Sutton: Everyone entering the unknown at Brands


Credit: BTCC Media

Reigning champion Ashley Sutton believes Team BMR is in a good position heading into the 2018 British Touring Car Championship, but warns nobody knows where they stand until qualifying at Brands Hatch.

The team hopes to hit the ground running in 2018, starting where it left off at the end of last season and avoiding a repeat of 2017’s slow start.

Last year, of the four Subaru drivers, only Jason Plato left Brands Hatch with points. Sutton was a consistent top 10 finisher from Donington Park onwards, but the rest of the team struggled to put their Subarus in the top half of the standings until later in the season.

Over the winter break, the squad has worked to prepare for the upcoming year, but it won’t know if the hard work has paid off until the drivers hit the track at Brands Hatch.

“Who knows,” Sutton said, when asked if the team could be competitive from the start of the season.

“Obviously last year wasn’t ideal. It’s going to be an unknown answer until we actually turn up at qualifying when everyone’s running ballast free, but the guys are working hard behind the scenes and we will be planning to hit the ground running where we left off.

“It’s just going to be one of those unknown occasions.”

2018 will be the first time in his career Sutton has continued with the same team in the same championship for a second season. He believes the continuity will help him develop as a driver and defend his title.

“It feels really good [to be continuing with Team BMR],” he told The Checkered Flag.

“Normally it’s been a case of we’ve won a championship or something likek that and we move on to either a different category or a different team, like winning the Jack Sears we’ve moved straight to Subaru. So now it’s nice to have that back to back year.

“It’s a chance to really hone in on myself, and for the team to knuckle down on anything that wasn’t quite perfect from their point of view.

“It’s not going to be easy [to take the title]. It’s going to be harder than ever, but you never know.

“The potential’s there in the car, the potential’s there in me. I’ve just got to make the two work together and have some lady luck.”

None of Sutton’s 2018 team-mates have been confirmed, though Plato is likely to return to the team for a fourth consecutive season.