The Night of Champions
The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship was celebrated in style at the annual TOCA Night of Champions this past weekend (25 November), with all of the winners seeing their achievements recognised as they took to stage to collect their awards.
ITV Sport commentator David Addison hosted proceedings, while Louise Goodman joined him to interview the stars of the TOCA package – trophies in hand.
Mike Bushell (Renault UK Clio Cup), Charlie Eastwood (Porsche Carrera Cup GB), Jamie Caroline (British F4 Championship), Callum Pointon (Ginetta GT4 Supercup), Tom Gamble (Ginetta Juniors) were those crowned champions from the TOCA support series’ and were first to make their way up on stage at IHG’s Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park to collect their silverware.
The BTCC celebrations started with the Jack Sears Trophy for top rookie, collected by Power Maxed Racing’s Senna Proctor.
Speedworks Motorsport enjoyed its moment in the sun, as Team Principal Christian Dick and driver Tom Ingram took to the stage to pick up a clean sweep of Independents’ honours with the Teams’ and Drivers’ titles respectively.
BMW Group UK and Ireland Managing Director Graeme Grieve congratulated all involved at West Surrey Racing on a stunning season’s achievements – with the Bavarian marque’s involvement as a Manufacturer for 2017, the outfit once again sealed the Manufacturers’ crown. Legendary BTCC team boss Dick Bennetts then took to the stage as Team BMW was presented with its Teams’ Trophy.
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing’s Dan Millard won the BTCC Engineer of the Year award for his work on Ash Sutton’s title winning Subaru Levorg.
To round things off, Sutton received the plaudits as he held a hard-earned maiden Drivers’ Trophy aloft – a moment he said he’d dreamed of since the age of eight.
“I’m the kind of guy who sets targets and with Adrian Flux Subaru Racing I only had one target to go and try to achieve,” said the champ. “In my eyes it’s a dream. It’s been a dream of mine from a very young age to stand here and hold this trophy. It was a definite target of ours to head to Brands in with a shout and to go in leading it after such a bad start, was fantastic.
“Going up against Colin (Turkington), he’s one of the best in the business. It was just a bit of a shame we didn’t quite get to battle it out at the last as I’d hoped. Going up against him, he’s been there and he’s done it many a time – he’s got two titles under his belt.
“I’m the new kid on the block, so it was one of those where I had to really lean on those around me and learn from the experienced guys to make the most of everything. I think I handled it in the best way possible. We thought it’d slipped away in race two but we made that negative into a positive for the last race.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling and it brings back so many memories of being young and wanting this. I’ve always wanted to say ‘I’m the British Touring Car Champion’ and to be here and be able to say that is an incredible feeling and it’s one that’s going to live with me, the sponsors and the team for a very long time and thanks for all of those as well as my family for supporting me.”