TWO of the British Touring Car Championship’s (BTCC) biggest names will be going head to head for the title this weekend.
Colin Turkington and Jason Plato will show no quarter to each other as they bid to win biggest prize in British motor sport
The 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will draw to its conclusion on the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this weekend (11/12 October) with a huge crowd expected to descend on the venue.
This record breaking BTCC season commenced with the announcement of a capacity 31-car grid, including seven former champions and some of the best touring car drivers in the world. Over the last seven months Britain’s biggest and best motor sport series has provided more thrills and spills than most championships produce in a decade.
Ten different drivers have stood on the top step of the podium during the course of the campaign but now after 27 races it all comes down to this – the final triple-header at one of the most illustrious circuits in motor sport.
Will it be eBay Motors driver Turkington who secures his second BTCC title or can tin-top legend Plato bag his third championship? It’s not only the Drivers’ trophy up for grabs as MG and Honda battle it out for manufacturer glory while the teams’ title is also yet to be decided.
There’s sure to be action aplenty and some paint-swapping along the way as this year’s champions are crowned at Brands Hatch.
Colin Turkington hasn’t always been the favourite to win the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, in fact far from it.
His eBay Motors squad initially struggled to find the ultimate pace with reverse grid wins being the team’s target for the first three events of the season.
It was reigning champion Andrew Jordan who soared into an early standings lead with many predicting a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’ the Pirtek Racing driver would retain his crown. A mid-season wobble combined with a huge accident at Snetterton, however, ultimately scuppered the 25-year-old’s title ambitions.
Jason Plato – the most successful driver in the history of the BTCC with 87 wins – was always in contention. Five victories during the season including another double last time out Silverstone confirmed his place as Turkington’s only challenger in the race for the championship.
Turkington himself has been flying, particularly since an unstoppable run of form at Oulton Park, Croft, Snetterton and Knockhill set him apart from the chasing pack.
The Ulsterman has remained at the standings summit ever since and a podium hat-trick at Silverstone last weekend further bolstered his assault. Plato did, however, reduce the deficit to 50 points (with 67 still to play for) and he can never be discounted.
“It’s going to be a nail biter for everybody,” said championship leader Turkington. “I have a good cushion in the points and people talk about having one hand on the title, but one hand is no good – I need to have two on it!
“Brands Hatch is a fantastic circuit and every driver enjoys it – I think our BMW will be good there too.
“At least I only have one other driver to worry about. When I won the championship in 2009 there was three of us going for the title but now it’s just me versus Jason and I’m hungrier than ever.”
Plato’s dominant double at Silverstone puts MG in the driving seat going into the finale but nothing can be taken for granted in the toughest championship in Britain, particularly when you’re taking on the might of the Japanese marque.
“The manufacturers’ championship is at the forefront of my mind and at all costs we must win this,” roars Plato. “We’re still in the lead and I think we go to Brands looking really good for wins.”
Timetable and Tickets
Three BTCC races will take place on Sunday, with the entire race day being broadcast live and in high definition on ITV4.
In addition to the BTCC, there will be a plethora of races on the support bill, which will also see some of the country’s young drivers tussling it out for a number of coveted championships.
There will be races from the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, Renault UK Clio Cup and Ginetta Junior Championship, whilst the high-powered Porsche Carrera Cup and Ginetta GT4 Supercup will also be in action.
Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch are available from £26 with free entry for children aged 13 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here to book tickets online. All admission includes access to Sunday’s autograph session with the BTCC drivers in the pit lane as well as free parking.