Croft Circuit

BTCC 2017 | Croft – what did we learn? | Plus, exclusive photos |

Last weekend saw the British Touring Car Championship make the actual trip to the North East. EngageSportMode dispatched our BTCC Correspondent, ably assisted by Uncle Steve, to cover things on the ground as they happened. 

2017 BTCC Croft (C) BTCC

Shedden arrived at Croft leading the championship table (C) BTCC

On Sunday, BTCC fans woke to the worrying news of the injuries suffered by Luke Davenport, Jeff Smith and Aron Taylor-Smith after the horrifying crash in Saturday’s qualifying. With oil on a wet track, they were simply passengers as events unfolded. It has been a worrying time for the series and support races, as a whole, with some serious crashes in recent weeks. It’s strange to write about because this is something that we have not become accustomed to. It also shows the strength of the cars and the general safety of the series that when an event like this happens, we are so shocked, worried and surprised.

Ever since the eleven, or twelve depending on who you believe, car pile-up occurred on Saturday, I’ve been racking my brains to think of the last BTCC driver to suffer broken bones as a result of a crash. Yes, plenty have been hospitalised over the years, but to break a bone? The best I could come up with was Charlie Cox from 1995, but research suggests he suffered severe concussion rather than broken bones. I know Matt Neal drove towards the end of one of the recent seasons with a broken bone in his hand, but that wasn’t a result of a BTCC crash. Either way, the injuries suffered by Taylor-Smith (broken leg), Smith (multiple chest and shoulder injuries in addition to a broken arm) and Davenport (multiple chest injuries, lung damage, broken arm, leg and pelvis) are horrific, but thankfully rare. ESM would obviously like to send all three our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

With the traditional summer break now upon us, there is an outside chance that Taylor-Smith may be fit to race at Snetterton in seven weeks. However, you feel that it could well be the end of the season for Smith and Davenport.

Following the weekend’s action at Croft, the championship is starting to form a clearer picture. Astonishingly, championship leader, Gordon Shedden, suffered his worst result of the season in Race 15, a not so lowly ninth. However, of course he suffered a disqualification at Donington, a race that he had won. Eleven points behind him is Rob Collard who, given his past reputation, has surprisingly scored points in every single race this season and achieved a podium at each track. This new, steady approach from Collard is proving greatly effective and he will be hoping it continues for the rest of the season as he looks to win his first title. Behind Collard, are the two stars of Croft.

Colin Turkington, ‘The King of Croft’, is a point behind Collard and a further eight points behind is Ash Sutton, who is fast becoming ‘The Prince of Croft’. Sutton continued his excellent Oulton Park form by securing pole position in the truncated qualifying session and made an outstanding start to the opening race as the top six got away in order. (more…)

BTCC Rookie Tom Ingram Takes on Hillclimb

Last time we saw Tom Ingram behind the wheel, he was battling it out at Croft Circuit in the British Touring Car Championship. But last weekend, for a change, he took on the fearsome Harewood Hillclimb.

Ingram attacks the hill [Photo credit BARC / Leon Wall]

Ingram attacks the hill [Photo credit BARC / Leon Wall]

No, not everything in Yorkshire was about the Tour de France on Sunday. Although only a short distance away from the Lycra clad masses, Harewood played host to the latest round of the MSA British Hillclimb Championship. Amongst the Porsches, Audi Quattros and specialist single-seaters was the distinctive Speedworks BTCC Toyota Avensis.

{Photo credit BARC / Leon Wall]

[Photo credit BARC / Leon Wall]

A narrow, winding, 1.4 km course and a sizeable Touring Car might not sound like an ideal combination, so Ingram took it steady as he commented that “there’s no BTCC-style run-off or gravel traps if you run out of talent” when attacking the Harewood hill. Although he didn’t trouble the top runners on the day, Ingram kept the car away from walls and farm buildings to emerge thankfully unscathed.  (more…)

BTCC at Croft 2014 – EngageSportMode Photo Gallery 2

If you’ve seen our first gallery from the British Touring Car Championship at Croft, then you’ll be ready for the second. This one features a controversial race three, and our off-track highlights from around the pits and paddock.


Race Three

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Atmosphere / Pits and Paddock

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A great day, no rain and for once no sunburn. Compared to our experiences at Thruxton, Croft was a fantastic reminder of how great the BTCC is when done right. Check back later in the week for the full race report.

BTCC at Croft 2014 – EngageSportMode Photo Gallery 1

The British Touring Car Championship made its annual trip to North East this weekend, and EngageSportMode was there to capture the action. Out correspondent’s full review will follow in the week, but for now enjoy the photos. The first gallery features races one and two.


 Race One

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BTCC @ Croft 2013 – Photo Gallery

After yesterday’s teaser, EngageSportMode can now bring you the full photographic wonderment captured at Round 5 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on the 23rd June 2013.

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Still to come this week is a full report from ESM’s BTCC Correspondent, along with some reflections on how this race weekend compared to others we’ve experienced at Croft. There may also be some I Could Afford That/Classified Dreaming action too.

All images copyright 2013

ESM @ Croft BTCC 2013 – Quick Highlights

Wow! EngageSportMode spent today at the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire. We left sunburnt, soaked and satisfied after a great day’s BTCC action, including a superb three races for ESM favourite Colin Turkington. ESM’s BTCC correspondent will be bringing you a full raceday review soon, and there will also be some additional features and stories too.

We’ve also got a lot of photographs to share, but for now here is a snippet of EngageSportMode’s big day out:

Check back soon for more BTCC news and stories from ESM.

The Lamborghini Murcielago SV – Does it have a soul?

After playing around with WordPress this weekend, I realised I could change the header image (that picture at the top of the page) to rotate randomly through a selection of suitable ones I uploaded.

Since I began EngageSportMode back in December 2011, I’ve always had one picture in the header. This:


If you don’t know, it’s a Lamborghini Murcielago SV. It’s very loud, very fast and very, VERY orange. When I was trying to come up with names and ideas for this website, the SVwas the one image I kept looking at and thinking about. The reason being that it, and the associated memories, encapsulate everything about why I love cars and what I want this site to be.

The backstory to the Murcielago SV picture involves ESM’s Other Half. As a Christmas present I had bought her a supercar driving experience day at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire. I’d done one similar for my 21st birthday, but the machinery on offer had moved on since the Ferrari 308 GTS was the top vehicle on offer. The format involves starting off with slower machinery, before working your way up to the main event, or something along those lines.

For ESM’s OH, this meant learning the circuit in a Mazda 3 MPS, then driving a Porsche Cayman, followed by a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. It would have been the Murcielago were it not for the fact it was hugely expensive in comparison. This was rounded off by a few laps in a track prepared Ginetta.

North Yorkshire in May is hardly renowned for its glorious weather, despite how much the locals call it “God’s own County.” In particular, race circuits seem to act like magnets for bad weather, which was exactly what happened whilst ESM’s OH was on track in the Ginetta. The rainfall which happened can probably be best described as biblical, and meant all track action was swiftly stopped. Much like a rain hit F1 practice session, this meant everyone cleared off into the pits or to the burger van to escape the downpour.

It was at that moment that I found myself leaning against the door of one of the pit garages, looking at this:


With the full size picture you can see just how heavy the rain actually is.

For a brief period of time, it felt like it was just the Murcielago SV and me in that rain-soaked pit lane. The violence of the ducts and intakes, the ridiculousness of that rear spoiler and the knowledge of the potent performance underneath it all were hugely emotive, as I watched the rain lash down onto it. Many have talked about the stupidity of ascribing emotion to mechanical objects, but in that moment it was clear the SV had a soul. It was not just another car built to travel from A-to-B; the craftsmanship and creation behind it had given it the potential for far more than that.

As car enthusiasts we look beyond automobiles as mere transportation.  They bring us joy, happiness, frustration and heartbreak; human emotions caused by a collection of metal and plastic. The Murcielago SV represents the zenith of such enthusiasm and, whilst other images may rotate at the top of this page, only one truly symbolises the ethos beyond EngageSportMode. Deep, I know.