BTCC officially unveils 32-car field for 60th anniversary season
The British Touring Car Championship has officially unveiled a full 32-car field for its 60th anniversary season at the traditional media day launch at Donington Park.
As has become traditional in recent seasons, the makeup of much of the grid became clear well in advance of media day, with Josh Price’s confirmation at Team BMR yesterday the final piece of the jigsaw.
New champion Ash Sutton will carry the #1 on his Team BMR Subaru Levorg as he returns to defend his title with Warren Scott’s squad, partnered once again by Jason Plato, who sits just three wins shy of 100 career victories in the BTCC.
BMR’s reduction to a three-car squad is one of many changes throughout the field, but one place where the status quo is maintained is at West Surrey Racing, where 2017 runner-up Colin Turkington returns in an unchanged line-up, partnered by Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan in the team’s three BMW 125i M-Sport machines.
Triple champion Gordon Shedden is the highest-profile departure from the series as he starts a new career in the World Touring Car Cup, with former Porsche star Dan Cammish filling his shoes in the second of the new Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type Rs, alongside the evergreen Matt Neal.
Alongside the latest generation Civic, Rob Austin and HMS Racing are the other team bringing new machinery to the field, with the striking Alfa Giulietta representing a long-overdue BTCC return for the iconic Italian marque.
It’s all-change at Motorbase Performance, with the departure of stalwart Mat Jackson over the winter another high-profile departure. Tom Chilton switches to the team from Power Maxed Racing, with Sam Tordoff returning to the BTCC after a year away in the second Ford Focus ST, and James Cole returning to the team he drove for in 2015.
Eurotech Racing again field a pair of the previous generation Civic Type Rs, with Jack Goff and Brett Smith behind the wheel, while the former Dynamics Hondas are now in the hands of BTC Racing, who again field Chris Smiley alongside James Nash, who returns to the BTCC for the first time since 2011.
Independents’ champion Tom Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport return to defend their titles after regular giant-killing acts in 2017, while the number of Mercedes on the grid expands to three, with Ciceley Racing’s Adam Morgan joined by debutant Tom Oliphant, and Aiden Moffat returning in his A-Class.
AmD Tuning have expanded to a four-car operation for 2018, with Ollie Jackson returning for a third year in the Audi S3 alongside debutant Sam Smelt, and Rory Butcher and BTCC returnee Tom Boardman in a pair of ex-Triple Eight MG6 GTs.
The second of the four-car squads, Team Hard, field a quartet of Volkswagen CCs for debutant Bobby Thompson, the returning Jake Hill and series returnees Mike Bushell and Michael Caine, while Power Maxed Racing welcome back Josh Cook alongside 2017 Jack Sears Trophy winner Senna Proctor for the second year with their Vauxhall Astras.
Finally, Team Parker Racing switch cars to an ex-West Surrey Racing 1-Series for Stephen Jelley, and Matt Simpson returns in his Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type-R.
The series bids farewell to no less than eight regulars from 2017, with Shedden and Jackson joined by Aron Taylor-Smith, Martin Depper, Mike Epps, Ant Whorton-Eales, Will Burns and the retiring Dave Newsham in leaving the BTCC.
No – Driver – Nat – Team – Car – Engine
1 – Ash Sutton – GBR – Team BMR – Subaru Levorg GT – Swindon/Subaru
2 – Colin Turkington – GBR – West Surrey Racing – BMW 125i M-Sport – Neil Brown/BMW
3 – Tom Chilton – GBR – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus RS – Mountune/Ford
5 – Rob Collard – GBR – Team BMW – BMW 125i M Sport – Neil Brown/BMW
6 – Rory Butcher – GBR – AmD Tuning.com – MG6 GT – Swindon/TOCA
11 – Rob Austin – GBR – HMS Racing – Alfa Giulietta – Swindon/TOCA
12 – Tom Boardman – GBR – AmD Tuning.com – MG6 GT – Swindon/TOCA
14 – James Nash – GBR – BTC Racing – Honda Civic Type-R – Swindon/TOCA
15 – Tom Oliphant – GBR – Ciceley Racing – Mercedes A-Class – Swindon/TOCA
16 – Aiden Moffat – GBR – Aiden Moffat Racing – Mercedes A-Class – Swindon/TOCA
18 – Senna Proctor – GBR – Power Maxed Racing – Vauxhall Astra – Swindon/TOCA
19 – Bobby Thompson – GBR – Team Hard – Volkswagen CC – Swindon/TOCA
20 – James Cole – GBR – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus RS – Mountune/Ford
21 – Mike Bushell – GBR – Team HARD – Volkswagen CC – Swindon/TOCA
23 – Sam Smelt – GBR – AmD Tuning.com – Audi S3 – Swindon/TOCA
24 – Jake Hill – GBR – Team Hard – Volkswagen CC – Swindon/TOCA
25 – Matt Neal – GBR – Team Dynamics – Honda Civic Type-R – Neil Brown/Honda
27 – Dan Cammish – GBR – Team Dynamics – Honda Civic Type-R – Neil Brown/Honda
28 – Josh Price – GBR – Subaru Team BMR – Subaru Levorg GT – Swindon/Subaru
31 – Jack Goff – GBR – Eurotech Racing – Honda Civic Type-R – Neil Brown/Honda
33 – Adam Morgan – GBR – Ciceley Racing – Mercedes-Benz A-Class – Swindon/TOCA
39 – Brett Smith – GBR – Eurotech Racing – Honda Civic Type-R – Neil Brown/Honda
44 – Michael Caine – GBR – Team Hard – Volkswagen CC – Swindon/TOCA
48 – Ollie Jackson – GBR – AmD Tuning.com – Audi S3 – Swindon/TOCA
60 – Stephen Jelley – GBR – Team Parker Racing – BMW 125i M-Sport – Neil Brown/BMW
66 – Josh Cook – GBR – Power Maxed Racing – Vauxhall Astra– Swindon/TOCA
77 – Andrew Jordan – GBR – Team BMW – BMW 125i M Sport – Neil Brown/BMW
80 – Tom Ingram – GBR – Speedworks Motorsport – Toyota Avensis – Swindon/TOCA
99 – Jason Plato – GBR – Subaru Team BMR – Subaru Levorg GT – Swindon/Subaru
303 – Matt Simpson – GBR – Simpson Motorsport – Honda Civic – Neil Brown/Honda
600 – Sam Tordoff – GBR – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus RS – Mountune/Ford