BTCC 2018 | What happened at Rockingham?

With news that the Rockingham circuit will be turned into car storage, what happened at the last ever BTCC rounds to take place there? ESM’s correspondent was there. 

2018 BTCC Rockingham

The British Touring Car Championship rolled up at Rockingham Motor Speedway for most probably the last time, after the circuit’s change of ownership, for the latest rounds of action. Like at Snetterton last time out, the weather would play a helpful role in the events of the day.

Adam Morgan has become something of a championship stalwart, but unbelievably he had never even had an outright front row start in six years of competing, until now. Morgan secured pole on Saturday as nearly the whole field was covered by less than a second. Consistent qualifier throughout the season, Sam Tordoff, was second with Dan Cammish third, Mike Bushell an impressive fourth and the BTC Norlin duo of Dan Lloyd and Chris Smiley rounded out the top six. The main championship protagonists, Tom Ingram and Colin Turkington, were 13thand 12threspectively.

Race one: Morgan and Tordoff got away well, but drama ensued at Deene Hairpin, the first braking zone of the lap, as Cammish out-braked himself after trying to make up for a poor start. He hit the rear of Tordoff and turned him around and as the rest of the field tried to filter through, there was often nowhere for cars to go and chaos reigned. Unsurprisingly, the safety car was called for and, at the same time, drizzle started to fall. (more…)

BTCC 2017 | Rockingham – What did we learn?

The 2017 BTCC title race is heating up, and the action on track at Rockingham was closer than ever. ESM’s BTCC correspondent gives his views on what we uncovered.

BTCC 2017 Rockingham


Rockingham is like no other track on the BTCC calendar and the sight of 32 cars heading towards the Dean Hairpin on the opening laps of the races was quite some spectacle. We, the viewers, were treated to yet another feast of close and highly competitive action over the weekend, but what else did we learn?

BTCC 2017 Rockingham


Most significantly, perhaps, there has been another important change in the championship standings.  After Knockhill, Colin Turkington was at the summit for the first time this season, but we learnt at Rockingham that this lead was to be short-lived. The man in form, Ash Sutton, produced yet another set of stunning drives to secure top spot ahead of Turkington. The question now is: Will he be caught? As previously mentioned in race reviews, Sutton has produced a series of brilliant drives recently, scoring high quantities of points, regardless of ballast penalties or even tyre selection. At present, it would take a silly person to bet against him winning his first championship.

Similarly, it would take a serious show of faith to now put your money on Gordon Shedden or Rob Collard after what for them, was a disastrous weekend, leaving the championship as now seemingly a two-horse race. The pair scored just four and eight points respectively. With their championship hopes in the balance as it was, this was a weekend neither could afford to go wrong. A poor qualifying session for both on Saturday set the tone for an unhappy Sunday. (more…)

BTCC 2016 – Rockingham | Recapped and Rated |

With BTCC back in action this weekend, here’s a reminder of what happened last time out along with ratings from our BTCC Correspondent.2016 BTCC RockinghamIt was yet another great day of racing in the BTCC, this time at Rockingham. There may have been a few more notable rough moves, but in general the closeness of the racing was incredible. There were once again three different winners on the day, but this time a BTCC record was broken as the 12th different winner of the season was crowned in the final race with the honour falling to Aron Smith. At the top of the standings, Sam Tordoff remains the man to beat after a couple of outstanding recovery drives after a nightmare qualifying session.

Race One 1st Gordon Shedden, 2nd Mat Jackson, 3rd Jason Plato
Race Two 1st Sam Tordoff, 2nd Andrew Jordan, 3rd Rob Collard
Race Three 1st Aron Smith, 2nd Gordon Shedden, 3rd Colin Turkington

2016 BTCC Rockingham

Championship Standings after Round 24 of 30: (more…)

BTCC 2015 – Rockingham | Reviewed and Rated

As the 2015 British Touring Car Championship heads into Autumn, the action at Rockingham has set up a two-way fight for the title. ESM’s BTCC Correspondent analyses it all.

BTCC 2015 RockinghamGordon Shedden now leads the British Touring Car Championship by 6 points following the latest rounds at Rockingham. Shedden had a superb weekend with a 1st, 2nd and 8th while previous leader Jason Plato was left struggling after 3 cars into 1 corner didn’t go, in the opening race, leaving him playing catch-up. It’s been a poor couple of rounds for Plato following dramas at Knockhill last time out too and Shedden has taken full advantage. However, the momentum may have turned back in Plato’s favour as a final race victory ensured he left Rockingham with only a 6 point deficit, having been 20 behind after race two.

BTCC 2015 Rockingham

It’s hard to see Andrew Jordan winning from 5th in the championship now, as he’s 46 points down and while Matt Neal and reigning champ Colin Turkington are 27 and 33 points down respectively, it would seem very unlikely that Shedden and Plato would both drop that many points to allow them a sniff of silverware. I have said for a long time now that the title will be between Shedden and Plato, with me slightly favouring Plato, and I still have no reason to change that opinion.

BTCC 2015 Rockingham

Rockingham’s entertainment value grew as the day progressed with a modest first race, a second race that came alive at the end and a highly entertaining final race. The first race was deservedly won by Mat Jackson who controlled the race throughout for a lights to flag victory. It is astonishing that Jackson found himself at the front of the grid with Motorbase’s first ever Saturday pole position. Motorbase’s cars have generally performed so well over the years; it is hard to fathom how they haven’t had a pole before. Following Knockhill, I commented on how impressed I was with this Focus package and after another strong display, goodness knows where Jackson would have been in the standings had he competed in the opening 15 races of the season. He already has 105 points from just 9 races. I’m not saying Jackson would be challenging Plato or Shedden for the outright title, but I’m sure he would have been in the top 6 mix, easily.

BTCC 2015 Rockingham

While Jackson is perhaps classed as an ‘old’ pro in the BTCC now, I find I’m regularly commenting on some of the younger drivers after each set of races. This time is no different as I once again praise Josh Cook and Tom Ingram. Cook had an amazing charge through the field in the second race as the action climaxed at the end, with Cook taking the last podium position from Adam Morgan at pretty much the final corner on the last lap of the race. Ingram has shown flashes of brilliance this year, but I’ve often found he’s ended up finishing further down than his performance has deserved. Not on Sunday. (more…)

Range Rover Sport SVR Drifting

Whilst many people are probably already enjoying the start to the festive holiday season, not everyone is quite so lucky. So, to help you get through the last Monday before Christmas, here’s a video from Land Rover showing the Range Rover Sport SVR drifting in slow motion.

There’s something almost slightly wrong about the idea of a Range Rover demonstrating oversteer ability on a racetrack, yet the above shows the SVR clearly can do sideways. It’s worth noting that a) Rockingham circuit, where this video was filmed, is an immensely slippery track at the best of times, and b) behind the wheel of the SVR is Mike Cross; Chief Vehicle Engineer for Jaguar Land Rover, and rather capable behind the wheel.

This probably shows how Jaguar Land Rover managed to set a lap record at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife earlier in the year.  Oh, and that 534 bhp supercharged V8 engine sounds rather good too, doesn’t it?

BTCC 2014 – Rockingham – Rounds 22/23/24 – Review

Turkington Extends His Championship Charge!

2014 BTCC Rockingham 001

It was another great weekend for the BTCC championship leader, Colin Turkington, in the latest rounds held at Rockingham. Turkington took the chequered flag in the first two races of the day with Rob Austin making a popular climb to the top of the podium for the final race. Turkington’s wins also coincided with a poor weekend for his nearest challenger going into the weekend, Gordon Shedden, so his advantage now stands at 55 points over Jason Plato.

The MG duo of Plato and Sam Tordoff had looked strong all weekend and it was no surprise that Tordoff took his second pole position in a row from Turkington, with full ballast remember, then Plato, Shedden, Andrew Jordan and Adam Morgan.

Race One saw Turkington make a great start when the lights went out and he flew off the line and into the lead with Tordoff and Plato behind him. Matt Neal, having a season to forget, was once again well down the order after the lights went out. Lap 2 saw Tordoff pressurise Turkington, but to no avail, while Morgan made it up to 5th as the queue for the lead increased. A couple of laps later, Morgan and Jordan past Shedden as he went sideways after trying to pass Plato himself. However, one man who didn’t recover from going sideways was Lea Wood as he lost the back end of his Avensis under braking into the Deene Hairpin and his out of control car smacked into the front end of Warren Scott causing a safety car. Both cars suffered substantial damage, Wood’s especially, which was a bit surprising as it didn’t seem to be the worst impact ever seen. (more…)

BTCC Round 8 – Rockingham Review

Jordan takes control of the championship, whilst Austin secures a maiden victory

ESM BTCC Croft 2013 (61)up5

Rob Austin’s ‘Sherman’ took his first ever BTCC win at Rockingham!

The BTCC is approaching the business end of the season and this weekend saw the teams ‘rock’ up at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire, a track recently visited by our very own ESM Editor. It proved to be a weekend of delight for Andrew Jordan, but a weekend of despair for Matt Neal.

The big news in the build-up to this event was that Tom Onslow-Cole was to miss the remaining rounds of the season to concentrate on developing his NGTC VW Passat CC for next season. However, when I read about this I knew something didn’t feel right. The car was still going to be at the remaining rounds, just without Onslow-Cole as driver, but with a young driver. Onslow-Cole himself said that it was ‘‘hard to develop the car on a weekend,’’ something I would question, and that he wanted to make sure that by stopping now it meant that he had ‘‘the best possible chance of winning in 2014.’’ Fair enough so far you’d think. But, TOC continued to say, ‘‘obviously this turn of events negates our long-term deal and puts me in a position where I need to reassess my future in the BTCC. Hopefully we can look at the situation when the dust has settled and the team’s plans for 2014 are clear.” So now, he’s gone from saying he’s happy to develop the car, although it hurts him that he won’t be racing, to he’s now assessing his future in BTCC and that Team HARD. don’t have clear plans for next season. Confused? Yes, me too. I’ll predict it has something to do with money.

Anyway, in the following days after this announcement, Airwaves Racing confirmed a deal that would see TOC running in the third Airwaves NGTC Focus for the remaining 3 rounds. I, for one, am pleased that Onslow-Cole was able to get something sorted for the end of the season.

Race One saw a drying and extremely greasy track, similar conditions to those experienced by ESM Editor on his recent Rockingham jaunt. Rob Austin revealed that TOCA had turned his boost levels down following his best-ever weekend at Knockhill, although this still didn’t stop him taking another impressive qualifying position of 3rd, behind the two MGs of  Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff. Title challenger Jordan took 4th ahead of Gordon Shedden and Jeff Smith. (more…)