Season Finale Preview: Super 8
Record eight drivers in contention to lift BTCC title at Brands Hatch
An unprecedented number of drivers remain in contention to win the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as the grand finale approaches at Brands Hatch next weekend (1/2 October).
A record 12 drivers have won races in this unforgettable BTCC campaign so far, and eight of those tin-top stars still have a chance of claiming the most coveted prize in British motor sport.
West Surrey Racing’s Sam Tordoff currently leads the way but he faces a challenge from a number of deadly duos, plus his own team-mate Rob Collard. Honda’s partnership of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal have been there before, as have Subaru’s Colin Turkington and Jason Plato, whilst Motorbase Performance’s combination of Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan have fast become one of the most talented line-ups in the series.
The legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit is set to play host to three unmissable races, which will determine the outcome to one of the hardest-fought championships in history. A huge crowd is expected to descend on the hallowed Kent venue, with many, many more watching every second live and exclusively on ITV4.
The destination of the title remains unknown, with a ‘Super 8’ in contention, but only one can become the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion.
Story so far: Record-tumbling race for the title
All the talk going into the penultimate event at Silverstone was of the record dozen race winners in the 2016 season, but attention soon turned to the incredible climax in prospect for the pursuit of this year’s title.
Team JCT600 with GardX driver Sam Tordoff currently holds the advantage by 11 points, with Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal snapping at his wheels. Tordoff’s team-mate Rob Collard has quietly gone about his business in recent months and is nicely poised to scoop a first title, but he has to claw back 17 points on his fellow BMW racer.
Following the BMW and Honda pairings in Noah’s Ark fashion in the standings are Motorbase team-mates Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan and Silverline Subaru BMR Racing drivers Colin Turkington and Jason Plato. The latter three all have prior experience of clinching the crown, while Jackson has been a consistent front-runner for the best part of a decade but has yet to lift the ultimate laurels.
Between them, Tordoff’s pursuers can count a total of ten outright BTCC titles to their credit, but if the Yorkshireman is feeling the heat, he is refusing to let it show.
“The gap is a nice little cushion, but it’s not as big as I wish it was! It’s 11 points, though, and people have got to catch me,” said Tordoff. “Having eight drivers in with a chance of winning the championship is great for the BTCC and everyone involved. A lot of the drivers behind me have done it before and everyone expects them to win it, so the pressure is on those guys as far as I’m concerned.
“The Brands Hatch GP circuit is my favourite track and I’m not just saying that! The place is steeped in history, with great undulations and some really fast blind corners – it’s a real drivers’ circuit and it’s great for fans too. I love it and we’ve gone well there in the past, so let’s hope we can do so again next weekend.
“I’m quite chilled about everything as I don’t really feel the pressure. Whatever happens, it has been my best season to date – I’ve got 20 years on some of these guys so there’s plenty of life in me yet.
“I’ve got some of the best touring car drivers in the world chasing me down so it’s going to be incredibly tough. It will be difficult to watch, I’m sure, for my friends and family but I’ve got the best seat in the house and destiny in my own hands – I’m really looking forward to it.”
Timetable and Tickets
The final three BTCC contests of the 2016 season will take place at Brands Hatch, with the entire race day broadcast live and in high definition on ITV4.
In addition to the three high-drama BTCC showdowns, there’s also a packed support package, with titles to be decided amongst the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Renault UK Clio Cup, Ginetta GT Supercup, Ginetta Juniors and British F4 categories.
Tickets for the BTCC finale at Brands Hatch on 1/2 October are available in advance from £27, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or visit www.brandshatch.co.uk.
Before the start of racing on the Sunday, the pit lane will be open for a free pit walk for all ticket holders. After the final BTCC race of the day, fans can also join in the celebrations as the new champion is crowned with a spectacular presentation ceremony. The start/finish straight will be opened to the public, with access from the gate next to the Paddock Hill grandstand.
Click here for a full event timetable.