Preview: 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Silverstone


Knockhill BTCC
Credit: btcc.net

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship hits the unofficial home of British motorsport in the form of Silverstone this weekend. The series is nearing its climax and this weekend is more important than any for the title protagonists.

Colin Turkington did his best last time out at Knockhill to ensure that he’ll have enough of a championship lead as he heads into the final rounds of this season. Can anyone beat him? Well, this is the BTCC and anything can happen.

Speedworks Motorsport

Tom Ingram – Controversially disqualified from the results in the second race at Knockhill. But, rules are rules and that might have been another hammer blow to overall title honours. Unable to perform the Sutton wonders in the final race so it’s a possibility recent dropped points has really affected his head. This series is unpredictable though so anything can happen.

Team BMW

Colin Turkington – Oh Colin, he knows exactly what he’s doing when out on track. That’s why he’s won two titles already in this cut and thrust championship. If reaction on Twitter was anything to go by, this 2018 championship is already over.

Ricky Collard – Not far from scoring his first top ten finish in the championship last time out, Ricky is back in the BMW for this weekend and will undoubtedly be looking towards better points. Will naturally improve and he can’t go too wrong around Silverstone.

Halfords Yuasa Racing

Matt Neal – Going from title contender to almost one hundred points away from the leader, it’s been quite a fall for Matt since his sensational victory in the Diamond Double race at Snetterton. Having won here last year, Matt will be hoping that this and the fact he won’t have too much ballast on the car will propel him to another victory at this circuit.

Dan Cammish – Really drove well at Knockhill to secure his maiden pole position and two podium finishes in incredibly tough conditions. Dan in the past has proven he is quick around Silverstone so whether that can be translated to the BTCC remains to be seen. Expect him to be right at the front in qualifying again.

Wix Racing with Eurotech

Jack Goff – Another driver who might be shoe-in for pole. However, recent form has not been great for Jack. Hitting a similar rough patch to Matt Neal, Jack has at least been in the top ten highlighting the fact that whatever is wrong is being remedied. If any circuit will be perfect for a comeback, Silverstone is it.

Brett Smith – The heroics from earlier in the season has dropped off for Brett which is a shame considering the great one-lap pace that he was showing. Also suffering from similar issues to his team-mate, Brett will be hoping to score points again as he did so last year at Silverstone.

Knockhill BTCC
Credit: btcc.net

Power Maxed TAG Racing

Josh Cook – Unusually quiet at Knockhill despite the fact he drove another cracking weekend where he appeared on the podium in race two and scored another two top ten finishes. Quietly gathering points much like Turkington but hasn’t been as prolific with the podiums. A Vauxhall almost won at Silverstone last year. Could Josh and Senna actually make it happen this time around?

Senna Proctor – Last time out Senna didn’t have the best of weekends, he will undoubtedly be trying to put that right and try to make another appearance on the podium this year. Has fallen away a bit since his earlier form.

BMW Pirtek Racing

Andrew Jordan – A winner in 2018 finally, although under controversial circumstances. Although he wasn’t complaining. Fourth in the table and could spring a surprise if things go terribly wrong for Colin out front. Doubt he’ll score victory again. But, podiums are more than available for the Pirtek man.

Adrian Flux Subaru Racing

Ashley Sutton – The reigning champion has been in incredible form recently as he aims to defend his crown. The disqualification from victory in the second race at Knockhill was probably the turning point in regards to him doing so. Certainly the best of the rest behind Turkington and will no doubt be up there again at Silverstone.

Jason Plato – It’s not been the best of seasons for Jason. Flashes of his old self were shown at Rockingham but Knockhill just produced more misery. Last year, JP ended the Silverstone weekend with a pint of beer toasting the fans around him. He will probably be doing that when this season is over.

Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher

Tom Chilton – One of the record breaking victors of 2018, Tom’s confidence will be sky high going into Silverstone. The car should be good and he’ll undoubtedly be pushing hard if his aim of winning the independents title is to come true. The last time he raced at Silverstone he won, so that’ll be something to remember.

James Cole – Not the best last few rounds for the former race winner. Having not scored points since the first race at Croft, James will no doubt be trying to add to his tally so far. With a car that is now a race winner, James should be doing better than he is now.

Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport

Adam Morgan – Silverstone last year saw Morgan reach the podium and that’ll be fair for the Mercedes-Benz man this year. Deservedly on two hundred points and good value for his performances in recent rounds. This has certainly been one of his best seasons in the championship.

Team GardX Racing with Motorbase

Sam Tordoff – You’ll have to be made of stone if you don’t feel bad for Sam Tordoff this season. A first podium of 2018 must be around the corner and if belief about the Ford is correct, Silverstone will be the best place to get it. I just hope he remains in the series for next year.

BTC Norlin Racing

Chris Smiley – On this circuit last year, Chris scored his best finish of the whole season with seventh. That was the race where some saw Chris as a potential future race winner. Having done that, the only way is even further up. This shape Civic took its last victory of 2017 here so the car is capable.

Dan Lloyd – Unusually off colour in TCR UK last time out, Dan will be racing away some disappointment at Silverstone this weekend. Knockhill ended a slight lull of non-scoring finishes but he heads to a circuit he has never raced at in the BTCC. Top ten will be the aim.

Simpson Racing

Matt Simpson – Could not have had the worst weekend if he had tried last time out. Many eyes were on him following his split from Eurotech and it seemed he had made a terrible decision. Conditions had undoubtedly played a part in his downfall so Silverstone should hopefully be a bit better.

DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing

Rob Austin – As the season comes to a close, fans and pundits alike will be evaluating the return of Alfa Romeo to the series and I hope they do it fairly. Three points scoring finishes at Rockingham was a good haul for the car, squad and Rob so that’ll probably be the aim again at Silverstone.

Laser Tools Racing

Aiden Moffat – Not the greatest of seasons at all so far for Aiden. The two victories during the season last year might have set him up for 2018 but has struggled recently. He has been scoring points again. However, he’s still far from top ten finishes. Silverstone and the final round at Brands Hatch will be vital for his confidence.

AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing

Rory Butcher – Rory has been an absolute revelation recently with six top ten finishes in the past six rounds. If this form keeps up through to the end of the season, Rory will undoubtedly be the underdog of the year. That isn’t even an insult considering the wonders he has pulled off in the MG.

Josh Caygill – Even as a winner in GT categories, Josh is certainly jumping in at the deep end. As usual, whenever I write about a new driver in these previews. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that all he needs to do is stay out of trouble and maybe spring a surprise in the reverse-grid race.

Knockhill BTCC
Credit: btcc.net

AmD with Cobra Exhausts

Ollie Jackson – A disappointing round in Scotland with two retirements and a non-points scoring finish, Ollie will be looking to get back into the form that saw him score a top ten finish at Rockingham. The weekend at Silverstone last year started off decent enough with a twelfth place finish before retiring from the final two rounds so that would not be welcomed.

Sam Smelt – Despite showing great speed in the wet at Snetterton, Sam has started struggling again in the recent rounds. It’s still his learning year and the squad are impressed with improvements so I’m still hoping that he’ll spring a surprise on us at one point. It’ll be tough. But, it’ll be well deserved.

Ciceley Motorsport

Tom Oliphant – Tom Oliphant has been steadily improving his best race results each weekend he goes to. And that would be impossible if it isn’t for his great qualifying pace. Rapid around Knockhill it was a shame that the final two races gave him nothing. With Silverstone being a relatively simple circuit, this writer will have his eyes on the green Mercedes in qualifying and expects to see him within the top ten again.

Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing

Mike Bushell – Will probably be quick in practice again. However, Bushell will be hoping that a Rockingham style turn of fortunes happens again because his weekend in Scotland was very anonymous. The Volkswagen CC might be quick in a straight line and the magic Bushell setup may help him.

Ollie Pidgley – Stuck with this VW, as with his team-mate, Ollie will be banking on the straight line speed of the car.

Team HARD with Trade Price Cars

Bobby Thompson – With a whole weekend ruined by a single off in practice at Knockhill. Bobby will be aiming to make amends this weekend. Channelling his Rockingham pace will be paramount.

Ethan Hammerton – I’m not going to judge Ethan. He has been given his BTCC opportunity in a car which certainly isn’t going to set the world alight with a rookie behind the wheel and ballast partway through the season. It will be a successful weekend if he doesn’t finish dead last on the road. I’ve said that before

Team Parker Racing

Stephen Jelley – Cruelly denied a spectacular podium last time out due to the questionable driving standards of someone who would have kicked off if it had happened to him. Stephen Jelley may not reach those heights again for the rest of the year which strikes me as both unlucky and very sad. Silverstone will be a chance for redemption.

The BTCC returns this weekend 15/16 September at Silverstone where qualifying will be live on itv.com/btcc Saturday and all three races shown live on ITV4 on the Sunday.