Croft welcomes biggest BTCC crowd in years
Croft Circuit is celebrating its biggest crowd in living memory, after the opening half of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship reached a captivating climax in North Yorkshire last weekend (27/28 June).
The BTCC is the UK’s premier motor sport series, and its annual north-eastern pilgrimage is invariably a popular occasion – this year, more so than ever before as thousands of fans thronged the track to see the tin-top gladiators in flat-out, wheel-to-wheel action.
They were treated to a tremendous spectacle of high-octane entertainment, from the flame-spitting, headlining touring cars to support series the Renault UK Clio Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup GB, MSA Formula single-seaters, Ginetta Juniors and the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup.
The BTCC boys provided their usual thrills ‘n’ spills, with the 30-strong field going doorhandle-to-doorhandle over three 15-lap races that yielded victories for BMW trio Rob Collard, Yorkshire’s own Sam Tordoff and Andy Priaulx – the triple World Touring Car Champion making a welcome return to the top step of the BTCC rostrum for the first time in 13 years.
Fans were also able to savour two high-profile touring car debuts, for Nicolas Hamilton – brother of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton – and local ace Max Coates, who works at Croft as an instructor. Driving an AmDTuning.com-run Audi S3 Saloon, Hamilton scored a best result of 22nd, whilst Coates nabbed a top 20 finish behind the wheel of the second Support Our Paras Racing Infiniti Q50.
“We had an incredible day on Saturday – 40 per cent up year-on-year in terms of ticket sales – and a healthy increase on race day too,” confirmed circuit manager Mike Cantelo. “That’s a great reward for everybody here who has put in so much effort both during the build-up and over the weekend itself.
“It was a fantastic, bumper crowd – the best seen here in a very long time – and they enjoyed magnificent summer weather for most of the weekend, as well of course as some superb racing.
“As a friend of the circuit, we were delighted to witness Max Coates make his long-awaited BTCC bow and it was amazing to see Nic Hamilton out on-track, which is testament to his hard work, dedication and sheer bloody-mindedness.
“When this young man turned up to his first race meeting to watch his brother compete, he was still in a wheelchair – and now he’s racing a touring car himself. His is a thoroughly inspirational story, and I cannot think of a better role model.”