With the weather warming up, sort of. Covid restrictions easing, sort of. It’s time for the UK’s motor racing season to start, sort of. With many of us starved of live trackside action for 12 months the 2021 British Touring Car Championship is something to very much look forward to.
Staged mainly behind closed doors and with a few big names missing the 2020 season had its excitement, but not the full involvement for fans to fully enjoy.
The BTCC is widely regarded as the best premier racing series in the UK. Its non-stop action, pit-lane accessibility for race goers and with a family friendly atmosphere at the various circuits it’s a well deserved accolade.
The start of the 2021 season is therefore something to be anticipated. Returning seasoned protagonists Jason Plato (still chasing that illusive 100th win) and triple champion Gordon Shedden are sure to spice up the action. Although I’m sure last years champion Ashley Sutton, and champion in 2017, will be keen to add more silverware. Team BMW’s Colin Turkington will also be looking for another championship to add to his tally.
The closed season has seen a plethora of changes to teams and drivers, in brief the changes are;
In the Team Dynamics camp triple BTCC champion Gordon Shedden returns after a four year absence and will be partnered by Daniel Rowbottom (he previously raced in the 2019 series), with Matt Neal taking time out, but he will remain as team director.
Jason Plato is back at the wheel of a Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra having sat out the 2020 season. He’ll be accompanied by 2018 TCR UK champion Dan Lloyd.
Team HARD will be entering four cars and have switched from running the Volkswagen CC to the new Seat Leon. Aron Taylor-Smith joins the team having last competed in the BTCC in 2017.
Constructor entrant Toyota Gazoo Racing UK brings Sam Smelt back into the championship, he last participated in 2018. He’s joined by Rory Butcher from Motorbase Performance and both will be at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla.
TradePriceCars.com has merged with Excelr8 Motorsport, to form Excelr8 Trade Price Cars. It’s four car entry has switched from Audi S3’s to the Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance. Jack Butel joins the team, having previous been with CarLube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools. As does Tom Ingram who for 2020 was with Toyota Gazoo Racing UK.
Stephen Jelly has moved from Team Parker Racing (who leave the championship) to join Colin Turkington and Tom Oliphant in the Team BMW at the wheel of 330i M Sport’s.
Ollie Jackson and Sam Osborne swap over from Motorbase Performance and MB Motorsport, both will be piloting Ford Focus ST’s.
Carl Boardley joins last years champion Ashley Sutton and Aiden Moffat in the Laser Tools Racing Team who keep the Infiniti Q50.
Tom Chilton joins Ciceley Motorsport from BTC Racing. For 2021 they’ll be running a pair of BMW 330i M Sports prepared by WSR, having previously campaigned Mercedes-Benz A Classes.
Jade Edwards leaves Power Maxed Car Care Racing to join BTC Racing in its three car Honda Civic Type R line up alongside Josh Cook and Michael Crees.
The full list of contestants is now finalised and reads as below.
|Constructor Entries.||Vehicles||Race Number||Driver|
|Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||2||Colin Turkington|
|Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||12||Stephen Jelley|
|Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||15||Tom Oliphant|
|Toyota Gazoo Racing UK||Toyota Corolla||6||Rory Butcher|
|Toyota Gazoo Racing UK||Toyota Corolla||23||Sam Smelt|
|Independent Entries||Vehicles||Race Number||Driver.|
|Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||1||Ashley Sutton|
|Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||16||Aiden Moffat|
|Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||41||Carl Boardley1|
|Team HARD||Cupra Leon||28||Nicolas Hamilton1|
|Team HARD||Cupra Leon||31||Jack Goff|
|Team HARD||Cupra Leon||40||Aron Taylor-Smith|
|Team HARD||Cupra Leon||88||Glynn Geddie1|
|Ciceley Motorsport||BMW 330i M Sport||3||Tom Chilton|
|Ciceley Motorsport||BMW 330i M Sport||33||Adam Morgan|
|Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||4||Sam Osborne1|
|Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||44||Andy Neate1|
|MB Motorsport||Ford Focus ST||24||Jake Hill|
|MB Motorsport||Ford Focus ST||48||Ollie Jackson|
|BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type R||9||Jade Edwards1|
|BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type R||66||Josh Cook|
|BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type R||77||Michael Crees|
|Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||11||Jason Plato|
|Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||12||Dan Lloyd|
|Excelr8 Trade Price Cars||Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance||13||Rick Parfitt Jnr1|
|Excelr8 Trade Price Cars||Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance||22||Chris Smiley1|
|Excelr8 Trade Price Cars||Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance||32||Jack Butel1|
|Excelr8 Trade Price Cars||Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance||80||Tom Ingram|
|Team Dynamics||Honda Civic Type R||52||Gordon Shedden|
|Team Dynamics||Honda Civic Type R||61||Daniel Rowbottom1|
Some teams have already revealed car liveries for the 2021 season, but we won’t see the full disclosure until the official launch in April at Silverstone.
As of the 15th March 2021 the confirmed calendar will be;
|1, 2, 3||8th/9th May||Thruxton|
|4, 5, 6||12th/13th June||Snetterton (300)|
|7, 8, 9||26th/27th June||Brands Hatch (Indy)|
|10, 11, 12||31st July/1st August||Oulton Park (Island)|
|13, 14, 15||14th/15th August||Knockhill|
|16, 17, 18||28th/29th August||Thruxton|
|19, 20, 21||18th/19th September||Croft|
|22, 23, 24||25th/26th September||Silverstone (National)|
|25, 26, 27||9th/10th October||Donington Park (National)|
|28, 29, 30||23rd/24thOctober||Brands Hatch (Grand Prix)|
Please check the BTCC website at, http://www.btcc.net, for more details. They’ll also be able to let you know which events/venues will be allowing spectator entry.
What ever transpires you can be absolutely certain that it won’t be boring. As Shakespeare might have said “All the world’s a race circuit, And all the drivers merely players; They have their starts and wins (or DNF’s); And one driver in their time experiences many events”.