A class of his own
Andrew Jordan was not the only new driver to be crowned a champion at the final weekend of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. The race for S2000 honours has been fought out at the back of the bulging BTCC grid throughout the season’s 30 races, but two drivers stood out as the main contenders early on.
Over the first half of the season, Lea Wood led the standings for Wheel Heaven/Housman Racing by a slim margin from Addison Lee Motorbase driver Liam Griffin. Unlike a championship where points are awarded according to finishing position, the Jack Sears Trophy rules meant that drivers running older-specification S2000 cars were competing only for outright class victory. The driver with the most wins would take the trophy at the end of the season – so all the S2000 drivers had to race at their maximum in every contest providing us with some of the most exciting action of the 2013 season.
Wood, mirroring eventual overall champion and former driver of the very same S2000 Vauxhall Vectra Andrew Jordan, had to wait until the second race at Donington Park to take his first victory. This victory opened the floodgates for Wood, who won at least one of the three races at every meeting from that point on. While the tide shifted in his direction, it moved away from Griffin, who won four races in the first half of the season but struggled with unreliability over the second half of the season in his Ford Focus ST, only managing a further two class wins before the curtain closed on 2013’s racing.
There was a brief resurgence at Knockhill for Griffin, where he took two wins and looked set for a third before being tapped into a spin and out of the race. This left the door open for Wood to take another victory, and then with three wins out of three at Rockingham, the #43 driver moved out of reach of all his competitors.
The Rockingham triple header of victories was one of three for Wood in 2013 – an impressive feat of consistently fast driving and reliability from a car that has raced in the BTCC since 2008. Even when he had pulled out an insurmountable lead, Wood opted to continue racing for the final two events, ensuring that BTCC fans were treated to exciting racing all the way down the field. This decision to race shows a commitment and will to race that did not go unnoticed, and the team received a special Dunlop ‘Spirit of the Championship Award’ from series organisers TOCA ahead of the final race meeting.
With the grid set to consist entirely of NGTC machinery in 2014, Wood and his popular family-run team are working tirelessly to secure sufficient sponsorship to mount a main-championship campaign.