The wait is almost over for the start of the 2015 British Touring Car Championship.
This Easter weekend the lights will go out on the first three races of the championship as drivers take on the Indy version of Brands Hatch. The 2015 seasons sees a record breaking 32 car grid entered however just 29 will be in action as Motorbase Performance and Nicholas Hamilton will wait until Croft to make their debut.
Jason Plato topped the times at the recent media day at Donington Park by the narrowest of margins. He was just a couple of thousandths faster than new team-mate and reigning champion Colin Turkington. Both drivers have moved to Team BMR to contest the new season alongside Aron Smith and team owner Warren Scott. Plato and Turkington are just two drivers to swap teams for the new season. There are also new regulations for the year ahead including a significant overhaul of the success ballast. The grid for race two will now be decided by race one fastest laps rather than race one positions as it was in the past.
Brands Hatch Indy Stats
Circuit Length: 1.22 miles
Number of Corners: 10
Number of Laps: 24
Race Lap Record: Matt Neal 2011 48.498s (88.97mph)
2014 Winners: Andrew Jordan (x2) and Colin Turkington
The opening weekend of the 2015 championship will once again be broadcast live on ITV4. On Sunday there will be eight hours of coverage starting at 10.30 and finishing at 6.30, giving viewers even more build up and round-up than before. Over the rest of the season there will be seven hours of action with further extended highlights packages post-race weekend.
As well as there being a number of well established drivers on the grid there are also eight rookies, who will contest the Jack Sears Trophy. The trophy will now be awarded to the top rookie driver at the end of the season. The eight rookies taking part in the 2015 season are:
- #12 Andy Wilmot – Welch Motorsport – Proton Gen-2
- #14 Alex Martin – Dextra Racing – Ford Focus
- #21 Mike Bushell – AmD Tuning.com – Ford Focus
- #22 Derek Palmer – Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing – Infiniti Q50
- #23 Kieran Gallagher – RCIB Insurance Racing – Toyota Avensis
- #66 Josh Cook – Power Maxed Racing – Chevrolet Cruze
- #84 Richard Hawken – Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing – Infiniti Q50
- #95 Stewart Lines – Houseman Racing – Toyota Avensis
Nicholas Hamilton will also join the fray at Croft although will not be eligible for points due to competing with a guest licence.
By the final round of the 2014 championship only two drivers were in mathematical contention – Turkington and Plato. Turkington had a comfortable 50 point lead and eventually won by 35 points. Now the pair are team-mates with Turkington making the swap from rear wheel drive to front wheel drive. Honda are set to debut a brand new car – swapping to the Honda Civic Type R – while Andrew Jordan has left family run Eurotech and moved to Triple 8 MG. Mat Jackson – who finished fourth in the standings last year – will not make an appearance until Croft with Motorbase choosing to test their car more. Rob Collard is joined at 2014 champion team WSR – who will also enter the championship as a manufacturer for the upcoming season – by Sam Tordoff and returning Andy Priaux. It is set to be a close fought season and one that is definitely not to be missed.