After over six months awaiting the return of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship. Wednesday has been a huge relief for fans, drivers and teams alike, not to mention the journalists, as the class of 2019 took to Brands Hatch in the annual Media Day test session.
Whilst the Wednesday saw fans descend upon the Kent circuit to witness all thirty cars test for the first time together. Tuesday evening saw the season officially launched at Hever Castle in a special VIP only launch event.
This event gave teams and drivers the opportunity to have a catch-up before all the hard work the following day and the media their opportunity to complete filming obligations before the season starts.
A packed pitlane bustled with fans as autographs from their racing heroes were the thing to collect. Plus, the opportunity to witness five champions, multiple race winners and brand new cars take to the circuit was the fix that all touring car fans needed after such a long break.
The business of testing was high on the agenda for all teams as this was to be their last chance to collect valuable data ahead of the first race weekend at Brands Hatch on 6/7 April.
With over three thousand laps completed and the whole field of thirty cars just split by 1.8 seconds, this has already generated plenty of excitement in regards to the closeness of the cars.
Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance had a fantastic day as Sam Tordoff topped both morning and afternoon sessions in his FK2 Honda Civic Type R. Funnily enough, following the Eurotech monopoly on pole position at Brands Hatch the previous four race weekends at the circuit. It seems this may continue for the former Eurotech cars if the lap breaking pace from Sam wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
With Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, Team BMW and BMW Pirtek Racing taking to the track in brand new cars, their times were looked upon with interest and the BMW 330i M Sports enjoyed fourth for Andrew Jordan, seventh for reigning champion Colin Turkington and twelfth for Tom Oliphant in the combined morning and afternoon leaderboard.
Meanwhile Tom Ingram in his Toyota Corolla GT ended the day sixth in the combined times.
Elsewhere Tom Chilton continued his momentum from the second half of 2018 with second despite struggling with his car at the start of the day. Dan Cammish ended the day in third and the second AmD Honda of Rory Butcher finished fifth.
With an incredibly successful test under their belts. Sam Tordoff was incredibly proud of a job well done. Saying, “It was a mega day.
“We’ve done a full race weekend simulation. This morning we carried out a free practice and qualifying run, and this afternoon we’ve completed three race runs.
“The Civic Type R is on the money and is without doubt the best touring car I’ve ever driven.”
As we inch ever closer to the 2019 BTCC opener, it’s always worth pointing out that testing times shouldn’t be taken too seriously as we never know what sort of testing programmes each team decided to run. But, we can still raise our excitement to what appears to be the foundations of another fantastic British Touring Car Championship season.