It’s back...BTCC Tour roars into action this weekend
After what seems like an eternity, the British Touring Car Championship and the Michelin-backed support categories will roar back into action this weekend at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent for the TOCA Tour’s first race meeting of 2012.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB is set for another sensational season and the favourite for victory going in to the opening two rounds has to be 2011 Vice-Champion Michael Meadows. He’ll be pushed hard though by some rapid opposition, not least category returnee Glynn Geddie, Meadows’ Redline Racing team-mate, and the Team Parker trio of Daniel Lloyd, Sam Tordoff and Richard Plant.
Michelin columnist Lloyd, winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholarship, has already made waves in official testing with the fourth fastest time – just 0.2 seconds shy of Meadows – and is our ‘One to Watch’ for the coming season.
Formula Renault UK postponed for 2012...
Undoubtedly, the biggest change to the package this year is the non-appearance of Formula Renault UK after the shock announcement a couple of weeks ago the championship has been shelved for 2012 due to low grid numbers.
Having become established over the past 23 years as the foremost one-make junior single-seater category on the globe, the disappearance of Formula Renault UK from the nation’s racetracks this year will leave a big gap in British motorsport.
However, Renault’s presence is assured with the ever-popular AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK and a grid of well over 20 cars is expected to gather at Brands Hatch this weekend. Multiple championship winning squads Team Pyro and Total Control Racing are both keen to claim another title with Jack Goff and saloon car newcomer Rob Smith set to lead the way for each outfit respectively.
Nicolas Hamilton, younger brother of Grand Prix star Lewis, returns with TCR for only his second ever season of car racing and he is set to spring a lot of surprises. James Dixon, a major title contender in 2011, remains in Clios but will race for Scuderia Vittoria this year...and he made a great start in the official pre-season test to lap fastest of all, although only 0.043 seconds quicker than Goff!
Touring car test on offer for Ginetta Junior Champion...
The all-action Ginetta Junior Championship is likely to feature a monumental title battle between returnees Charlie Robertson and George Gamble. Both multiple race winners, the young teenagers shone last year in their maiden seasons and it’s hard to see anyone besting them. That said, Niall Murray is back and should be a strong threat for the title and the coveted prize of a touring car test.
For the manufacturer’s flagship Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, Tom Sharp is our ‘One to Watch’ as he returns for another crack at the championship in a new Ginetta G55. Even though something of a Ginetta stalwart, having raced in Ginetta Juniors for three years followed by Ginetta G50 for three seasons and Ginetta G55 last year, Sharp is still only 20-years-old and a rising star of UK motorsport.
Live television coverage of the action on Sunday, 1st April, will be screened on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4 and broadcast simultaneously online at www.itv.com/touringcars
Related Article: Brands Hatch: A Brief History