BTCC confirms a 31-car grid
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has confirmed a 31-car grid for the forthcoming 2014 season. Announced at its annual Season Launch at Donington Park, all BTCC machines will run to NGTC (Next Generation Touring Car) specifications for the very first time.
NGTC rules have also significantly aided the diversity of cars now seen on the entry list. 14 models from 11 different manufacturers will be represented in 2014, with the total number of cars on-track expected to be the largest in the series’ 2-litre history.
Adding to the impressive numbers and variety in the 2014 line-up, a quality field has also been further enhanced with seven champions making the grid, and a further five drivers having already won BTCC races.
Stability and longevity among its partners and sponsors also remains a key asset to the BTCC with all of its major ongoing commercial partners cemented for multi-year deals. Dunlop has extended its title sponsorship and tyre supply term and ITV will continue to broadcast live coverage of every event until at least the end of the 2016 season. The Haymarket Consumer Media group has also joined the BTCC’s family of partners after inking a three-year deal to provide extensive and in-depth BTCC content across all of its major publications.
This year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will again comprise of 30 races across ten events at nine venues around the UK, with the season commencing at Brands Hatch on 30/31 March and concluding on the legendary Grand Prix circuit at the same venue on 10/11 October.
The BTCC field will include an unprecedented seven champions in its ranks, headed by reigning supremo Andrew Jordan who took his maiden title during an unforgettable 2013 season. Jordan fended off four former champions last season and the 24-year-old will defend his title in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.
2012 champ Gordon Shedden fell short of retaining the crown by just seven points last season. The Scotsman and his three-time champion team-mate Matt Neal both remain with Honda Yuasa Racing in 2014, but the duo will be piloting the all-new Civic Tourer model.
Jason Plato has won more BTCC races than any other driver in history and despite the MG driver coming close in 2013, he has just one goal for the year ahead: to win a hat-trick of championships.
Colin Turkington returned to the BTCC in 2013 after a three-year hiatus and produced a stunning effort. The Ulsterman remained in title contention until the final day of the campaign, despite his BMW 125i M Sport only breaking cover on the eve of the season. His eBay Motors squad has a year with the car under its belt and a strong pre-season behind them, so Turkington is confident of contending again.
The two biggest announcements in the off-season proved to be the return of two double-champions in Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi. Menu, a legend of the much loved Super Touring-era will be driving a VW Passat for Team BMR this time around, whilst Giovanardi will be spearheading the challenge from Airwaves Racing.
Official manufacturer entries from Honda Yuasa Racing and MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save are joined by a host of other independent teams entering cars from Audi (AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing, Exocet Racing, Rotek Racing), BMW (eBay Motors), Chevrolet (Laser Tools Racing, Power Maxed Racing), Ford (Airwaves Racing, AmD Tuning.com, Crabbie’s Racing), Honda (Pirtek Racing), Mercedes (WIX Racing), MG (Quantel BiFold Racing), Proton (STP Racing with Sopp + Sopp), Toyota (Handy Motorsport, Houseman Racing, United Autosports, Speedworks), Vauxhall (RCIB Insurance Racing) and Volkswagen (Chrome Edition Restart Racing).