Local lights lead the way ahead of trip to Brands Hatch
In just one week’s time, the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will return to Brands Hatch (6/7 May) for its second race event of the 2023 season.
Just last weekend, the new campaign kicked-off at Donington Park, with changeable and wet weather making for some memorable action across the grid; two different race winners and a flurry of career best results highlighted the competitiveness of the UK’s premier motorsport series.
Dan Cammish (NAPA Racing UK) and Tom Chilton (BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8) shared the spoils, with the former claiming two victories across the season opener.
The first race in 2023 saw Cammish overhaul long-time race leader Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) to claim victory, before the 34-year-old produced a race winning double with a lights-to-flag lead in Round 3.
Round 2 proved to be an action-packed affair, whereby an onset of rain meant tyre strategy was pivotal for race position – those on the Goodyear wet tyres surged through the pack, as those on slicks were left without grip.
By the chequered flag, it was Chilton who celebrated his first BTCC victory in four years, as the experienced Hyundai racer mastered the tricky conditions. Sam Osborne (NAPA Racing UK) collected his first podium in the series, while Nic Hamilton (Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown) produced a career-best finish of sixth, and Mikey Doble (CarStore Power Maxed Racing) secured the Independents win on his maiden weekend in the BTCC.
Now, the BTCC heads to the shortest track on the calendar – the action-packed Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
Brands Hatch is a mainstay of the BTCC calendar, having held more races than any other circuit and at least one event every season since the championship’s inception back in 1958.
The 1.21-mile Indy circuit often creates bumper-to-bumper racing with an astonishing 25 cars covered by less than a second during last year’s qualifying session.
The locals to the much-loved Kent circuit will start Rounds 4, 5 and 6 on high, after both NAPA Racing UK and Chilton topped the first three podiums of 2023.
This means that five drivers will be hoping to perform in front of a passionate home crowd, with Ash Sutton, Dan Rowbottom, Dan Cammish and Sam Osborne aiming to bring the best out of their Ford Focus STs for their team’s home circuit.
After NAPA Racing UK secured pole position (Rowbottom), a double victory (Cammish) and a further two podium finishes (Osborne and Sutton) at Donington Park, they are in a strong position to collect influential points at Brands.
In particular, Sutton (who hails from Essex) will be keen to showcase his speed, after setting the Qualifying Lap Record at the Donington National circuit.
But local driver Chilton will also be looking to carry over the momentum from his win during the Donington Park curtain raiser.
The pace looks promising in the Hyundai i30N, with teammate Tom Ingram collecting a third and second place finish last weekend and putting on a superb defensive performance in Round 3, to hold off advances from Sutton, Jake Hill and Colin Turkington throughout.
Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) is also local to the Kent area and will be looking to build on last week’s performance. Hill took second in Round 1, after leading for much of the race, but took a solid fourth in Round 3 despite a brilliant battle for the podium.
Brands Hatch is also regarded as home turf for both WSR and Team HARD, including the latter’s driver Bobby Thompson.
TV, Timetables and Tickets
Complimenting the tin top racing will be a sensational line-up of support series, as the Legends Elite Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, ROKiT F4 British Championship and MINI CHALLENGE completes the schedule of exciting races.
However, there’s little doubting that the BTCC tops the bill, with Saturday’s qualifying session streamed live via itv.com/btcc and ITV Sport’s YouTube channel from 1525, before ITV4’s more than seven-hour race day broadcast gets underway at 1115 on Sunday.
Tickets are available in advance or can be purchased on the gate throughout the weekend – visit here for more details.