The 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has flown by. From just over thirty drivers the series has whittled its title hopefuls down to three and this weekend at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit; Colin Turkington, Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton are all hoping that it’s them who will win the championship during the Diamond celebrations.
The Checkered Flag is taking another driver by driver look at the hotly anticipated finale and whether form at the previous rounds at Silverstone might be an omen this weekend.
Tom Ingram – Superb again at Silverstone, Tom certainly has made making the best of a bad situation his forte. Despite his comeback drive heroics, it’s something that he’ll not really want to do because it usually means a poor first race. Usually goes well at Brands so might be most people’s tip to win the overall honours. As well as the independent crown.
Colin Turkington – Turkington has been incredibly consistent this year and it’s undoubtedly going to continue into the final rounds. Smart money is probably on Colin winning the crown. But, as was proven last year when he retired following contact with Mat Jackson, anything can happen.
Ricky Collard – Usually the Collard name qualifies poorly and races well to gain places. Ricky managed to both qualify and race well at Silverstone and it was fantastic to see. The circumstances as to why he’s in the BMW is sad to see. However, if Rob is forced to call it a day, Ricky would be welcomed with open arms to the 2019 paddock. Hopefully he can keep up his pace at Brands.
Halfords Yuasa Racing
Matt Neal – Anonymous in the recent rounds, the brilliant win in the Diamond Double race at Snetterton must be a world away now. It has been a fantastic first season for the FK8 Honda Civic Type R and its ominously quick development must have a few teams worried for the seasons ahead.
Dan Cammish – Rolling into Kent as the 2018 Jack Sears Trophy winner, Dan Cam is probably hoping that this honour will serve him well heading into 2019. He won both Porsche Carrera Cup GB races at Brands GP last year so he certainly has the pace around the circuit. Hopefully he spots the pitlane traffic lights in qualifying.
Wix Racing with Eurotech
Jack Goff – The return to the top ten has been too little too late and the mid-season slump in regards to the setup of the car has really hurt title aspirations. Jack will no doubt be trying to end the season on a high and he is one of the fastest around both versions of the Brands Hatch circuit. Hopefully he doesn’t bin it on the first corner of the first lap in the first race like he did last year.
Brett Smith – Really quick in practice and qualifying pace, Brett has had a relatively good first full season in the BTCC. Brands Hatch GP last year was a turning point as he was incredibly close to his team-mate Goff in terms of lap time. Will certainly be aiming to score well and end the season on a high.
Power Maxed TAG Racing
Josh Cook – Is Josh a 2019 championship contender? He will need consistent podium finishes and he would become a worthy champion. Silverstone highlighted his Ingram-esque fight through the pack pace again and the Vauxhall Astra did win at Brands earlier in the year. This could be a good end of season for Josh in an already great year.
Senna Proctor – Celebrated a return to the top ten last time out in race two, Senna has fallen back but this author doesn’t know whether it’s something to do with the development or lack thereof of the Astra. As mentioned in the Cook piece, Senna won here earlier in the year. But, a miracle would probably need to happen again.
BMW Pirtek Racing
Andrew Jordan – Had a torrid time at Silverstone and was justifiably narked (with the help of some Anglo-Saxon language on Twitter) at what had happened. Will undoubtedly be trying to put disappointment behind him and head for the silverware.
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing
Ashley Sutton – As the reigning champion, Ash had the focus of trying to retain the number one on his car for 2019. It was looking like he was actually going to do it until the complete shambles of Silverstone race two. With no pressure this weekend, he’ll be trying to add to his five wins already this season.
Jason Plato – Racing is in the blood of JP and I cannot see him leaving the championship until he hits a hundred race wins. It’s been his worst ever season in the championship and some good results at the end of the year might make things a bit more bearable. Rumours have it that he’s returning to front-wheel drive next year. If it’s true, hopefully he can end his Subaru foray on a high.
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher
Tom Chilton – Down to the wire in both the overall and independent drivers standings, Tom’s second half of the 2018 season has been fantastic. It would be a great bonus to take top honours but focus will certainly be on winning the World Touring and British Touring indpendent crowns back to back. He does have to get past a rapid Ingram though which might be a problem.
James Cole – Sam Tordoff and Tom Chilton were in great form last time out whilst James had to hear about the fun at the front as he was being hit left right and centre by most of the pack. It hasn’t been a great few races recently and to end it on a high will be a must. Especially if he wants to prove to teams that he deserves a drive in 2019.
Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport
Adam Morgan – Was right in the title mix until the penultimate round, Adam Morgan has certainly had one of his best seasons in the championship and it was great to see for fans of Mercedes-Benz in the UK. Another win is possible before the season is out to really highlight Morgan as one of the top drivers in the series.
Team GardX Racing with Motorbase
Sam Tordoff – It’s that luck again! Finally winning in 2018 and it’s come so late into the season for a turnaround of fortunes and a fight for titles. But hopefully this form continues into the final races of the year and into 2019. It’s what Sam deserves following his return to the series.
BTC Norlin Racing
Chris Smiley – Last time out at Silverstone it wasn’t the best of weekends for Chris who might not even care since his victory at Rockingham. The Civic FK2 is capable around Brands so hopefully he too can end the season with a strong result to complete this fantastic season for him and the squad.
Dan Lloyd – Like his team-mate Chris, Dan didn’t have the best of weekends last time out and is therefore out there to make a hopeful return to the podium positions. Alongside TCR UK, Dan has been a fantastic ambassador for touring car racing this season so hopefully he spoils us with some Ferrero-Rocher.
Matt Simpson – Was quick at Silverstone and the decision to leave Eurotech looked like another good one. Matt has been fantastic to watch this season and to end it with another podium would tie some loose ends up nicely. Also it’ll give his team great impetus going into the new year.
DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing
Rob Austin – Rob had a fantastic race three where his Alfa Romeo was a part of the six car battle for the lead which fought tooth and nail lap after lap. Fifth was a great reward for a cracking drive and the car looks good. Rob won the final race of 2017 so he might be channelling this for 2018.
Laser Tools Racing
Aiden Moffat – Instate and establish Aiden as the secretary of defense because that final race drive was superb. Moffat really needed that following very disappointing results recently and heading to a circuit where he won last year. He could very possibly do it all over again.
AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing
Rory Butcher – The Silverstone weekend sadly saw an end to the fantastic run of top ten race finishes which actually maxed out at six. But, take nothing away from Rory and his driving he’s certainly been proving why he’s a part of the championship. I hope he can end the season on a high and go into 2019 looking for podiums or possibly more. (Maybe with a slightly better car)
Josh Caygill – Even though he was learning about racing in the BTCC, Josh showed some good pace despite two retirements in the final two races at Silverstone. The aim this weekend will be to not finish last and possibly make an appearance in the top fifteen.
AmD with Cobra Exhausts
Ollie Jackson – Following his maiden podium finish at the circuit earlier in the year, thoughts of this will certainly be bouncing around Ollie’s head. However, it’ll all depend on the conditions again. Will be hoping to put a run of bad form behind him and give the Audi side of the garage something to smile about.
Sam Smelt – One weekend to go and his final three chances to reach the top fifteen. It’s going to be tough but it’ll be a fantastic end to his season. Learning every step of the way it’s a shame he’s been in a very uncompetitive Audi.
Tom Oliphant – Right in the top ten again, the tail end of 2018 has been fantastic to Tom and it’s a good omen if he gets to stay for 2019. He may now be the only Mercedes driver without a win but it won’t be long until we see him on the podium. It may not be this weekend, but it might happen in 2019.
Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing
Mike Bushell – Mike Bushell deserved more at Silverstone. But a mix of penalties and questionable driving had him stall in the middle of the field unable to push his rapid Volkswagen CC to the front. The first race had him reach seventh and it makes you wonder how he would have done if qualifying had gone better. Will undoubtedly be the class of the VWs at Brands. A circuit where the car normally goes well.
Ollie Pidgley – Ollie showed glimpses of good speed last time out. However, an incident and the lack of moving forward didn’t help. Will undoubtedly be aiming for the top twenty this weekend.
Team HARD with Trade Price Cars
Bobby Thompson – Not been the best of times since his Rockingham heroics, Bobby will also be trying to make headway this weekend. As mentioned in the Bushell piece, the car does tend to go well at the GP circuit at Brands so it might work out well if he keeps out of trouble.
Ethan Hammerton -Ethan who turned eighteen only a few days ago reached the top twenty in his first weekend and he can only go up from there. Derided for being one of a thousand drivers for Team HARD this year, Ethan looks like one of them to possibly remain in the squad for 2019 and a great weekend at Brands can only make his stock grow.
Team Parker Racing
Stephen Jelley – Yes it has been another case of weekend promise followed by a weekend of bitter disappointment. It hasn’t been the best of years for Stephen and Team Parker Racing but to finally end it with some good points might make it all worth it. Will this be Stephen’s final year in the championship? Hopefully not because there are plenty of wrongs from this season to be put right.
The BTCC returns this weekend 29/130 September at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit where qualifying will be live on itv.com/btcc Saturday and all three races shown live on ITV4 on the Sunday.