Triumphant Sutton reflects on record-equalling fourth BTCC title
Ash Sutton (NAPA Racing UK) was crowned champion of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship for a record-equalling fourth time after wrapping up the title at Brands Hatch (7/8 October).
He entered the final meeting of the season holding a 45-point lead and victory in the opening encounter around the iconic Grand Prix circuit was enough for him to clinch the coveted crown.
With the title secured, the 29-year-old then went on to win the penultimate race of the season before concluding an incredible campaign with a points-paying finish in the finale.
Adding to the titles that he won back in 2017, 2020 and 2021, Sutton’s latest championship triumph has now seen him draw level with Andy Rouse and Colin Turkington on the all-time winners list – cementing him in the history books.
In addition, Sutton has also become the first driver in the series’ illustrious history to lift the biggest prize in UK motorsport in both front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive machinery.
His path to a fourth championship was hard fought with six pole positions, 12 wins and a further eight podium finishes being tallied over the course of the ten-round schedule.
Sutton also secured the Goodyear Wingfoot Award, which is bestowed upon the driver with the best qualifying record over the course of the year.
Pulling away from the front row, the Alliance Racing driver kept his head down throughout the 18-lap opening bout as he led home outgoing title holder Tom Ingram.
With the championship secured and the pressure off, Sutton produced another solid performance in race two as he charged to his 12th victory of the year.
The newly crowned four-time champion had to settle for a points-paying finish in the finale, however that wasn’t to dampen the mood after he cemented himself as a BTCC great.
On top of his own personal accolades, Sutton also helped play a critical role in securing NAPA Racing UK/Ford a second successive Teams’ Championship and a maiden Manufacturers’ title.
Sutton said: “It feels pretty surreal to be standing here as a four-time champion! At the moment the magnitude of what we’ve achieved hasn’t fully sunk in but I’m sure I’ll start to take stock of what this all means – it’s just phenomenal!
“For me personally, one of the biggest things I wanted to do was to become the first person to win the title in both front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive cars. To have done that is really something.
“This year is going to be hard to beat. My little boy Sonny arrived just before the season started and it’s been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Becoming a Dad changed my approach and I’ve just been focused on making both him and my fiancé Ellie as proud as possible.
“To have claimed the records that we have this season is a real testament to everyone at NAPA Racing UK and Alliance Racing. So much development has gone into the Ford Focus for this year; we opened every drawer and lifted out every tool to improve the whole package.
“It goes without saying that my engineer Tony (Carrozza) has been instrumental in all of this too. He’s really helped me to dial into the car and without him by my side this would have been hard to do as he is something special.
“I’ve made no secret that I want to go down in the history books as the one of the best-ever touring car drivers so the aim is clear moving forward; to come back and try to win more races and titles. We’ll enjoy this and then it’ll be about resetting and coming back in 2024!”