Teams, drivers, media and fans descended on Donington Park today for the British Touring Car Championship media day. During the day, the 31-strong grid was revealed, along with a number of other announcements including a new multi-year deal for Dunlop.
At the end of 2013, series organisers TOCA introduced an entry-licence system for the championship. This meant that 30 TBLs (TOCA BTCC Licences) were made available and secure entry for the next three seasons (including 2014). The licence system will negate teams picking and choosing when they race, for example. Holding a licence means that you must contest all rounds. 31 TBLs have been allocated and the entry list is as follows:
- #1 Andrew Jordan – Pirtek Racing
- #4 Matt Neal – Honda Yuasa Racing
- #5 Colin Turkington – eBay Motors
- #6 Mat Jackson – Airwaves Racing
- #7 Fabrizio Giovinardi – Airwaves Racing
- #9 Alain Menu – Team BMR
- #10 Rob Collard – eBay Motors
- #11 Simon Belcher – Handy Motorsport
- #12 Dan Welch – STP Racing with Sopp and Sopp
- #16 Aiden Moffat – Laser Tools Racing
- #17 Dave Newsham – AmDTuning.com
- #18 Nick Foster – eBay Motors
- #20 James Cole – United Autosports
- #21 Glynn Geddie – United Autosports
- #28 Chris Stockton – Power Maxed Racing
- #30 Martin Depper – Pirtek Racing
- #31 Jack Goff – RCIB Insurance Racing
- #33 Adam Morgan – WIX Racing
- #39 Warren Scott – Chrome Edition Restart Racing
- #40 Aron Smith – Chrome Edition Restart Racing
- #43 Lea Wood – Houseman Racing
- #44 Jack Clarke – Crabbie’s Racing
- #48 Ollie Jackson – STP Racing with Sopp and Sopp
- #52 Gordon Shedden – Honda Yuasa Racing
- #54 Hunter Abbott – AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing
- #67 Robb Holland – Rotek Racing
- #80 Tom Ingram – Speedworks Motorsport
- #88 Sam Tordoff – MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save
- #99 Jason Plato – MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save
- #101 Rob Austin – Exocet Racing
- #888 Marc Hynes – Quantel BiFold Racing
All teams will run NGTCs in 2014.
The grid features seven champions, including the return of Fabrizio Giovinardi and Alain Menu. They will join reigning champion Andrew Jordan, along with Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, Jason Plato and Colin Turkington.
In terms of coverage, ITV4 will continue to broadcast approximately seven hours of coverage on Sundays, with 60-minute edited race highlights repeated three times after each event on ITV, ITV4 and simulcast on itv.com. There are new three year deals for commentators David Addison and Tim Harvey, along with presenters Steve Rider and Louise Goodman. The championship also has a new media partnership with Haymarket meaning that there will be greater coverage in the likes of Autocar, What Car? and PistonHeads. “Our major partnerships have either been renewed or consolidated over the off-season,” Series Director Alan Gow revealed. “Dunlop has recommitted for a further multi-year term and ITV has re-signed its BTCC commentary and presenter team until at least 2017. The TV audiences and trackside audicences continue to grow, which is yet more evidence why the BTCC is Britain’s biggest and most successful series. I have no doubt that 2014 will prove to be one of the most exciting and competitive seasons in the illustrious history of the BTCC.”
Dunlop will be providing a new construction of tyres from the Sport Maxx range, which will show greater differentiation between the compounds. Dunlop will provide Sport Maxx Soft, Medium and Hard compound tyres at all rounds, bar Thruxton. There the Sport Maxx Hard compound will be used to replace the soft tyre. BluResponse Wet tyres will also be available for teams. As was the case in 2013, drivers will have to nominate a race post-qualifying for which they want to use the soft compound tyre. In a slight change to last year, however, this information will be made available on Dunlop’s social media channels ahead of race day. Last year fans had to wait, like everyone else, to see the soft tyres on the grid.
2014 will see Hondas pitted against MGs, BMWs against Fords and Audis against Chevrolets. Mercedes, Proton, Toyota, Vauxhall and Volkswagen will also have a presence on the bumper grid. A number of cars took to the track as part of media day, as part of the only official pre-season testing. It was a wet session and reigning champion Andrew Jordan topped the times, albeit just 0.001s ahead of Gordon Shedden. Returnee Alain Menu ended the session in third place and a tenth off the pace of Jordan.
- Andrew Jordan – 1:11.087 (35 laps)
- Gordon Shedden – 1:11.088 (11 laps)
- Alain Menu – 1:11.226 (11 laps)
- Adam Morgan – 1:11.314 (36 laps)
- Sam Tordoff – 1:11.441 (59 laps)
- Matt Neal – 1:11.474 (8 laps)
- Aron Smith – 1:11.570 (20 laps)
- Colin Turkington – 1:11.741 (51 laps)
- Rob Collard – 1:12.092 (39 laps)
- Tom Ingram – 1:12.101 (59 laps)
Marc Hynes, who ended the session in 11th, completed the most laps of anyone, with 64. The session commences just under a fortnight away at Brands Hatch.