Sam Tordoff

BTCC 2016 – Silverstone | Recapped and Rated |

Forgotten what happened in the BTCC last time out at Silverstone? You’re in luck, as ESM’s BTCC Correspondent is here to refresh your memory, and make predictions on tomorrow’s season finale.2016 BTCC SilverstoneEight drivers will go into the season finale at Brands Hatch with a chance of becoming the 2016 British Touring Car Championship champion following the latest rounds at Silverstone. Once again, the action-packed races produced three different winners and a bout of controversy.

Saturday’s qualifying brought a return to form for the MGs as Ashley Sutton took pole and teammate Josh Cook qualified third, with the duo sandwiching Tom Ingram. Andrew Jordan took fourth, Adam Morgan fifth and Rob Austin sixth, but championship leader Tordoff qualified poorly for the second meeting in a row, down in sixteenth.

2016 BTCC Silverstone

Race One (Sutton*, Cook*, 1st Ingram, 2nd Jordan, 3rd Austin)
The opening race was certainly lively, especially by first race standards. It started with Ingram taking the lead off the line and Jordan moving up the third, before cars swapped places up and down the grid, more regularly than normal. After a robust move to retain third, Jordan eventually lost out on the fifth lap as Cook powered through, while Sutton also closed on Ingram. It didn’t take long for Sutton to make his move and Cook was soon on the tail of the lead duo. Cook had a fantastic battle that lasted several corners with Ingram as he tried to make it an MG 1-2 and he succeeded following a little tap.

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BTCC 2015 – Croft | Reviewed and Rated

With the British Touring Car Championship at ESM’s home circuit, there was never any doubt as to whether we would be in attendance. But, would it be a Sunday to remember, or another snooze-fest like Oulton Park? Our BTCC Correspondent tells the story below:

BTCC 2015 Croft Race One Podium

After Oulton Park, things could only get better for the BTCC and they certainly did at a BMW dominated Croft. There was a win apiece for each of the WSR members and a historic 1-2-3 for the team in the opening race. The championship lead has changed hands following the weekend’s action and Gordon Shedden heads the way into the summer break. However, it was the return of ‘racing’ that meant it was a good day for BTCC fans.

BTCC 2015 Croft

Race One saw the winner from last time out on pole, Sam Tordoff, followed by his teammate Andy Priaulx, Gordon Shedden, Rob Collard, Colin Turkington and Matt Neal. The championship leader going into the weekend, Jason Plato, was down in 12th. Unbelievably, it was the first time since Silverstone 2006 that Plato hadn’t qualified in the top 10. By my rough calculations, that’s about 90 meetings which I find astonishing. However, Plato wasn’t happy with his position and he came up with a cunning plan, within the rules, to set himself up for a better weekend.

2013 Champion Andrew Jordan had a tough weekend

2013 Champion Andrew Jordan had a tough time at Croft

Plato came into the pits at the end of the green flag lap to re-join the race from the pit lane in clear air to set a fast lap for a good grid position in the second race. Another advantage of his plan was that he’d lose his weight as well, leaving him with a good grid positon and no weight. You could say his plan worked as he ended up third for the second race. However, we can, of course, question the morality of it all. Technically, he did nothing wrong, it was within the rules, but do we want drivers doing this every weekend? No, definitely not. As a one off, I think we can just about justify it and hope that Alan Gow can find a way to stop this loophole.

BTCC 2015 Croft

Rob Austin had his best weekend for what seems a very long time.

Race One saw Tordoff get away cleanly as the BMWs roared into the first 3 positions in a race that started under dark clouds. However, on lap 6, Priaulx was able to take the lead from Tordoff with a move up the inside of him at Tower. Priaulx held on for the race win and was followed home by Tordoff and Collard after the latter failed in his bid to get past Tordoff despite good pressure. It was amazing to see an all WSR podium! (more…)

BTCC 2014 – Brands Hatch GP – Rounds 28/29/30 – Review

Slightly later than planned*, our BTCC correspondent gives his take on the final rounds of the 2014 season.

Turkington Crowned Champion

2014 BTCC Brands Hatch GP 000

Colin Turkington was crowned the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion at Brands Hatch after a fantastic final round of racing. Turkington, ironically, had his worst weekend of the season, but still came away from the Kent circuit as the happiest man of the day after taking his second drivers’ title.

Saturday saw Turkington’s nearest rival, Jason Plato, take pole position from his teammate Sam Tordoff, Gordon Shedden, Turkington, Adam Morgan and a season’s best for Fabrizio Giovanardi and James Cole in 6th and 7th. It was yet another poor day for Matt Neal, and his Sunday wasn’t going to go much better, as he qualified in 22nd.

Race One took place on a drying track although it wasn’t wet enough to use wet tyres. However, we probably saw the most dramatic start of the season as Plato got off to an awful start meaning Tordoff jumped him, but then Turkington was in the lead just after Paddock Hill bend as the cars headed for Druids. However, after Druids that soon reverted back to Tordoff from Plato and Turkington. (more…)

BTCC 2014 – Oulton Park – Round 10, 11, 12 – Review

Le Mans might be the big event on everyone’s mind this weekend, but cast your mind back a few days to the British Touring Car Championship’s outing at Oulton Park. Our correspondent brings you his detailed review.

Turkington Takes Charge of the Championship

2014 BTCC Oulton Park 01

Colin Turkington enjoyed a fantastic weekend in the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire. The Ulsterman finished the weekend leading the championship for the first time since his title triumph in 2009.

All the drivers and important people from the teams had to pass the mandatory breath test before any action could take place on both Saturday and Sunday. Qualifying on Saturday took place in mixed conditions and on a drying International Circuit, being used in the BTCC for the first time since 1996, Turkington stormed to pole ahead of Jason Plato, Gordon Shedden, Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and Rob Austin. Championship leader Andrew Jordan qualified in 13th with Matt Neal a place behind him.

The weather had cleared up for Sunday and the first race took place in dry conditions. As the lights went out for the start of Race One, Turkington sped away from the line, making the most of his rear wheel drive power. Turkington’s teammate, Collard, made a similarly good start, charging up to 2nd. Austin, in his rear wheel drive Audi A4, also made a good start by jumping Tordoff for 5th, although Tordoff tried his best to regain the place, but to little avail. First lap action was fairly quiet, but Warren Scott and Hunter Abbott managed to collide at Hislop’s.

2014 BTCC Oulton Park 02

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BTCC 2013 Round 2 – Donington Review

ESM’s BTCC correspondent dishes out his review of the action-packed second round of this year’s season:

Honda’s Donington Dominance Stopped by Turkington!

Turkington! (c) BTCC.net

Turkington! (c) BTCC.net

Last weekend saw the second round of 2013’s British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park. The hills surrounding the circuit still look like huge quarry mud banks due to the works to upgrade the track and facilities, so I can’t say it was all that aesthetically appealing, nor are eBay Motors’ vile grey and yellow race suits! Who chose those colours?

Anyway, enough about aesthetics and more about the racing! Race One saw Gordon Shedden on pole, for amazingly the first time in nearly two years since he lined up as leader at Oulton Park in 2011. Jason Plato was quick to point out, as normal, that he was the fastest man if all ballast had been taken account of. However, it wasn’t and Shedden was the first man to see the lights go out. Shedden led from pole with Andrew Jordan in second into the first corner. The cars appeared to be fairly processional in the early part of the race after sorting themselves out after the first few corners. The cars on the soft tyres suffered towards the end of the race, with Aron Smith being the best placed come the end in only 11th.

A car which perked up my interest in Race One was that of Tom Onslow-Cole. I think the VW Passat looks great and I fully expect it to be a competitive car by the end of the season, especially on the evidence witnessed this weekend. I would suggest that the Passat needs a bit more speed as it looked a bit sluggish at times.  I was surprised at how much traction it had off the corners, especially compared to Rob Collard’s BMW, who he was having a good battle with. (more…)