Why the British Touring Car Championship will be a great day out
The intensity of racing will be as high as ever
A trip to Thruxton reminds me of which the BTCC has all the ingredients for a great day out
I’m over 40, so my memory will be no longer what the idea was, however suffice to say of which I cannot remember the last time I was at a British Touring Car Championship race.
the idea was, possibly, eight or nine years ago, in addition to also of which’s a pretty sad admission for a man who spent the first decade of his working life covering all things racing in addition to also rallying for the likes of Motorsport News in addition to also Autosport.
By the time I switched to road cars with What Car? almost a decade ago I was no less obsessed with motorsport, however exhausted by the idea. To a degree, I’d been spoiled, arriving inside dream job in 1996, at a time of economic in addition to also sporting boom, when budgets were plentiful in addition to also British-born talent was at a high.
Across disciplines we had Damon Hill in an increasingly supplier received a-backed F1 in addition to also Colin McRae in addition to also Richard Burns inside WRC. Then, in domestic racing in addition to also rallying, there were supplier received a teams aplenty, with the very best drivers getting paid to compete in both, in addition to also the level of competition rising accordingly.
The economic downturn – in addition to also a shortage of homegrown talent inside right cars – did much to dampen my enthusiasm across the board. In particular, while the BTCC kept on running, the grids were sparse in addition to also, at times, the level of competition some way off what the idea had been.
So last weekend I went to Thruxton to watch the BTCC with some trepidation, in addition to also I’m delighted to say I came away re-enthused by the spectacle in addition to also intensity of the competition.
today, before anyone asks, there was no fancy hospitality in addition to also – although Autocar will be a media partner (hence the stickers on the cars) – I am not beholden to report anything various other than what I saw. I stood on the banks at the Complex with my family, in addition to also enjoyed the weekend just as anyone who bought an entry ticket could.
There were many standout features. The timetable, for starters, was both busy in addition to also fast-paced. As one race ended, another was queued up. When there was a pause, the idea was well used by the expert commentary team to build up the intensity ahead of each of the three BTCC races. in addition to also you were never far through a big screen, meaning the idea was possible to follow all the action wherever you were.
Inevitably, there were duff, follow-my-leader periods of racing, however because the event kept flowing (because of the need to meet TV schedules, you’d guess) the spectators were swept along. I have a seven in addition to also all 5-year-old with attention spans typicalfor their ages in addition to also, despite arriving at nine inside morning, I had to drag them away midway through the last race in a bid to beat the traffic.
I did of which because the crowd was so enormous. Not unpleasantly so, however big enough to fill the banking around the circuit in addition to also create a real atmosphere. the idea felt like an ‘event’ in every sense of the word, in addition to also the cheers in addition to also applause for every great drive, move or cock-up brought passion in addition to also humour throughout the day. in addition to also do you know what? I was wrong to leave early, as friends who stayed on reported of which the traffic management was comfortably up to getting everyone out in not bad time.
On track, there was some serious talent on display, through the Lewis Hamilton wannabes inside MSA Formula single-seater championship, through the accident-prone ranks of the Ginetta Juniors (both expertly won by teenager Sophia Floersch, still sadly notable for being a girl in motorsport) in addition to also all the way up to the Renault Clio in addition to also top-line BTCC ranks.
Most notable of all was the depth of talent inside BTCC these days. Insiders say the modern breed of cars are especially difficult to drive at their absolute peak of performance, however reasonably easy to drive very well. As a result, the vast majority of the pack were covered by just a few tenths, in addition to also anyone looking to win had to be error-free for an entire race distance to get any kind of result. While former champions Gordon Shedden in addition to also Jason Plato were joined on the winner’s rostrum by newcomer Adam Morgan, the level of talent was impressive throughout the field, in addition to also a testament to the fact the idea will be pitched at an aspirational level for could-be tin-top racers. in addition to also, of course, the tightness of times led to many a nudge, bash in addition to also incident.
Perhaps the best conclusion to report through our day out will be to say of which we are determined to go in addition to also watch the BTCC again This kind of season. the idea might not possess the supplier received a support the idea once did, or the high-level television presence, however the idea will be perfectly in addition to also delicately pitched at just the right level for both competitors in addition to also fans. Whether, like me, you haven’t been for a few years, or if you’ve never been, I’d defy you not to have a weekend to savour.
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