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25 BTCC Support Stars To Watch: Full-Time Report

11 Mins read

At the start of the season, The Checkered Flag picked our way through the entry lists of the British Touring Car Championship’s band of support championships to select our 25 drivers to watch in 2014.

From the five championships (Formula Ford GB, Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ginetta GT4 Supercup, Ginetta Juniors, Renault UK Clio Cup), we picked out a broad range of drivers including returning champions, experienced contenders and bright young talents we felt were set to impress this season.

Read our initial countdown and our half-term update by clicking here.

With a memorable 2014 season now behind us, here’s a look back to see how each of our selections got on:

25. Ricky Collard – 7th, Formula Ford GB

What we said: “Collard will be aiming to make an impression this season, and should hit the ground running from the opening weekend.”

Mid-Season: As expected Collard made a quick start with an outright podium on the opening weekend. He’s certainly impressed and is right in the hunt for the Scholarship class title.

Final Report: Collard continued to impress as the season went on, establishing himself as almost a permanent fixture in the championship top six. Two second place finishes were his best results from five podium visits, though it wasn’t enough to secure him Scholarship success.

James Colburn - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

James Colburn – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

24. James Colburn – 5th, Renault UK Clio Cup

What we said: “With his Clio experience comes expectation, he’ll be hoping to mount a first title challenge since 2011.”

Mid-Season: Colburn has bounced back from car troubles at the start to the season to move right into the title picture with four podium finishes in the last five races.

Final Report: While Colburn made it five podiums in six with third in the Snetterton opener, that proved to be his last top three finish of the campaign as his championship challenge fell away. The Westbourne Motorsport racer ended up slipping back to a disappointing fifth in the points.

23. Alex Sedgwick – 10th, Ginetta Juniors

What we said: “With the scholarship comes a certain degree of expectation and pressure, he’ll be out to prove he was the worthy victor.”

Mid-Season: Sedgwick has put in some strong qualifying and race performances during the first half of his scholarship year, showing potential to be an outright podium finisher.

Final Report: While an overall top three finish didn’t come for Sedgwick, the Ginetta Scholar continued to be an ever-present figure in the top half of the Junior grid. A best finish of fourth at Knockhill and regular top six finishes are a good foundation for 2015.

22. Jack Barlow – 14th, Formula Ford GB

What we said: “Despite limited seat time, he has the talent to be challenging for wins from the opening race.”

Mid-Season: Barlow hinted at his potential during the first meeting at Brands with a maiden podium, however a massive crash in testing at Thruxton has forced him to miss the meetings since.

Final Report: Barlow would continue to be absent from the Formula Ford grid until the championship returned to Brands Hatch in October. The season finale produced a pair of top ten finishes for the 19 year old at the end of a season to forget.

David Pittard - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

David Pittard – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

21. David Pittard – 2nd, Ginetta GT4 Supercup

What we said: “He has the potential to be one of the surprise packages at the front of the Supercup field this year.”

Mid-Season: Pittard has certainly exceeded expectations with podium finishes on every weekend so far. He’s visited the top step three times, and is only 29 points off the series lead.

Final Report: Pittard continued to impress throughout his maiden Supercup campaign, with a stunning end to the season producing two more wins as part of five podiums in the last seven races, results that snatched him vice-champions honours in the season finale.

20. Lando Norris – 3rd, Ginetta Juniors

What we said: “Has a big reputation and high expectations, rivals are expecting him to spring a surprise when he joins the action.”

Mid-Season: Joining the grid earlier than expected, Norris has put in some great performances, taking four podiums including a maiden win last time out.

Final Report: Norris matched and exceeded all expectations on him with a brilliant season that got better and better as it went on, a run of nine top two finishes in the last twelve races securing him a comfortable third in the points.

19. Josh Cook – 2nd, Renault UK Clio Cup

What we said: “Heads into a potentially make-or-break third year with a championship challenge firmly in his sights.”

Mid-Season: Cook is leading the way in the championship thanks to some fast, consistent and mature driving so far, posting seven podium finishes in the first eight races.

Final Report: It was all looking good for Cook until the final three weekends, when penalties and contact derailed his title charge. He ended up in the runners-up spot in the points, doing so with more wins, podiums and laps led than anyone else.

18. Sam Brabham – 11th, Formula Ford GB

What we said: “He will be firmly in the spotlight as he mounts a title challenge with JTR and continues the Brabham legacy.”

Mid-Season: Brabham started the season well showing great pace as he took early podiums. A big accident at Oulton though has led to him missing Croft due to a budget shortfall though.

Final Report: Unfortunately Brabham wouldn’t return to action for the remainder of the season, leaving his double Thruxton win as the highlight of a ‘what might have been’ campaign.

Andrew Watson - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Andrew Watson – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

17. Andrew Watson – 4th, Ginetta GT4 Supercup

What we said: “Hopes continuity will be the key for a successful 2014, tipped by his rivals to be one of the main contenders.”

Mid-Season: Watson was the fast starter of the Supercup field, with six podiums in the opening nine races, and he’s likely to be one of the key players in the title fight all season.

Final Report: While Watson continued to be a front-runner throughout the campaign, some tough meetings in the mid-season meant he fell out the title picture. The Irishman ended the season strongly though with three wins in the last six races.

16. Ant Whorton-Eales – 4th, Renault UK Clio Cup

What we said: “He’s now expected to be one of the drivers in the thick of the Clio title battle as he embarks on his second SV/KX campaign.”

Mid-Season: Whorton-Eales has been quietly going about his business collecting three podium finishes. A title challenge looks unlikely.

Final Report: Unable to add to his one Clio victory to date, it proved to be a solid if unspectacular campaign for Whorton-Eales. Three more podiums helped him take a top four championship finish, but he was never a factor in the destination of the title.

15. Jack Mitchell – 1st, Ginetta Juniors

What we said: “With JHR’s experience behind him and team-mates to push him forward, he has all the ingredients to put together a title challenge.”

Mid-Season: Mitchell has been the star of the show in the Juniors. Six wins have helped him to a huge 93 point lead that it looks unlikely will be breached.

Final Report: The lead certainly didn’t get breached, with Mitchell doggedly accumulating points while his rivals started to dominate out front. He was outside the top six in only three races all year, consistency that ensured he took the title with two races to spare.

14. Carl Breeze – 3rd, Ginetta GT4 Supercup

What we said: “He’s fired up to reclaim his title this time out, it wouldn’t be a smart move to bet against him being in title contention.”

Mid-Season: It was a relatively slow start to the season by Breeze’s standards but now he’s on top of things, he’s climbed up the standings with six podiums in eight races and is right in the title hunt.

Final Report: While double wins at Croft and Knockhill showed that when he was on pace, no-one could touch him, those weekends were few and far between for Breeze. Although he took the title fight to the final weekend, he was left settling for third in the standings.

Paul Rivett - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Paul Rivett – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

13. Paul Rivett – 7th, Renault UK Clio Cup

What we said: “It will be an interesting year of new challenges, getting to grips with the new Clio and juggling his driving with new team manager role.”

Mid-Season: It’s not been the season Rivett would have been hoping for so far. He has shown flashes of his class with two podium finishes, but has fallen out of the title picture.

Final Report: While Rivett never got into title contention, he continued to fight for front-running results and that culminated in a victory in the final race of the year at Brands Hatch, capping off a strong learning year for driver and team.

12. Charlie Robertson – 1st, Ginetta GT4 Supercup

What we said: “It’ll be no surprise to see both the team and driver adapt to the car quickly and challenge at the front from the off.”

Mid-Season: Robertson has been sensational so far this season, showing maturity beyond his age en-route to the points lead. He’s on course to become the first rookie Supercup champion.

Final Report: Robertson maintained that course for the remainder of a truly sensational campaign, ending with twenty podium finishes including eight wins to earn a richly deserved, historic championship success.

11. Michael Meadows – 2nd, Porsche Carrera Cup GB

What we said: “While another championship win is not a foregone conclusion, he’ll be confident of competing his Porsche GB hat-trick.”

Mid-Season: Meadows was supreme early on, though luck has been against him recently. He’ll still be confident of success with his pace and experience.

Final Report: Meadows did all he could to win the championship, securing more wins during the year than in either of his title-winning campaigns, but he was left to rue troubles at Croft and Rockingham that denied him his hat-trick.

10. Juan Rosso – 4th, Formula Ford GB

What we said: “While he has made a change of team for the season, his performances last year indicates he has a real chance of becoming champion.”

Mid-Season: A regular podium finisher, Rosso has only carded one race win so far and this has left him on the outskirts of the title battle.

Final Report: Rosso was unable to continue that podium form as the season progressed however, taking just one more top three finish in the final seventeen races. That meant he slipped to fourth in the standings, a disappointing end to a promising campaign for the Argentinian.

Jamie Chadwick - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Jamie Chadwick – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

9. Jamie Chadwick – 8th, Ginetta Juniors

What we said: “Chadwick will be right in the battle, and has a great chance of being a contender for the title.”

Mid-Season: Chadwick has the pace to be a regular podium-finisher, however luck has been against her. A title challenge may be out of her grasp now, but she can certainly win races.

Final Report: Chadwick made it five visits to the podium in total over the course of the campaign, impressing with three in four races towards the season’s conclusion, but she was left frustrated with eighth in the standings and no maiden victory to her name.

8. Sean Huyton – 12th, Ginetta GT4 Supercup

What we said: “Huyton is sure to be one of the leading lights in the championship as he aims to complete his title hat-trick.”

Mid-Season: A budget shortfall has left Huyton on the backfoot this season, but he’s turned a corner with the car and took a podium last time out.

Final Report: Sadly Huyton was unable to carry the momentum from his third place at Croft into the second half of the campaign, with continued budget problems meaning he would go on to miss the remainder of the season.

7. Jayde Kruger – 1st, Formula Ford GB

What we said: “If he gels with his new team, with his experience from last year, there’s no doubt he will be in the mix at the top of the standings.”

Mid-Season: The South African has well and truly been in the mix, leading the points for a long time after a great start to the year and he is looking good with six race wins to his name.

Final Report: Kruger continued to notch up important race wins, finishing the year with eleven to his name, and while Harrison Scott pushed him close at the head of the standings, it was enough for the South African to take the title.

6. Harry Woodhead – 14th, Ginetta GT4 Supercup

What we said: “Woodhead will certainly ruffle a few feathers, and may well be in podium and race win contention as the season develops.”

Mid-Season: Woodhead showcased his potential with two podiums in the first three meetings, however a knee injury forced him out the last two weekends and a return isn’t certain.

Final Report: Like Huyton, Woodhead was another driver not to return to the Supercup grid after his early exit. A real shame for the former Ginetta Junior champion after such a successful 2013.

Josh Webster - Credit: Malcolm Griffiths

Josh Webster – Credit: Malcolm Griffiths

5. Josh Webster – 1st, Porsche Carrera Cup GB

What we said: “He is confident he can be challenging at the front, and will be exciting to watch as he aims to convert his single-seater promise.”

Mid-Season: Webster has had a memorable season so far with three wins and the championship lead at the halfway mark. He has a great chance of becoming the first Porsche Scholar champion.

Final Report: It proved to be a season that Webster will never forget. Incredible consistency saw him finish on the podium in every single race of the year en-route to the championship title, impressively toppling the experienced Meadows in his maiden campaign.

4. Pepe Massot –11th, Ginetta GT4 Supercup & 5th, Porsche Carrera Cup GB

What we said: “After their successes in 2013, the partnership is one of the most formidable on the grid and has a strong chance of taking the title.”

Mid-Season: Massot’s disappointing Supercup campaign saw him battling in the midfield most of the time. His move into Porsche’s yielded class wins on debut, outright wins are possible.

Final Report: Massot was blighted by plenty of bad luck in his brief Supercup run, and that seemed to continue as he tackled the Porsche’s. Quickly bumped up to the Pro class, Massot took three outright podiums but couldn’t get on terms with the top two.

3. Harrison Scott – 2nd, Formula Ford GB

What we said: “Scott returns with unfinished business, expect to see him fighting at the top of the leaderboard throughout the year.”

Mid-Season: Scott has been battling at the sharp end of the field. Consistency has been the key so far and if he can keep it up, a title success will be on the cards.

Final Report: Scott maintained that consistency throughout the year, notching 24 podium finishes in 30 races and took the championship battle right down to the final weekend. Despite throwing everything he could at it, he eventually ended up just falling short though.

James Kellett - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

James Kellett – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

2. James Kellett – 2nd, Ginetta Juniors

What we said: “Considering his progression through 2013, it would be no surprise to see him lifting the championship trophy aloft come October.”

Mid-Season:  While Kellet didn’t have the start of the season he’d hoped for, he’s returned to form in the last two meetings with three podium finishes.

Final Report: It just got better and better for Kellett as the season progressed, with seven top-two finishes in the final ten races including four stunning wins. While he took the challenge to runaway leader Mitchell, it proved too little too late to secure the title.

1. Alex Morgan – 6th, Renault UK Clio Cup

What we said: “Morgan heads into the new season as the pre-season championship favourite and our number one driver to watch.”

Mid-Season: While he had a perfect start, ongoing car troubles caused a real rough patch for Morgan thereafter. He’s dug deep to keep himself in the hunt for the title.

Final Report: Morgan continued to dig deep throughout the season and he was rewarded with a double podium finish on the final weekend at Brands Hatch, though his earlier troubles left him with a lower than anticipated sixth place points finish.

*Main Image Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography/Malcolm Griffiths*

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Simon provides coverage of the support championships for the BTCC, having been a fixture in the TOCA paddock for over six years.
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