BTCC set for exciting season opener
Donington Park plays host to Britain’s premier motorsport championship
Just over a week since its Season Launch event at Brands Hatch, the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship embarks on its first race weekend of the 2023 campaign at Donington Park (22/23 April).
As in 2022, the National circuit will once again host the BTCC curtain raiser, where drivers will be looking to lay down the gauntlet for the season ahead.
The circuit’s sweeping corners and fast back section always produces great racing, and its location within striking distance from Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and beyond, means Donington reaches a huge fan base in the heart of England.
Tom Ingram Tops the Times at Season Launch
Last Wednesday (12 April), reigning champion Tom Ingram set the pace at the only official pre-season test. The BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 driver pipped NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton to clinch the top spot during the morning run, before tough weather conditions affected the afternoon.
Three-time champion Sutton held top spot for much of the morning, but eventually had to settle for second ahead of his Ford Focus team-mate Daniel Rowbottom.
The day had commenced under glorious sunshine as the cars and stars of the BTCC completed the annual photocall, shortly before thousands of fans flocked to the famous Kent venue for the on-track action, as well as a lunchtime pitlane walkabout.
Conditions deteriorated as the day progressed, with a number of teams packing up early, whilst the likes of Team HARD, CarStore Power Maxed Racing and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK kept running until the finish – gaining valuable track time on the Goodyear wet tyre.
Now, the focus turns to Rounds 1, 2 and 3, where drivers and teams will want to get a strong start under their belt.
The 2023 BTCC season opener will carry extra significance for a few drivers on the grid with both Stephen Jelley (Leicestershire) and George Gamble (Nottinghamshire) hoping to perform in front of passionate home crowd.
Gamble got his BTCC career off to a flyer during the Donington Park curtain raiser last season by claiming fifth on the grid, before impressively scoring a maiden podium in his opening race weekend.
Having now made the switch from BMW to Toyota machinery for the 2023 campaign, the young charger will be hoping for similar results this weekend.
There’s an added bonus for both Gamble and Jelley this season too, with this weekend’s event at Donington Park being the first of two visits to the famous Leicestershire circuit – Britain’s premier motorsport championship makes a return to the legendary Grand Prix circuit in August.
TV, Timetables and Tickets
Complimenting the tin top racing will be a sensational line-up of support series, as the Porsche Sprint Challenge Great Britain, Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, ROKiT F4 British Championship and MINI CHALLENGE completes the schedule of exciting races.
There’s little doubting that the BTCC tops the bill, however, with Saturday’s qualifying session streamed live via itv.com/btcc from 1540, before ITV4’s more than seven-hour race day broadcast gets underway at 1045 on Sunday.
Tickets are available in advance or can be purchased on the gate throughout the weekend – visit https://www.donington-park.co.uk/2023/april/kwik-fit-british-touring-car-championship for more details.