BTCC RETURNS TO LEGENDARY DONINGTON PARK GP LAYOUT
For the first time since 2002, the UK’s premier motorsport series gets ready to take on the legendary Donington Park GP circuit on the 26/27 August.
Whilst the venue is famed for many reasons – including the notorious Ayrton Senna performance in the 1993 European Grand Prix – it has also produced some unforgettable BTCC memories.
The cars and stars of the 2023 grid will mark the Championship’s official return to the layout for the campaign’s eighth event; with only three race weekends left on the calendar, Rounds 22, 23 and 24 will prove pivotal in the fight to top the standings. Especially, as arguably five drivers are in contention for the ultimate crown.
Last weekend (12/13 August), an exhilarating weekend at Knockhill saw NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 37 points ahead of nearest rival Tom Ingram (BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8). The 29-year-old also reinforced NAPA Racing UK’s advantage in the Teams’ standings – 525 points in total and 119 ahead of BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8.
The Scottish circuit produced an unforgettable trio of races amidst wet and wild conditions, and Sutton displayed his range of skills throughout, which he rounded off with victory in the finale. However, this was after Jake Hill (Laser Tools with MB Motorsport) had produced his own dynamic double to reignite his championship challenge.
Hill has climbed to third in the standings, only 13 points behind Ingram. His success over the weekend has also aided BMW’s lead in the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ battle, sitting the team 11 points ahead of Motorbase Performance/Ford on 579 points total.
Both Colin Turkington (Team BMW) and Dan Cammish (NAPA Racing UK), who occupy fourth and fifth in the Drivers’ Standings respectively, had much quieter weekends. Separate incidents for both kept them out of contention for the rostrum, making it even more important to collect sizeable points in the upcoming rounds.
The Independent Drivers’/Teams’ Standings have taken shape, with Josh Cook, and his team One Motorsport with Starline Racing, leading each by comfortable margins. Although, a double Independents’ podium for CarStore with Power Maxed Racing at Knockhill, with both Aron Taylor-Smith and Andrew Watson securing a victory, has narrowed the Teams’ battle to a 39-point fight.
The closest margins can be seen in the Jack Sears Trophy, with only 25 points separating first and fourth. BTCC rookie Mikey Doble (CarStore with Power Maxed Racing) leads the charge with 308 points; however, teammate Andrew Watson is only one point behind. He is followed by Dexter Patterson (Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD) and Sam Osborne (NAPA Racing UK), who will both be looking to reduce the margins to the top spot.
The season’s eighth event 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 a passionate home crowd.
While the pair have notable experience at Donington, with Gamble even scoring his maiden podium at the track in his opening race weekend in 2022, it will be the first time either try their hand at the GP layout in the BTCC.
TV, Timetables and Tickets
Complimenting the tin top racing will be a sensational line-up of support series, as the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, Porsche Sprint Challenge GB, ROKiT F4 British Championship and MINI CHALLENGE completes the schedule of exciting races.
Saturday’s BTCC qualifying session will be streamed live via ITV Sport’s YouTube channel from 1530. On Sunday, the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be LIVE on ITV4 from 1115-1825.
Tickets are available in advance or can be purchased on the gate throughout the weekend – visit here for more details.