OULTON PARK UP NEXT FOR BTCC ROLLER COASTER
Cheshire circuit marks 60 years since its first BTCC race
The whirlwind ride of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship roars into Oulton Park this weekend (22/23 August) for its third event in the opening four weeks of the rescheduled campaign.
The visit to Cheshire commences another back-to-back run of events as the UK’s premier motorsport series then travels north to Scotland for its annual visit to Knockhill (29/30 August).
Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the action has been thick and fast since with four different race winners from the opening six races, and no fewer than ten drivers stepping onto the podium.
Reigning champion Colin Turkington leads the standings following a win at both Donington Park and Brands Hatch, complemented by a string of other points-scoring finishes for the Team BMW star.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish has also claimed two victories, but the Yorkshireman has been hampered by mechanical issues in a number of other encounters – something that the Honda squad will need to resolve in order to maintain its championship challenge.
Ash Sutton has arguably been the most eye-catching BTCC competitor so far as the 2017 champion launched his switch to Laser Tools Racing with a reverse grid success at the Donington Park curtain-raiser.
Sutton is taking the Infiniti Q50 to places it has never been before, having already scored a first, second and third from the sextet of contests so far, but there is little doubting that the team has worked wonders with the rear-wheel drive machine during the off-season.
Tom Oliphant took a maiden win last time out as he bravely fended off Sutton’s advances for almost the entire race duration at Brands Hatch, and the Tarporley racer will be looking for more of the same at his home race this weekend.
Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters’ driver Tom Ingram has been one of the most consistent drivers in the pack – and remains within touching distance of the championship summit – but an unfortunate collision in the final contest in Kent sees him playing catch up.
Speedworks Motorsport – which runs the Toyota Corolla of Ingram – is based in nearby Northwich and will be chasing its first home podium this weekend.
“Eighteen BTCC races at Oulton Park and still no podiums – I clearly need to pull my finger out this year!” quipped Ingram.
“It’s a unique circuit – really full-on and incredibly technical – and with every corner feeding into the next you can’t afford to make even one mistake, because it will cost you the whole way round the lap. That’s a challenge I’ve always enjoyed.”
There have been a host of other standout podium performances from Rory Butcher (Motorbase Performance), Stephen Jelley (Team Parker Racing), Ollie Jackson (Motorbase Performance), Josh Cook (BTC Racing) and Chris Smiley (EXCELR8 Motorsport) during the first two race weekends.
Notable absentees from the rostrum so far include three-time champion Matt Neal and Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools’ Adam Morgan, with the latter also looking to end a barren run at his local Oulton Park circuit.
There will be three thrilling BTCC races taking place on the picturesque Oulton Park Island circuit this coming Sunday, plus a host of support races from Ginetta, Porsche, Mini and Formula 4.
The 12 corner, 2.23-mile circuit will also be marking 60 years since its first British Touring Car Championship event, but will unfortunately be doing so behind closed doors due to the ongoing situation.
The ITV Network will have fans covered, however, with the entire race day being broadcast live and exclusively on ITV4 and the ITV Hub from 11:50.