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The BTCC Thread


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As a bit of a disclaimer, before this week I hadn't watched BTCC in absolutely ages. We're talking the days of Menu, Biela, Tarquini, Cleland, Hoy, Winkelhock, Rydell, Radisich and of course Mansell's flirt which was of great interest to me being a massive fan of his in F1. This was all iced beautifully with Murray at his finest in the commentary box.


I've been meaning to get back into it for ages, and decided this year is the year (apparently I'm doing the same with F1 too). I've just caught up with all of this year's races so far by way of ITV's Highlights, which, sadly, are a bit low quality and I've found no way to improve them. Nevertheless, I'm really glad to see it's still the bumper-to-bumper action I remember from back then, and it's also pretty amazing to see that some drivers are STILL going after all this time (hello Matt Neal). One thing that is a shame is there seems to be no foreign drivers any more! (with the exception of Ireland) What happened to them all?


The new rules on ballast, reverse grids and so forth are slightly bizarre, but I'm getting used to them now. Funnily enough, I've been reading around a little bit and some drivers are actually saying their car feels better when they have the extra weight on board! Whether that's just mind games or what, I'm not sure. ;)


Anyone else regularly watch? Been some cracking races so far this year, and it really does seem like anyone can win (well, you might say there are 5-10 who are perhaps more likely). Not going to spoil any at this stage in case anyone hasn't caught up yet, but check out this snap from Donington last weekend!






Thruxton in 2 weeks. :)

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I try to watch it whenever its on and the ITV4 team are great. I'm one of the few people who like Plato so it's a shame he's been absolutely nowhere this season and I thought Neil's DQ in Race 3 last weekend was a terrible decision after the race had been red flagged. 


The retrospective they did a few years ago is well worth a watch to





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Been watching it while F1 dives in the opposite direction, but lets not go there...


Hope to get back to Snetterton this year and also fancy a trip to Rockingham. What has happened to team BMR? those subaru's at the end of last year were mighty and now they're nowhere.

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It's become a really great series now.


To answer the BMR question, they had an artificial advantage last year, the non-technical version is they could mount their engine very low down and that gave them a big centre of gravity boost, especially in a large car like that.


The BTCC made them raise it this year to cancel that advantage and now they're having to catch up.  Ignore Price and Cole. Price is very inexperienced and Cole is dogshit.  You'll notice Cole is the one with different sponsorship on the car (despite Price being offically the one entered under a different team name). You might assume there's a reason for this.

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It's good to see the series back in good health. Because of my age and the exposure it had on weekend telly I'm one of those people who hold the 1990's BTCC on a pedestal despite the problems the costs involved caused in the long-run, but I can quite happily sit down and watch a good deal of the race days now and really enjoy it.


Wev: ITV 4 has the entire Sunday race lineup on live each race weekend :). Not sure about highlights packages.

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4 minutes ago, wev said:

When is there coverage of this? Do itv show the full weekend and also highlights packages on their channels?


ITV show the whole Sunday live from ~11am to ~6pm depending on the exact timetable the track is running, that misses out the first couple of races of the day and they cram those in during the lunch break so they've got continuous TV.


That's on ITV4.  They show qualifying live on Saturday online and there are highlights at highly variable times during the week.


You need to watch the whole package if you can, the BTCC is excellent but the support line up is unparralelled.


Ginetta Juniors - 14-16 year old kids stepping up from karts, little 4cyl sportscars.  Literally the most mental motorsport.

Formula 4 - Beginner single seaters, a series that has in the past provided us with everyone from Jenson Button to Danica Patrick.

Porsche Cup - The national version of the F1 support series.  Identical 911s with categories for Pro, Amateur and "Fat old bloke with money".

Ginetta GT4 Supercup - Similar to the Porsches, proper big GT racing.

Renault Clios - A mix of up and coming touring car drivers, touring car dropouts and middle aged blokes having a laugh.  Some proper door to door racing.  If I win the lottery, this is where you'll find me.


I can effort post at least a beginners guide to these if it helps.

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I've already told my boy he needs to start saving the £15k required to do Ginetta juniors.....


It's a superb day out if you can get to a circuit (except maybe Thruxton, which I regard as something of a shithole)


The only question heading into Thruxton, have Dunlop made a tyre that can do a race distance without falling apart?

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I'd heard about £2k a weekend so sounds about right, depending on how much.... ginettaing happens of course.


The Clios are about £45-£60k I think and having raced people who've raced Clios, I could hold onto the back of that grid.

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Ok. let's start with a support series.


The Renault Clio Cup uses identical Renault Clio RS 200 Turbos. Not so far removed from road cars.  Front wheel drive, a smidge over 200hp, slick tyres.


The drivers range from ex-BTCC journeymen, up and coming BTCC hopefuls and one guy who's just raced in Clios forever.  Since most people are just paying a team to run them, you tend to find that a few powerhouse teams run most of the field.  Team Pyro for instance have 6 drivers entered this year and JamSport, WDE, Ciceley and Westbourne all have 4.


The Clios are a good route to the BTCC, 2017 BTCC drivers Jason Plato (Subaru), Ant Whorton-Eales (AmD), Ashley Sutton (Subaru), Jack Goff (Eurotech), Dave Newsham (BTC Norlin) are all former champions of the series. 


So who are we watching in 2017?


Well let's start with Mike Bushell (#21), a former champion, he tried BTCC but couldn't make it work and returned to the series to rebuild last year with Team Pyro who he won the championship with in 2014.  He finished 2nd, just.  He's probably favourite for this year and leads the championship after 2 races.




Max Coates (#71)  is also a BTCC driver, if only for 1 round.  Lack of money has essentially meant he's raced everything at one point, including every series on the BTCC support roster except the Formula 4s.  He was 3rd last year and sits 2nd this.


Currently 3rd is Paul Rivett (#22).  Paul's been in Clios essentially forever. He's a 3 time champion, the first being in 2002.  Paul's very handy because he's always quick.  If you get a year where he beats all the young guys what that's just told you is the field is weaker than normal.  Conversely if an up and comer can beat Paul all the time, he's probably very, very good.


4th placed Lee Pattison (#5) is another in this category, he's been around since 2008 and is a former championship runner up.This year he's a teammate of Paul's at WDE.



Further back, enjoy Ash Hand (#2).  Ash finished 2nd in 2015 and then accused his team of sabotaging his car in the last round so he lost the title.  Somehow he's back with Team Pyro this year. He sits 8th.


And finally, the Clios is a series that's managed to pick up a female racer in the shape of rookie Jade Edwards (#9).  Given her utter lack of experience 16th in the championship probably isn't a bad place to be, and from trackside at Brands her fight up the field from last was pretty entertaining, she finished 12th for Ciceley in the last race at Donnington.  Long time BTCC fans may remember her father Jim Edwards Jr from the early 2000s.





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Ok, so if you're only going to watch one support series, make it the Ginetta Juniors.


Let me explain.


This is a Ginetta G40




It's a small sportscar with a 1.8l Ford engine producing somewhere around 100hp and rear wheel drive.


Then they give it to a bunch of 14 year olds straight out of karts and tell them to have at it.




It goes well


Really well




Really super well.


I almost don't think it's worth telling you about any drivers, because they're all hormone filled nutbuckets but the basic split is between the rookies and the 2nd year drivers.


Of the returners, last year's rookie of the year was Daniel Harper (#33).  Tom Gamble (#23), Harry King (#19) Sebastian Priaulx (Son of ex-BTCC driver and WTCC champion Andy #11) and Jordan Collard (son of BTCC driver Rob - #9) are probably the best.


Obviously after 2 rounds we only know so much about the rookies but keep an eye out for leading rookie Harry Dyson (#29) and also Kirin Jewiss (#87), because of his fine drive at Donnington and because I watched one of the Brands races with his uncle and he was lovely.


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I call Ginetta Juniors the comedy bonnet championship as they seem to detach from the cars at the slightest provocation. See Dudley's pics for examples. 


I'm going to Oulton Park for the BTCC meet in a few weeks. Can't wait, such a good couple of days out at a lovely circuit. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thruxton this weekend and it's live on ITV4 from 11.15 on Sunday




Sunday, May 7

Time  Activity Laps

09.50 – 10.20Pit Lane Walkabout / Autograph Session

10.40 Renault UK Clio Cup12

11.20 Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship  12

11.55 BTCC Pit Lane Opens 

12.12 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship 16

12.52 F4 British Championship20 mins

13.22  – 13.45Marshals’ / Lunch Break

13.45 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge 12

14.20 BTCC Pit Lane Opens 

14.32 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship 16

15.15 Renault UK Clio Cup12

15.55 Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship 12

16.25 F4 British Championship20 mins

17.00 BTCC Pit Lane Opens 

17.17 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship 16

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Sheddon starting race 1 with maximum ballast because the success ballast is imposed before his disqualification from the previous race is ridiculous. Not that it matters because I expect Honda will easily win the first race.

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1 hour ago, ryodi said:

Sheddon starting race 1 with maximum ballast because the success ballast is imposed before his disqualification from the previous race is ridiculous. Not that it matters because I expect Honda will easily win the first race.


Success ballast has to be assessed before penalties otherwise you get a benefit for cheating.


More to the point, what of Plato, Ash is absolutely crushing him this year, 44 points to 4 and Plato is back racing with his other 2 teammates "Rookie" and "Waste of space".

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They said he was on holiday during the last test day so maybe he's already written this year off. The fact Turkington left in the off season might mean the Subaru isn't up to much because it is a long way off the pace for a works team.

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