JHS

Btcc '11

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How the 2011 grid is shaping up. EDIT: Colours! Red is confirmed, green is likely and blue is rumoured.)

RML Chevrolet (Chevrolet Cruze)

1. Jason Plato

11. Alex MacDowell

?. ?

Honda Racing (Honda Civic)

2. Matt Neal

3. Gordon Shedden

Team AON (Ford Focus, likely to be new car)

5. Tom Chilton

4. Tom Onslow-Cole

Airwaves Racing (Ford Focus, ex AON cars)

7. Mat Jackson

66. Liam Griffin

6. Steven Kane/Ben Collins

Pirtek Racing (Vauxhall Vectra)

25. Jeff Smith

77. Andrew Jordan

Special Tuning UK (Seat Leon)

12. Tom Boardman (likely, one driver signed already)

?. ?

?. ?

?. ? (running up to four cars?)

AmD Essex (Volkswagen Golf)

99. Shaun Hollamby

Dynojet (Toyota Avensis)

?. Frank Wrathall

Rob Austin Racing (Audi A4)

?. Rob Austin

?. ?

Speedworks (Toyota Avensis)

?. Tony Hughes

?. ?

Welch Motorsport (Proton Gen 2 NGTC?)

?. Dan Welch

WSR (BMW 320si)

8. Rob Collard

?. ?

?. ?

Sunshine.co.uk (Honda Civic?)

9. Paul O'Neill

?. ?

Triple 8 Engineering (Vauxhall Vectra/Insignia)

13. James Nash

?. ?

Team Wood Racing (Honda Integra)

43. Lea Wood

? (?)

Tony Gilham

At the moment there's 22 cars confirmed for the grid. Another 5 are listed as likely whilst a further 10 are rumoured. That COULD bring the grid to 37 cars.

Edited by JHS

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Don't expect any Insignias until 2012.

I hope a few more new NGTC models make an appearance, and in good hands. No offense to Speedworks and Hughes, but they won't really give us a good feel for the performance of the Avensis/NGTC in general.

And of course I hope Tom Chilton wins every race and the title. But that's less of a hope and more of a prophecy.

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Whilst I think it's good there will be an Avensis on the grid, I seriously hope it doesn't become the Toyota Avensis Championship™. As I've said elsewhere, one of the really good things about the BTCC over the last few years has been the diversity on the grid, with many different makes and models of cars swapping paint.

I agree with you though, it would be interesting to see the Avensis in capable hands, especially somebody like Thompson who's doing the testing of the car this winter.

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I completely agree, so we'll see. I don't know that many manufactures will go out of their way to develop an NGTC; they may have some half-constructor half-independent teams like Team Aon develop one with their permission. At the end of the day, the large sedan (saloon) market isn't a big one...anywhere. Even in the United States, big sedans aren't popular; people who wan't big vehicles want the uitlity of a truck or SUV, and people who want sedans typically want some maneuverability and practicality (hence they go for a mid-size, which is probably a boat in the U.K., but...). In the United Kingdom, I imagine the large saloon market is even smaller, with fuel prices being so much higher. They don't need to be running Smart Cars to be relevant, but big saloons that are only allowed to run on petrol might not be the most attractive thing to many manufactures.

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Interesting story courtesy of Touring Car Times

Ford is going to offer the new Ford Focus as a touring car platform for privateer teams. The first appearance is expected to be in the British Touring Car Championship.

"There has been tremendous interest from the racing world about the new Focus, and it’s the perfect fit for a global touring car," said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Business Development. The announcement of the global Ford Focus touring car was made during the SEMA show in Las Vegas.

"Even more, by working with professional private race teams, we’re ensuring Focus has the support it needs to compete and win," said Capito.

The Focus is initially going to be built for the FIA S2000 regulations. Ford has also admitted that they are going to make it possible to run it in the new BTCC regulations NGTC.

Ford will support teams with data, engineering tools, testing facilities and production parts.

The already existing Ford team in the BTCC, Arena Motorsport, are expected to continue with their current Focus next year in the BTCC.

Good news! Looking forward to seeing that race in two years or so, hopefully a racing version will be far prettier than the road version. That has a mouth bigger than Ben Edward's....

EDIT: Actually, AUTOSPORT's making it sound like there will be a new Ford car next year...

The new Ford Focus ST is likely to run for the first time in the British Touring Car Championship next year. At the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Ford announced that the Focus would be the base for a 'global' touring car, which would be adaptable to race in all major tin-top series worldwide.

Privateer teams are helping the US manufacturer to develop a base technical specification for the car.

Although the initial machine will be built to FIA Super 2000 regulations, Ford said that the car would have the potential to adapt to all major sets of technical regulations. Included in this is the NGTC concept that the BTCC is adopting in 2011.

"There has been tremendous interest from the racing world about the new Focus, and it's the perfect fit for a global touring car," said Jost Capito, Ford's director of global performance vehicles and motorsports business development.

"Even more, by working with private race teams, we're ensuring Focus has the support it needs to compete and win."

Ford plans to support its race teams by providing data and production parts to their development programmes.

Arena Motorsport, which won both the independent teams' and independent drivers' (through Tom Chilton) championships in the BTCC this year with LPG-powered Focuses, is highly likely to continue running the cars next year, although with petrol engines.

Even better news if true! Contrasting sources as to whether AON would race the new car or not, if not, who?

Edited by JHS

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Another new entry!

Ginetta G50 Champion Frank Wrathall Junior has confirmed that he will race an NGTC-spec Toyota Avensis in next season’s BTCC. Wrathall’s Dynojet team, with whom he raced in the G50 series have put down a deposit on a car to be built by GPR Motorsport. Speaking to the official BTCC website, Wrathall said, “It’s a major step up for our family-run team and myself but the BTCC is the big time and we feel, particularly with the benefits of the new NGTC regulations, that the timing is right.

“I enjoyed a terrific run in 2010 with the Ginetta G50 title but moving to a front-wheel-drive touring car in a championship that has millions of fans worldwide and is famed for its door-to-door action is going to require a different approach on and off the track.”

Wrathall clinched the Ginetta title heading off competition from sometime BTCC racer Carl Breeze. The Lancastrian has raced in Ginettas for all of his car racing career, having made his debut in the G20 series in 2007, before spending three years racing G50s, taking wins in each year. This year also saw Wrathall named as a BRDC Rising Star.

Dynojet and Wrathall now await delivery of their car, expected to be in late February before they can get “busy testing.”

At the moment plans are for just a one car team, though the 24-year-old did concede that, “We’d like in the future to expand to a two-car team but not until we’ve found our feet.”

Dynojet are the second team to confirm that they will enter a NGTC Toyota Avensis in the BTCC next year following the recent announcement that Speedworks would be stepping up to the series with Tony Hughes.

Good. With no disrespect intended to Hughes, Wrathall's the guy who can probably show what the Avensis can do.

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Haven't posted here in a while, so here's some news.

Ford have revealed pictures of what the new Focus touring car will essentially be like:

btcc10111701.jpg

(A grill wider than Ben Edward's mouth)

This car WILL race in the BTCC next year, but it isn't confirmed which team will be running it. The favourite are mosty likely Team AON, but I guess the likes of WSR and Triple 8 will be pushing hard to see if they can get the deal.

Other AON news and Tom Chilton is practically guaranteed to stop on for another season (no suprise as the team is essentially set up around him), but there's still question marks who'll drive the other car after Onslow-Cole has previously made remarks about going off to Australia to race V8s.

The series will race on the new layout at Snetterton next year also:

1285259209.jpg

Obviously some quite major changes to the track, looks like it'll still suit touring car racing though.

Special Tuning have confirmed they'll continue to race in the championship next year and expand to a two car team. No drivers name. My guess is Boardman will stay as the number one driver, but who's in the second car....anyone's guess. Maybe Phil Glew who is not only a handy driver, but also brings a lot of sponsorship money.

And lastly, after previously announcing that BTC cars would be banned for next year, Alan Gow has gone back on his word. Only the Honda Integra, Vauxhall Astra and Honda Civic-R will be eligable however, and the cars will have 50kgs added to their weight. It could be the saving grace for somebody like Techspeed though, although bad news for Paul O'Neill. It seems as if the days of giant killing performances for BTC spec cars are finally over.

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I believe that's the 2012 Focus and Team AON will be sticking with last year's for 2011. I may be wrong. I remember reading somewhere that would be the basis for an NGTC Focus in 2012.

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Doubt we'll hear too much confirmed for a while. This is the BTCC, you know. No one's confirmed to have a full-season drive until they've started 30 races. :P

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Internet speculation a rife that the guys who built the first Avensis have been asked by a team to build two Audi A4s. Plenty more to come on this story if it's true, but I'm slightly sceptical, they'll have a lot of work to do, building the Avensis cars and the A4s.

In other news, it sounds likely that Team AON WON'T be running the new Focus, so the guessing game begins on who will.

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The confusion over Team AON continues....now conflicting sources sounding like they will run the new Focus. I guess we'll only really know by the time of the BTCC Media day.

No more developments on the Audi story at the moment, we'll have to see whether that turns out to be true or not.

More news though, and Eurotech has confirmed Jeff Smith as a driver for next year. It's likely that the team will be a two car outfit once again then, as it's Mike Jordan's team and he'll want to run Andy again.

Martin Johnson has sold his old Astra off. He confirmed that he'd be using a new car in '11 anyway, but whether he can raise the budget for next year remains to be seen.

Lastly, it seems as if the BTCC has seen the last of David Pinkney, sounds as if he won't be returning for another year with his Vectra sold to Eurotech.

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Interesting speculation again. Sounds like Motorbase running Fords next year. Unclear as to whether they'll be the new model or AON's old cars...

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I wouldn't call it speculation...it's 99.99% likely they're Ford next year. And that's awesome! I hope they retain Kane and Jackson because the two of them with the Focus has to make Plato Sh#t himself. No offense to Chilton and Onslow-Cole, I mean, DEy r t3H bESTesrtre4 dri3v4rs EVARRRRRRRRRrrrrrrr®®®®®®®®®®®®®®®, but, really...

Team Airwaves Racing with Ford is great.

By the way, on a BTCC note, these races (as well as DTM and WTCC) are on SPEED on Tuesdays (or is it Mondays?) in December. A bit inconvenient, so bust out the DVR/VCR/series of mirrors to reflect the TV in your office and enjoy some good stuff.

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btcc10121301.jpg

Rob Austin Racing plans to step up to the BTCC with a pair of Audi A4s prepared to the new NGTC regulations in 2011. BTCC.net confirms the team plans to enter two cars, which will be prepared by GPR Motorsport, who have already developed the template Toyota Avensis car which will be used by Speedworks and Dynojet next season.

GPR Motorsport's owners have a background working with Audi, and this will be the first non Toyota NGTC car in the BTCC, all however developed by GPR Motorsport.

The team has released this artists impression, based on Audi Sport Italia's Audi RS4 which has raced in the Italian SuperStars series.

The team hopes to have the car ready in early March, giving them a month to prepare before the first round at Brands Hatch on April 3rd.

Great news. I was sceptical to start with, but it is fantastic news for the series. Sounds like it will be two cars, no drivers announced yet.

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Some more stories surfacing.

Rob Austin could be one of the drivers in the Audis, he seems fairly rapid so I wouldn't put him under the "gentlemen driver" category.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Liam Griffin may be one of Airwaves drivers, he'd be coming into the series after a year in Porsches and I believe he did do a couple of BTCC races before too. Motorbase have a history of bringing rookies onto the grid, with Adam and Kane recently, so I wouldn't be too surprised if it was the case.

Lastly, it seems there will be stiff competition between Airwaves and Chevrolet to sign Jackson. Reports suggest that Chevrolet are keen to sign Jackson to have a proper go at winning the team's/manufacturer's trophies, but there's a chance they'll run three cars too. Batrum recently said that he'd really want Jackson in the team, so we'll have to wait. Mat is a star, and I wouldn't be surprised if one day he did become champion.

I'll be editing the original post again to have new list.

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The 2011 BTCC is shaping up to be worth waking up at 6:15 AM to watch live provided someone's streaming. Airwaves and Chevrolet are going to have one hell of a battle as it is, and I can't wait to see who/what some of the others teams bring. Good stuff and thanks for keeping us updated, Jimmy.

Tell me more about Rob Austin. Experience, achievements, etc. I figured he was just a team owner as he wasn't listed as a driver on the Rob Austin Racing site.

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Recently he's been racing Ginetta G50s, didn't have too great a year though, he finished 19th in the standings, I remember he retired from several races when in a strong position and he made quite a few mistakes too. He's also been racing in Grand Prix Masters apparently, where he's had some success, 1 win, 1 pole, 1 fastest lap, 3 podiums.

Anyway, I agree so far that it sounds like 2011 will be a good year (touch wood) and sounds like there's quite a bit of news to come yet, such as what Triple 8's plans are. They've been linked to several manufacturers such as Kia and MG and Ian Harrison having confirmed they were in talks with some manufacturers, but whether those rumours turn out to be true, well, we'll have to wait and see.

I'm also interested to see what WSR do now that Airwaves have dropped the BMWs. I could imagine them being the first big teams to run Toyota Avensi actually.

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Interesting news from Special Tuning recently. Announced thatthey could run up to four cars nextyear. One driver is already signed (my guess is Tom Boardman seeing as it's his father's team) andthey're in discussion with "numerous" other drivers.

Not sure where they've suddenly got loads of cash from seeingas they sometimes struggled to get to races with just one car last year. Isn't it a bit risky too? My reading into it is that they have 4 cars only, and if they run all 4 at races and one gets smashed up badly, then that could be that particular driver out for a few rounds.

Also AUTOSPORT International is next weekend, famously where we hear of some BTCC news or ar least some cars being unveiled. Plato's supposed to be there, likely he'll confirm his '11 programe?

Edited by JHS

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Airwaves Racing has confirmed two of their three drivers today. Mat Jackson will be remaining with the team whilst Liam Griffin steps up from Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain.

Link.

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As to be expected with Autosport International, quite a lot of news to post. Here goes.

Shaun Hollamby has unveiled his car for this year, the Golf is looking very well:

DSC07123800x600.jpg

DSC07155800x600.jpg

I like the fact that the car numbers will now be in the windows and no longer on the cars. Hopefully that'll give livery designers more freedom.

It's been expected for a while now, but Andy Jordan has been officially confirmed to drive in the second Pirtek car.

Autosport are reporting that Dan Welch has lodged an entry with an NGTC car in this week's magazine, will be interesting to see how that develops.

Lastly, Lea Wood will be back in 2011 in his Integra as confirmed ny Team Wood Racing's facebook page today.

Lastly, March 24th has been confirmed as the date for the media day. It will take place at Silverstone.

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I'll be disappointed if Steven Kane doesn't retain his seat at Airwaves. He beat Mat Jackson in the standings last year and replacing him with Liam Griffin of all drivers would be outrageous.

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