Tim Harvey: “Bring on 2014”
Former BTCC champion and ITV commentator Tim Harvey is brimming with excitement in anticipation of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Speaking to btcc.net after the recent announcements of returning former champions Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi, Harvey is adamant the championship is as strong as it’s ever been, and said:
“I think we are getting back to the quality of drivers and grid that made the championship so successful in the 1990s. We’re going to have a really top class, international, professional driver line-up which is unparalleled in UK racing. Add to that the fact that every car on the grid will be NGTC, and we’re looking at some fantastic racing in 2014.
“It’s an incredible line-up – it shows that the commercial viability of the championship is allowing the teams to have professional drivers in the cars. This will keep raising the standard of driving, and in doing so create an even bigger spectacle. There are some real battles to be had between the top drivers – they’re all champions, so when you put them together on the circuit the results are going to be brilliant.”
Picking a champion from the huge 2014 entry is a tall order, but Harvey feels that reigning champion Andrew Jordan, who remains in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic that was both fast and reliable throughout 2013, is going to be one to beat. He continued:
“Andrew Jordan is going to start off in very strong form. He’s the youngest of the champions at 24, with the returning guys being a lot older the conflict of youth and experience is going to be a fascinating one this year. Whoever wins in 2014 will have beaten a huge depth of talent, but Andrew still has to be one of the favourites.
“It’s not just former champions that we’ve got to watch out for either. Marc Hynes is going to be an interesting addition to the grid in the third MG, and at 35 he’s got plenty of time to get his head around the BTCC and apply the raw pace we know he has. Sam Tordoff is another one to watch. He’s every bit a touring car driver – he’s got the right attitude, he knows how to be patient on track and his race craft is very good. His single-make experience in Clios and Porsches has given him the best possible preparation, and his pace is really strong. There are plenty of other drivers out there that can win races, but winning the championship is going to be a much harder task.
“Consistency is absolutely key – Jordan only had one retirement all season in the penultimate race, but even then he only won the championship by seven points from Shedden! It’s undoubtedly going to come down to the wire again, but there are plenty of drivers that can win races. We’ve got new cars coming in too like Adam Morgan’s Mercedes which will be one to watch, so there’s plenty of new stuff for 2014 and it’s all good.”
With the return of some of the BTCC’s big names, the draw of the championship is better than ever for prospective drivers, but Harvey is quite content to take up the best seat in the house as a commentator once again for the coming year. He concluded:
“The commentary box is certainly the next best thing to being in a car – I have a grandstand view of how the whole race pans out, and I really get into the whole of the race. I can see a situation building and I can see what’s going to happen as if I was there, because at some point in my life I’ve either been in that situation or watched it. If we go back to my first touring car race in 1987, I’ve either driven in or commentated on almost every race since, so bring on 2014!”
You can be one of the first to see the 2014 BTCC grid at the Season Launch at Donington Park. Entry is free to the public from 12:30pm on Tuesday 18 March. Click here for more information.