Hometown heroes seeking glory at Brands Hatch
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher is hoping for home advantage to play its part in the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season finale this weekend, as the title fight goes down the final three races of the year at Brands Hatch.
Tom Chilton leads the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher charge for the Motorbase-run outfit. Heading into the finale in third place in the overall standings, he still poses a mathematical threat to title challengers Colin Turkington and Tom Ingram. Chilton is determined to keep the pressure on the lead duo until the final flag drops.
A battle that will be at the forefront of his attention, is the highly-coveted Independent Drivers’ crown. The 33-year-old sits just 20 points shy of leader and incumbent champion Ingram, with a maximum of 60 available from the three races. The battle for the Independent Teams’ title is also set to go right down to the wire, with Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher in a strong second place to Speedworks Motorsport and just 10 points adrift heading into Sunday’s title-deciding triple-header.
“I think the top three guys in the championship are going to be hurt really badly by the weight in qualifying,” said Chilton. “We’re carrying 57 kilograms into qualifying and race one with our nearest rivals behind only on 39 kilograms, which is a big drop in weight. With that in mind, the others could all look like heroes on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s going to be a very exciting end to the season. I think the BTCC will see the best of me this weekend. I’m going for it. As soon as I get a sniff of something, I’m gone, and although it’s a long shot I can see the overall title within reach so I’ll be pushing hard.
“This is my 12th year in the BTCC and 16th year in touring cars so I know exactly where I need to be and what I need to do so I’m feeling confident. I’m looking forward to spraying champagne on that podium on Sunday night!”
With the Motorbase Performance workshop less than five minutes away in nearby Wrotham, Brands Hatch is a firm favourite for the squad. The team has celebrated more wins at its local circuit than at any other track over the years and with two titles within its grasp, David Bartrum’s squad is eager to add to that tally as the Ford Focus RS nears the end of its impressive debut season.
Oly Collins Team Manager said: “The final is here! We’re excited to be one of only 3 cars in the title fight. It may be a long shot but we’ll be giving it our all and as we know, anything can happen in the BTCC. We’re in a very good position in the Independent Titles’ fight and can hopefully bring some home advantage to the final round this weekend in our own backyard!
“It’s been a great debut season for the RS this year and 2018 has been a year the whole team can be very proud of. A season of highs and lows and key turning points has become typical in the BTCC and this year has delivered exactly that!”
James Cole added: “I’m full of positivity going into the final rounds of the season. Like every year in the BTCC we’ve had our ups and downs but before you know it, it’s over. You almost have to take this round as reflection of the year, take a step back and enjoy it as for the next six months you’ll be wishing for the start of the season again.
“My job this weekend is to help Tom and the team in any way that I can in their title aims. I’m just going to enjoy the round as if it was the first and hopefully get the results that will make the offseason a lot more enjoyable and end the season on a high note.”