earnt him a McLaren Autosport BRDC Award nomination, Robertson is returning to Ginetta racing this season in the GT4 Supercup.
Although his HHC Motorsport team is new to the Supercup, after their respective successes in Ginetta Juniors, it’ll be no surprise to see both team and driver adapt to the car quickly and challenge at the front from the off, just like they did together in F4 last year.
11. Michael Meadows
In a move that has caught a few by surprise, 2012 and 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Meadows is returning to defend his crown this season alongside an expected British GT campaign.
With the new 991 car being introduced this season, 2014 marks a new challenge for the 26 year old. While another championship win is not a foregone conclusion by any means then, with his experience in the category, he’ll be confident of completing his Porsche GB hat-trick.
10. Juan Rosso
Rosso took his time to get going as he adapted to Formula Ford GB last season, but the newcomer certainly showed his potential with a breakthrough performance at Knockhill, and then a stunning treble win on the final weekend at Brands Hatch.
While Rosso has made a change of team for the new season, joining Radical Motorsport, his performances last year indicates he has a real chance of becoming the first South American Formula Ford GB champion since 1982.
*Come back tomorrow to find out who our final 9 are, and who we’ve chosen as the number 1 BTCC support driver to watch in 2014. Who would your number 1 be? Let us know by commenting below, or by tweeting us @thecheckerflag*
Banner image: Jakob Ebrey Photography (Ginetta, Renault, Ford), Malcolm Griffiths (Porsche). All other images: Jakob Ebrey Photography, except Michael Meadows (credit: Trackside GB)