JHS

Btcc '11

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I'd be suprised if he didn't get the drive. Apparently Ben Collins has signed with RML for LMS/ILMC and I believe there would be clashing dates, so...

Elsewhere, apparently Jonny Adam has been talking up his chances of getting back into the BTCC. Difficult to see where he'd fit in, unless it was somewhere like WSR or a third Chevrolet.

Apparently it's likely that WSR will remain with the BMWs and Rob Collard is expected to remain at the team. Meanwhile, according to their facebook page, Forster Motorsport have sold their BMWs and have told fans to expect "big news" soon.

Sunshine.co.uk have sold their Integras. Hopefully this means we'll see them returning with newer machinery. I'd love to see O'Neill return, he's a class act.

Lastly, Plato's said at Autosport International that whilst his deal to remain in the BTCC with Chevrolet isn't done yet, he expects the deal to be finalised within the "next few weeks".

Edited by JHS

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Special Tuning announces sponsorship and changes name:

Independent SEAT team Special Tuning UK has announced a change of name for the 2011 season, now calling themselves Special Tuning Racing (or STR for short). The team, owned by John Boardman, is preparing for their strongest venture in the championship yet. The team owns four SEAT León chassis which are being converted to run with a new 2.0 litre NGTC-specification turbo engine which the team are also developing.

"We felt in order to move the team to the next level in terms of on track performance and make the team more attractive to corporate partners, we needed to launch a new brand," said John Boardman to BTCC.net

The team have also confirmed a key sponsorship deal with Houseman Dry Lining for the coming season. Houseman Dry Lining has backed BTCC stalwart Dave Pinkney for the past two years whilst he raced for his own team as well as Team Dynamics.

Houseman also previously sponsored Matt Allison during his BTCC campaign between 2007 and 2008 with Motorbase Performance & Robertshaw Racing.

"We are extremely proud to have Houseman Dry Lining on board for the coming year. The team is committed to a very competitive season throughout 2011 and a title sponsor coming on board adds weight to our dedicated campaign."

Despite the artists impression showing 'Boardman', most certainly Tom Boardman on the car, the team have yet to confirm any of the drivers for their 2011 campaign.

btcc11012102.jpg

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btcc11020401.jpg

The Dynojet Race Team has confirmed to run their NGTC specification Toyota Avensis with a 2.0 turbo engine from Toyota, prepared by X CTech R and funded by Toyota GB.

"The Toyota 3ZR engine is a lightweight, compact package which we have optimised to ensure delivery of the required performance and durability," said X CTech R technical director Mark Faulkner. Dynojet was one of the first teams to announce that they are going to take part in the 2011 British Touring Car Championship with the new NGTC specification Toyota Avensis.

"The Avensis has been designed to the ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ rules, which means we could have opted for the stock TOCA engine, however we were enormously impressed by the plans put forward by X CTech R and felt that this was the right way for us to go, not least because it means our Avensis will be 100 per cent Toyota," said team boss Frank Wrathall Snr.

Frank Wrathall Jnr., who previously has driven Ginetta G20 and G50, is going to be behind the wheel of the Toyota in the BTCC this season.

"All the elements are in place for it to be very competitive indeed and I’m excited to go behind the wheel for the first time and get a feel for the Avensis, which will be the first front-drive car I have raced," said Wrathall Jnr.

While the Dynojet BTCC program is not supported from Toyota, the development of the new NGTC Toyota engine has been funded by Toyota GB.

"The decision to fund the development of a new Toyota BTCC engine is a direct response to requests we received from privateer teams and drivers wanting to race the NGTC Avensis. We are delighted to be supporting the Dynojet Racing Team in this way and hope very much that even though theirs is not a ‘works’ entry, it will help return the Toyota name to the forefront of the BTCC," said Scott Brownlee, Toyota GB PR chief.

Also, add Tony Gilham's name to the ever increasing entry list. He's been racing in Porsches for the last few years and has been doing solidly enough.

Seems like it could be a packed grid this year!

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Two bits of news today. First, James Nash is back for Triple 8 - no car confirmed, it'll either be a Vectra or NGTC Insignia (yes please!) - link.

Next, WSR confirm they'll continue to run with BMWs, three cars, two drivers already signed, an announcement should come soon - link.

Both stories are great news for the series that really does look it'll be in for a vintage season this year.

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An Insignia has to be wishful thinking, but I'd love to see it. Cool car.

I'm surprised WSR will stick with the BMW, but if they're going to use three, I assume it will be their last year with the car. Ever since it lost its advantage on starts/restarts, it just hasn't been the car to have.

A lot of great news from BTCC so far, thanks for the updates. Surprised to see so much confirmed so early, and so much of it so good. We don't even need "Kia, Volvo, and MG wurks teams to join and feeeeld Tmom Clhitlon!!!11" rumors this winter. ;)

And for some cool news about one of BTCC's support series:

http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/252369/nicholas-hamilton-tests-for-clio-cup-uk/

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Early image of Team Airwaves' new livery:

st_6561_a2ac.jpg

Airwaves Focus breaks cover

This is the first image of the new livery that Airwaves Racing’s Ford Focus STs will sport in 2011’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The team is shaking down its cars for the first time today at its home circuit of Brands Hatch having switched to the Ford brand from BMW during the winter. Pictured is Mat Jackson giving rookie team-mate Liam Griffin’s Focus an initial run before hopping into his own machine.

As can be seen, the cars will carry a striking red-with-gold-wheels colourscheme and there’s a reason – these are the same colours used by David Bartrum when he raced Fords in the Nineties before forming the Motorbase team that now runs the Airwaves cars!

Also in action today on the short Brands Indy circuit is Tom Chilton in a 2010 Team Aon Focus before his squad’s latest 2011-spec version becomes available for testing, as well as Pirtek Racing duo Andrew Jordan and Jeff Smith in their Vauxhall Vectras.

Also, hints at a Proton Gen 2 NGTC racing this year too. I added Welch Motorsport to the list a while back, and this gives an early indication of their plans. Very interesting...

Chevrolet say via their facebook page that news of their plans should be revealed soon.

Edited by JHS

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Come out of hibernation briefly to share some media day joy.

So, after a intense winter of speculation, here's the entry list. Not the 30+ cars as some were talking about, but a 25 car entry list (with two TBAs) is very healthy:

No. Driver (NAT), Hometown, County, Team/Car

1. Jason Plato (GBR), Oxford, Silverline Chevrolet/Chevrolet Cruze

2. Matt Neal (GBR), Droitwich Spa, Worcs, Honda Racing Team/Honda Civic

5. Tom Chilton (GBR) Reigate, Surrey & Poole, Dorset, Team Aon/‘Global’ Ford Focus

7. Mat Jackson (GBR), Henley-in-Arden, Warks, Airwaves Racing/Ford Focus

8. Robert Collard (GBR), Hook, Hants, WSR/BMW 320si

11. Frank Wrathall (GBR), Preston, Lancs, Dynojet/Toyota Avensis

12. David Pinkney (GBR), Harpenden, Herts, Rob Austin Racing/Audi A4

13. TBA, Rob Austin Racing/Audi A4

14. James Nash (GBR), Newport Pagnell, Bucks, 888 Racing with Collins Contractors/Vauxhall Vectra

17. Dave Newsham (GBR), Inverness, Scotland, Geoff Steel Racing/BMW 320si

18. Nick Foster (GBR), Odiham, Hampshire, WSR/BMW 320si

20. Alex MacDowall (GBR), Carlisle, Cumbria, Silverline Chevrolet/Chevrolet Cruze

22. Tom Boardman (GBR), Preston, Lancs, Special Tuning Racing/SEAT Leon

28. John George (GBR), Par, Cornwall & Guernsey, GoMobileUK.com with tech-Speed/Chevrolet Cruze

29. Paul O’Neill (GBR), Widnes, Cheshire, GoMobileUK.com with tech-Speed/Chevrolet Cruze

34. Tony Gilham (GBR), Dartford, Kent, 888 Racing with Collins Contractors/Vauxhall Vectra

42. Daniel Welch (GBR), Fleet, Hampshire, Welch Automotive/Proton Gen-2**

43. Lea Wood (GBR), Hereford, Central Group Racing/Honda Integra*

44. Andy Neate (GBR), Aylesbury, Bucks, Team Aon/‘Global’ Ford Focus

50. Tony Hughes (GBR), Knutsford, Cheshire, Speedworks Motorsport/Toyota Avensis

52. Gordon Shedden (GBR), Dalgety Bay, Fife, Honda Racing Team/Honda Civic

55. Jeff Smith (GBR), Wellingborough, Northants, Pirtek Racing/Vauxhall Vectra

66. Liam Griffin (GBR), Essendon, Herts, Airwaves Racing/Ford Focus

77. Andrew Jordan (GBR), Lichfield, Staffs, Pirtek Racing/Vauxhall Vectra

78. Chris James (GBR), Luton, Beds, Team ES Racing.com/Chevrolet Lacetti

99. Tom Onslow Cole (GBR), New Malden, Surrey, AmD Milltek Racing.com

TBA. TBA, TBA, Team Aon/‘Global’ Ford Focus

Lea Wood will be entering at Oulton, whilst Daniel Welch's Proton Gen-2 will make its debut at Snetterton.

Some great stories emerged from the time I've been absent, such as Tech Speed's deal to run Chevrolet Cruzes for O'Neill and George. I'm so looking forward to see what Paul can do in a brand new car after a couple of years in the old Integra. Certainly a contender for race wins and the championship right there.

Chevrolet will return as a manufacturer with Jason Plato defending his championship, whilst Alex MacDowell will join him for a second year. Collard remains at WSR, joined by rookie Nick Foster who's been racing in the BMW CSL cup. After a car that had very few sponsors on the side of it alst year, EBAY Motors steps up as the team's main sponsor.

Tom Onslow-Cole makes a move to AmD Milltek in a move that some, but not all, saw coming. It surprised me. I was expecting him at either AON or Special Tuning Racing. A mention must go to Shaun Hollamby, who's taken the decision to step away from driving to focus on the day to day operations of the team. If there's a guy who can get the Golf up there though, it's Onslow-Cole.

Andy Neate moves to AON to partner proven race winner Tom Chilton in the new Ford Focus. The car looks stunning, will it go as well as it looks?

Honda Racing practically won everything apart from the driver's title in 2010, and return in 2011 with the same pairing of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden. In Neal they have a two times champion and with Shedden they have a driver of championship potential. With Pioneer and Yuasa on board, they also have heavy financial backing.

2010 Clio Cup champion Dave Newsham joins 2010 Ginetta G50 champion Frank Wrathall to move up to the BTCC in a Geoff Steel Racing (returning after an absence of a couple of years) BMW and an NGTC Toyota Avensis respectively, two promising drivers who are more than capable for challenging for points and podiums this year. Tony Gilham is another to progress to the BTCC with a Triple 8 Vectra. He moves from the Porsche Carrera Cup where he secured points and regularly competed for class victory.

Veteran Dave Pinkney returns for another year to drive an NGTC spec Audi A4. His team mate is yet to be confirmed. Chris James, a former Mini racer, will race a former STCC Chevrolet Lacetti.

As for the TBAs, it looks as if Phil Glew is favourite for the third AON seat. I sincerely hope it works out for him. He's a class act and it was a huge shame that he didn't do the full year last season. The RAR A4 is a difficult one. Rob Austin has ruled himself out of driving duties, so it is hard to say who could get that ride.

Some absentees:

Forster (previously said they would be there)

Bamboo Engineering (Vaulkhard twittered that they hadn't yet got a package together)

Second Geoff Steel Racing BMW (Newsham said last night people should find his team mate out today)

2-3 Special Tuning Racing (Previously said they could run up to 4 cars this year, so strange to see that only Boardman's entered)

Pictures from the day (from btccpages.com, touringcartimes.com and btcccrazy.co.uk)

James1.jpg

Collard1.jpg

Neal1.jpg

Gilham2.jpg

ONeill1.jpg

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The Tech-Speed cars are awesome. Should be a good season. Thanks for the pictures; didn't realize Media Day was today.

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Not to sound like a snob, but they all look a bit like Sunday Clubracers....just with bigger stickers. Not rattling me dags at all.

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Hello Mr.JHS!

Hey again Caesar. :)

The Tech-Speed cars are awesome. Should be a good season. Thanks for the pictures; didn't realize Media Day was today.

Yeah, I like the livery too. I still think the Cruze is quite an ugly car, but I love both the Tech Speed and Silverline liveries.

Not to sound like a snob, but they all look a bit like Sunday Clubracers....just with bigger stickers. Not rattling me dags at all.

The cars might not look anything special, but the racing speaks for itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQKNRXogK-0

Seriously some of the best racing and car control I've ever seen has come from BTCC. As Top Gear said "It's not F1, it's not rallying, it's more humble and more exciting than both."

Edited by JHS

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Yeah, I like the livery too. I still think the Cruze is quite an ugly car, but I love both the Tech Speed and Silverline liveries.

Purple Chevrolets bring back good memories for me, so I can forgive the ugliness of the Cruze. ;)

Are year-old cars usually competitive? It's a big grid, so I'm sure the field is deep, but I suppose what I want to ask you, knowing more about BTCC than I, if you think Paul O'Neill has a shot at winning races this year? I'd really enjoy seeing that.

Edited by lewisthegreat2

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Hey again Caesar. :)

Yeah, I like the livery too. I still think the Cruze is quite an ugly car, but I love both the Tech Speed and Silverline liveries.

The cars might not look anything special, but the racing speaks for itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQKNRXogK-0

Seriously some of the best racing and car control I've ever seen has come from BTCC. As Top Gear said "It's not F1, it's not rallying, it's more humble and more exciting than both."

Why are those cars in such a rush to get to the supermarket?

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Purple Chevrolets bring back good memories for me, so I can forgive the ugliness of the Cruze. ;)

Are year-old cars usually competitive? It's a big grid, so I'm sure the field is deep, but I suppose what I want to ask you, knowing more about BTCC than I, if you think Paul O'Neill has a shot at winning races this year? I'd really enjoy seeing that.

Well certainly it is a newer car than what he's been racing in with recent years, with the Integra. It's only the Cruze's second year in the BTCC and with Tech Speed having Silverline's set up data from last year, I'm more than confident that O'Neill will be able to challenge for regular podiums, wins, and maybe the championship. He was in third place in the championship up to Oulton Park last year, so there's no doubt in my mind that he's a top class driver. Really, anything less than victories this season will be a disappointment and I'm sure he'll be keen to break his winless streak. Certainly it hasn't been a lack of talent keeping him off the top step in recent years.

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I was unaware they got Silverline's data, too. That's big. I think it's great that Tech-Speed and Motorbase have gotten competitive cars, and I definitely like the Ford vs. Chevrolet thing going on at the top of the grid. I'd definitely enjoy O'Neill stealing one over Plato or Jackson stealing one of Chilton.

Are any of the Toyota drivers any good? I seem to recall there was one (maybe Wrathall) who had potential, and then some of the others were more along the lines of gentleman drivers. Just wondering because it's a nice looking car.

Hopefully there will be a reliable stream this year. Grid's packed.

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Wrathall is very good. Ginetta G50 champion last year, he's a very quick, intelligent driver. I think maybe his true pace maybe hidden a little in the early stages whilst they get the car sorted out. But I'm going to through this one out there: If a NGTC car wins, Wrathall will be the driver.

There's only two Toyotas, the other is for Tony Hughes who is a gentleman driver. But then there's the Rob Austin Racing Audi A4s. Only one will be present at Brands, with David Pinkney driving, but they're keen to have the second car ready for the second round at Donington. Dan Welch will also debut the NGTC Proton Gen-2 at Snetterton.

Anyway, just a reminder that the first round of the year is this weekend. Lewis Hamilton will be at Brands to cheer on his brother, Nic, who is racing in the Renault Clios. I'm sure this will be a great start to what should be a terrific season of racing as the BTCC continues to go from strength to strength. Sure, BTCC doesn't have as many manufacturers competing in the series in the 90s, but the world has changed, and based on the form of recent years, the BTCC doesn't need loads of manufacturers. Increasing spectator numbers and TV viewing figures are clear evidence for that.

Edited by JHS

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First practice session results.

Very close at the top. However, there's already been a big blow for Honda Racing. With 8 minutes of the session remaining, Gordon Shedden had a heavy crash, severly damaging his car. Shedden's okay, his car not so. It means he will be watching the races as a spectator for the rest of the weekend.

Pictures of the smash:

btcc11040203.jpg

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Meanwhile, James Nash's livery has been unveiled:

btcc11040102-a.jpg

Oh, and the RAR Audi A4 IS at Brands, they were working on it through the first practice session however. They will hope to be out on track for the rest of the weekend.

Edited by JHS

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Matt Neal gives Honda Racing some cheer and takes the first pole of the year:

1. Matt Neal Honda 48.210s

2. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Vauxhall 48.465s + 0.255s

3. Jason Plato Chevrolet 48.583s + 0.373s

4. James Nash Triple 8 Vauxhall 48.623s + 0.413s

5. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet 48.658s + 0.448s

6. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 48.667s + 0.457s

7. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 48.668s + 0.458s

8. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 48.752s + 0.542s

9. Paul O'Neill Tech-Speed Chevrolet 48.849s + 0.639s

10. Andy Neate Arena Ford 49.036s + 0.826s

11. Tony Gilham Triple 8 Vauxhall 49.045s + 0.835s

12. Rob Collard WSR BMW 49.130s + 0.920s

13. Jeff Smith Eurotech Vauxhall 49.176s + 0.966s

14. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford 49.220s + 1.010s

15. Dave Newsham Geoff Steel BMW 49.248s + 1.038s

16. Tom Onslow-Cole AmD Volkswagen 49.540s + 1.330s

17. Nick Foster WSR BMW 49.587s + 1.377s

18. John George Tech-Speed Chevrolet 50.065s + 1.855s

19. Chris James ES Chevrolet 51.169s + 2.959s

20. Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 51.449s + 3.239s

21. Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota 51.736s + 3.526s

22. Gordon Shedden Honda

Amazingly, Honda are actually on target to fix Shedden's car. It seems they are confident of getting him out for the races, which is great news. Still no sign of the A4. I think they should just withdraw and get both cars 100% for Donington in two weeks time.

space.gif

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I wish there were a way to record Justin.tv broadcasts and watch them later. I'm going to have to hope the broadcaster archives the races this year (someone did last year) in the "Recently Broadcast" section, in which case, I'm all set. If someone puts them on YouTube, that works too. Otherwise, business matters are going to prevent me from seeing it, as much as I want to.

On a side note, I've been meeting a lot of people going to the same uni that I'm going to next year through this thing called the Worldwide Web, and I was shocked to meet one student who liked to watch BTCC. I'm putting the races on in the dorm and pretty soon it will overtake NASCAR in popularity here...;)

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Made it back in time to see race three; watched race two earlier, as well, so I only ended up missing race on. Good thing for discovering the timetable on the BTCC site.

Off to a typical start with Plato complaining. Waaah, waaaah, waaaaaah. He can't pass. Boo hoo. ;)

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You don't say winningest in Britain, huh?

Not sure about the Nash/Jackson contact, but I think it's more of Nash's fault than anyone's.

Ben Edwards did the Jonathan Legard "driver x from driver y from driver z" thing. Fire him! ;)

Seems to be a trend today with a lot of close running, but not a lot of overtaking up at the front. Bear in mind I missed the first race, so perhaps I missed something big there.

I hope O'Neill can get more comfortable with the Cruze over the season and get up there. I'm confident he will.

Speaking of the Cruze, it looks so awkward and bulky on the track compared to the other cars. Liking the look of the Foci, but not the look of Chilton's driving today. Everything I've seen so far has been really unimpressive, and without Onslow-Cole on the team, Aon have a weak lineup to match a car that I expect to be competitive.

10 laps down now and it looks like Neal's got this one...

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