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 @ 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.

BTCC Round 4 – Oulton Park Review

A year ago EngageSportMode was at Oulton Park for the British Touring Car Championship. Although we might not have been there in person this time round, ESM’s BTCC correspondent still brings you the lowdown on all the action:

Plato’s on Fire with Double Oulton Park Win

Jason Plato secured his first victories since the opening two rounds of the season with victories in the first two races at Oulton Park. Plato was largely untroubled in both races and was a dominant winner each time out. He did, however, suffer some bad luck in the third race, a rather large fire under the bonnet meant it was no points third time out.

Race One saw the first ever MG 1-2 starting grid as Sam Tordoff backed up Plato’s dominant qualifying performance. There was drama before the race started as Ollie Jackson’s Speedworks Avensis failed to make the grid due to an issue, but he did later join the race. There was a lively start off the grid as Gordon Shedden did his best to drive past Tordoff, but the Yorkshire man just held his ground.

Frank Wrathall’s Avensis and Warren Scott’s Seat Leon were next to encounter trouble as they were promptly into the pits on lap 2. Island Bend, as ever, provided great overtaking opportunities and also opportunities for plenty of contact over the weekend, with Andrew Jordan particularly finding the backs of other cars easier to help him stop rather than his own brakes. Race One saw notable taps from the aforementioned Jordan on Dave Newsham, James Cole on Lea Wood and Colin Turkington on once again, the unlucky Newsham.

Race One was a bit of a precession to be honest and not a great deal happened. Aron Smith was out on lap 6, with the Airwaves NGTC Focus still struggling to find reliability this season. A point of drama however, was when Jordan’s car started pouring out black smoke on lap 8. It looked inconceivable that he would be able to finish the race, but finish the race he did with the eventual cause being diagnosed as an exhaust issue. (more…)

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)

Turkington! (c)

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…)