JHS18

Btcc Brands Hatch - Rounds 1, 2 And 3.

32 posts in this topic

After a long winter's break, Britain's premier touring car championship returns this weekend.

2011 ended in spectacular fashion at Silverstone as five drivers in four different types of car went into the final round with a chance of becoming champion.

In the end, it was the Honda duo of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden who succeeded - with Neal taking his third BTCC title. His other two came in 2005 and 2006, and after a couple of difficult seasons at Vauxhall Neal proved why he can be considered as one of the best drivers on the grid.

After finishing third in the championship in 2010, Shedden finished a respectable second. Could this be the season he takes his first BTCC title?

Certainly, it is not out of the question, as 2012 sees some big changes.

The NGTC regulations heralded the arrival of the future of the series last year and after a challenging start to the season, improved dramatically by the end of the year. Despite an NGTC car having not taken a victory so far it was clear now was the time for many existing teams to change to the new specifications.

Defending champions Honda Dynamics is one of those teams. Brands Hatch will see the debut of the new shape Honda Civic NGTC car. The team, which is now a fully backed manufacturer entry has an unchanged driver line up of Neal and Shedden for a third straight season and goes 2012 as the clear favourites. However, after difficulty in testing they may struggle here. Watch out for Andy Jordan in a similar machine, whilst Jeff Smith could cause a surprise result.

Chevrolet are gone, but MG returns to the sport as a manufacturer since 2005. Jason Plato endured a difficult 2011 season, but in a turbo powered MG 6, it'll be interesting to watch his progress. The MG project was a little late and will go to Brands with next to no testing, so Brands may simply be a testing game for Plato and his team mate, Andy Neate. Triple 8 Engineering know their stuff though, so expect to see the cars running more competitively as the weekend progresses.

Other names to look out for include Frank Wrathall and Rob Austin. Both came close to taking maiden victories for NGTC cars a couple of times last season, and with a year of experience should be competitive from the start. Also, keep track of John Thorne in the Vauxhall Insignia and Dan Welch in the Proton, whilst Mark Hazell, Tony Hughes and Adam Morgan, the defending Ginetta Supercup champion, completes the list of NGTC cars entered for this event.

A mix of older S2000 cars including Ford Focuses, BMWs and Vauxhall Vectras and a sole Honda Civic completes a solid 24 car entry. Mat Jackson, as ever, will be one to watch in Ford Focus entered by the newly renamed Redstone Racing team alongside his team mates Aron Smith and Liam Griffin, whilst Rob Collard, Tom Onslow-Cole and Nick Foster are all candidates for strong results in their newly turbo powered BMW 320sis. Also - remember to look out for Dave Newsham, Chris James and Lee Wood in their newly acquired Vauxhall Vectras. Completing the line up is Ollie Jackson in the popular VW Golf, in what should be its third and final year in the BTCC and Tony Gilham, who will drive a brightly liveried S2000 Honda Civic under his own team banner.

(Will post some more information later)

Edited by JHS18

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Brands20Hatch.jpg

These first three races take place on the short Brands Hatch Indy track, and has produced a great mix of fast and frenetic action over recent years. Overtaking is tricky, but not impossible and the three most popular places to overtake remain Paddock Hill, Druids and Clearways.

Last year, Jason Plato overtook Andy Rouse's record for the most wins with victory in races one and two, whilst Matt Neal recovered to take victory in the finale. Up until that point, it had been a tricky weekend for Honda when Shedden suffered a big crash in practice, and it didn't get much better in the races as Neal was punted out at only the second corner of race one.

For those new to BTCC (in the hopes some people may actually read this thread :P) this is how it works in terms of determing the grids:

Race 1 is determined from a half an hour long qualifying session, and race 2 is formed around the results of the first race. The third encounter, however, is formed around a reverse grid. Anyone who finishes from sixth to tenth place in race two could be elected to start on pole position for the final race of the day. The rest of the grid forms around that accordingly.

Timetable of events.

Unofficial spotter's guide.

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You know you can't bold things in your post, because then all I'll read are the bold terms. :P

Might be able to catch the second race live.

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Might be able to catch the second race live.

Glad to hear it, if you do get to see it, make sure you enjoy it. :P

Looks like there's going to be big crowds at the opening round. Great that the series is enjoying such good crowd numbers at tracks and TV viewing figures at the moment.

Indeed circuit owner MotorSport Vision recently reported pre-sales of BTCC tickets were at record numbers and, due to demand, it has this week extended the booking deadline by an extra 24 hours until midday this Thursday (29 March).

http://www.btcc.net/...ail.php?id=2891

Edited by JHS18

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At the time of writing the cars will be doing a shake down test. I doubt any times will mean anything at this stage.

Few atmosphere shots:

542045_355606637814126_165670750141050_930058_1194010895_n.jpg

531425_355606554480801_165670750141050_930055_25571655_n.jpg

560846_355606587814131_165670750141050_930056_610269458_n.jpg

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Times for practice one.

Main stories - Honda still struggling, RWD cars looking strong. Meanwhile, there's been a couple of casualties already.

Mark Hazell's Audi has been withdrawn from the weekend - the team citing he needs more time in the car before commiting to three races.

Meanwhile, John Thorne could be done for the weekend. Had this heavy impact and it doesn't appear they have time to make necessary repairs.

Thorne1.jpg

Practice two currently underway.

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Times for practice two.

Shedden still struggling with tech problems as other NGTC cars show improvement. Top 15 cars covered by just over one second.

Qualifying starts at 3:15.

Edited by JHS18

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Surprise result already:

1. Newsham

2. Neal

3. Collard

4. Jordan

5. Onslow-Cole

6. Plato

7. Austin

8. Wrathall

9. Shedden

10. Foster

Top 15 covered by less than a second this time.

Should be a great day's racing tomorrow.

Edited by JHS18

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You need a British IP address to use your link. ;)

I have one, so no worries. :P

No, on a serious note - if anyone is interested in watching the action tomorrow - justin.tv will probably have a stream. I checked last year and someone was showing it, so I guess there's a fair chance someone will again.

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Yeah, it's been streamed every year since 2009. Maybe before that, but 2009 was when I started looking. Probably going to miss all the races this weekend, though.

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Yeah, it's been streamed every year since 2009. Maybe before that, but 2009 was when I started looking. Probably going to miss all the races this weekend, though.

Alright, well that's good to know. I may do race updates after each of the three BTCC race in here tomorrow, so I'll make sure you don't miss anything. :P

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Chris James seems like an idiot, but Andrew Jordan should let it go. Starting fourth in BTCC isn't the end of the world, and with three races all set differently, it really doesn't matter at all. Teach him a little respect on the track, then quit sulking about it and Tweeting about it and go do your job.

Speaking of doing jobs, that commentator...augh...maybe I'm glad I'm going to miss it. :P

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Made it for race three.

I have no idea who any of the drivers are or what cars they are in.

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Toby Moody has therefore already annoyed me. Therefore drowning him out with music. Therefore my experience is not as pleasant. Therefore I would like Ben Edwards back and I don't really like him much either.

Dave Newsham is Scottish. I learned that today.

Volkswagen on pole...that means the Volkswagen finished eighth...how...

Man Toby Moody is tough to take.

Ollie Jackson craps all over himself at the start, Collard leads.

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"This is bumping and this is on the graaaaaaaaaass." This guy is awful. I am losing interest.

What kind of car is Dan Welch in? That's an odd one.

Shedden pulling out...worse as birth control than in racing but still bad.

Oil in turn one, seven cars wreck led by Ollie Jackson. "Spins right round like a record baby" says Moody. I can't.

Red flag.

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"Dust"...it's kitty litter...or SpeedyDry for a brand name...you Brits are strange. ;)

Just as they say that, they call the gravel trap kitty litter. What.

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Working on Newsham's car under red...is that legal? It's not in some series so I'm just checking.

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"Dunlop tires are proud sponsors of the BTCC." That's an ALMS car in your commercial, Dunlop. ;)

How much oil did they put down? This shouldn't take so long. I'm out.

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A lot happened today...it is hard to remember it all.

So let's start with race one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiMIBojSTi4&feature=g-all-u&context=G242245fFAAAAAAAAIAA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K77iIiNamE&feature=g-all-u&context=G2deef1fFAAAAAAAAGAA

Feel sorry for Newsham there - totally the innocent party in that. Plato should have known three wide into Paddock Hill Bend doesn't work...

Quite a chaotic race this - Collard eventually won with Neal second and Onslow-Cole third.

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Second race a lot calmer - actually a very decent battle between Neal and Plato for the victory, with Neal coming out the victor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXgMXFgdonA&feature=g-all-u&context=G286272dFAAAAAAAAEAA

Nick Foster won the award for the first roll of the season in this one - although with no replays, nobody is really quite sure what happened...

Also have to post this dumb moment from race one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9sWLnfIC-g&feature=g-all-u&context=G2101e3aFAAAAAAAAFAA

Edited by JHS18

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"This is bumping and this is on the graaaaaaaaaass." This guy is awful. I am losing interest.

What kind of car is Dan Welch in? That's an odd one.

Shedden pulling out...worse as birth control than in racing but still bad.

Oil in turn one, seven cars wreck led by Ollie Jackson. "Spins right round like a record baby" says Moody. I can't.

Red flag.

Yeah, I can't stand Moody either - but no doubt later tonight I'll have ordered my thoughts. :P

It's a Proton Gen-2. I guess inevitably, you either don't have that car in America, or it named something completely different.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq6QFia_rGI

"Dust"...it's kitty litter...or SpeedyDry for a brand name...you Brits are strange. ;)

Just as they say that, they call the gravel trap kitty litter. What.

I've never heard it refered to as kitty litter before - that is the gravel you foolish Yanks! :P

Most commonly refered to as cement dust here, but I've heard SpeedyDry used before.

Working on Newsham's car under red...is that legal? It's not in some series so I'm just checking.

They interviewed Newsham after the race and he said they asked before they started work and the officials said it was fine.

"Dunlop tires are proud sponsors of the BTCC." That's an ALMS car in your commercial, Dunlop. ;)

How much oil did they put down? This shouldn't take so long. I'm out.

Haha, actually, it's a VLN car. Won the Nurburgring 24 hours last year or the year before.

Shame you didn't stick with it. Turned out to be a really good battle between Jordan and Plato with your favourite driver ever coming out victorious. ;)

Driver of the day for me goes to Newsham - but honourable mentions must go to Collard, Plato and Neal too.

Edited by JHS18

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