BTCCSeason Review

SEASON REVIEW: 2019 British Touring Car Championship – Turkington takes it to wire to claim fourth title

5 Mins read

With the preparation beginning for the 2020 British Touring Car Championship season, we take a look back at one of the most frantic seasons to date with Colin Turkington taking the title in the final race at Brands Hatch.

There is only one driver to start with and that is Colin Turkington. Turkington came into this season driving the brand new BMW 330i M Sport and very much had a target on his back after winning the title last season excellently and despite not performing brilliantly at Brands Hatch in the first weekend, he rescued it with two wins at Donington Park to really begin his title charge.

From there a further double at Oulton Park and victory at Snetterton really brought him to the foray but it was a title fight that very much reared on until the very end as usual in the British Touring Car Championship due to the close nature of the racing and there was one driver who potentially should have won the title in the end and that was Dan Cammish.

The Halfords Yuasa Racing driver only won a few races all season but put himself into pole position going into the final race, only for him to run into problems and with Turkington charging up the field, he capitalised to perfection to claim the title in one of the best races in BTCC history and proved another breathtaking end to proceedings.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Photo: Jakob Ebrey

As a result, Andrew Jordan who proved the challenger to Colin Turkington for most of the season finished locked on points with Cammish but second overall with uncertainty over his future due to the pulling of the sponsorship from Pirtek, his main backer for many years. If this is his last season, it was his best chance in some time to regain the BTCC title.

Jordan claimed breathtaking doubles at Thruxton and Croft early season as well as victory at Brands Hatch at the start of the year but started to have intermittent results until a 1st and 2nd at Knockhill threw him back into the reckoning.

Jack Goff‘s maiden victory for the Team HARD squad in the last race before the final weekend fully threw the title race wide open with Turkington only about 16 points ahead and Cammish, Jordan and Josh Cook all split by fine margins.

Josh Cook for BTC Racing alongside Chris Smiley once again had an excellent season as Bert Taylor’s squad continue to impress and show themselves to be a potential force to be reckoned with. That has been further strengthened by the news that BTC Racing have now acquired a third TBL with Handy Motorsport once again not fielding an entry, this could mean that fans favourite Rob Austin once again is not involved in the championship in 2020.

An early retirement though for Cook in Race 1 at Brands Hatch followed by a 13th place paid heed to those plans and it was a three way dog fight for the title which as alluded to was one of the most dramatic in history.

Josh Cook

Next up in the Drivers’ Championship race was Rory Butcher who once again was with the AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Squad and he proved his metal in the Honda Civic Type R FK2 as one of the real stars of the season.

Three victories for the Scot including a crowning glory which was a victory on his home circuit of Knockhill where he made his debut in 2017 for the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo team but the issue for Butcher came with consistency which blighted his season barring the odd wins, a few lower finishes and DNS finishes meant that he went into the final races with only an outside chances despite leading the title race at one point.

It has since been revealed though that Butcher, Tordoff and Bushell (went to Team HARD) will not return by Shaun Hollamby, team principal of AMD, is a big drive beckoning for the Scot?

Credit: BTCC / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Another honourable mention goes to Jason Plato who finally put a good season together after his horror show of the past few years with Team BMR which made people question whether or not the legendary driver still had the metal to produce in the BTCC, he proved he did despite him waiting a while for another win in the series.

It was the last race in fact where Plato was overshadowed by Turkington but drove his Vauxhall Astra to perfection to claim a well deserved victory and finish 7th in the championship after finishing 27th and 12th the last two years.

It is now 97 wins for Plato and he will hope that if he is kept on in the championship which he likely will be for another year will reach the 100 mark and a milestone as he aims for potentially another title challenge.

One of the best races of the season involved Plato and his former teammate Ash Sutton which saw him nudge into the back of leader Chris Smiley to gain the lead and then have contact with Sutton which saw Plato regain the lead and he did so again towards the end meaning but despite that Plato finished 5th with Sutton down in a lowly 20th place with the former slapped with a further 10 place time penalty in one of his best opportunities for said 97th win.

This saw Sutton erupt and call Plato brainless and after the duo did not see eye to eye even when they were teammates this was even more the case when they faced off and it evoked memories of Plato and Matt Neal from back in the day.

Speaking of Sutton, a farewell to a car Plato helped to bring into the championship was a fitting one as the Subaru Levorg despite it’s issues brought himself home in eight place in the championship with him finishing 1st and 3rd on the final weekend and he will say farewell to Team BMR (kind-of) as well as they join forces with Aiden Moffat’s Laser Tools Racing for the 2020 season in a dual programme.

Moffat himself did not have the best season but is still young and was driving a new car for most of last year in the Infiniti which was previously used by Support Our Paras’ Racing, they will both have new Infiniti Q50s for next year though.

Aiden Moffat and Ash Sutton at the Laser Tools Racing 2020 Launch
Aiden Moffat and Ash Sutton at the Laser Tools Racing 2020 Launch

To end off the season review, we take a look at the drivers that it didn’t go to plan for at times this year.

Jack Goff is one of them. Despite a win towards the end of the year, at times it was an abysmal year for the popular driver who was getting to grips with a new team and new car again. He has already confirmed he will be back in the championship for next year alongside Mike Bushell for Team HARD with the Kent squad having a few more surprises up their sleeves it seems.

Matt Simpson at times had a season to remember in 2018 but now that he is running his own team, it didn’t really go to plan. A 23rd finish in the championship with a best of ninth place, he has been confirmed amongst the TBL’s for next season despite some rumours that he was leaving the championship.

There was also the curious case of Mark Blundell who came into the championship off the back of F1 pedigree but best finishes of 13th and 14th were as good as it got for the former Le Mans winner who did not live up to his billing after struggles with adapting to a front-wheel-drive car. Whether he remains in the championship, remains to be seen.

It will also be interesting to see whether Rob Smith and Sam Osborne will pilot the new Hyundai entry for Excelr8 Motorsport with them finishing towards the bottom of the championship but all will likely be revealed in the coming months.

Credit: BTCC / Jakob Ebrey Photography

Like alluded to only Moffat, Sutton, Bushell and Goff have been confirmed so far but as ever in the BTCC, what fans call ‘silly season’ is just around the corner and with the Autosport International Car Show usually gleaming some entries, the 2020 season and the announcements for it will seemingly be just around the corner.

This season though as ever was frenetic and produced Colin Turkington as the winner again in brilliant circumstances. Tin-top racing remains one of the closest and watchable motor racing championships on the calendar and this has been proved once again. Bring on 2020!

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Head British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) writer for The Checkered Flag - passionate about Motorsport from a young age, also writes predominately about Darts, Tennis and Basketball for other publications full time.
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