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BTCC Brands Hatch: Jordan wins the Championship!
4th October 2013, 18:29 at 6:29 pm #133722
In a week on Sunday, yet another fascinating season of the British Touring Car Championship will draw to a close. The series has been extremely close, with 5 drivers having a mathematical chance of leaving Brands Hatch with the title, but it seems likely the ultimate champion will come from one of the top three: Andrew Jordan, Matt Neal or Gordon Shedden. Colin Turkington and Jason Plato are the other two, each having an outside shot, but a points gap of 48 and 49 points respectively should prove difficult to overcome, especially considering the quality of the opposition.
Driving for his father’s Pirtek Racing outfit, Jordan has been extremely impressive, winning 6 rounds. The team are running the supremely impressive Honda prepared by Team Dynamics, but they have made their own changes to the car that have ultimately provided Jordan with capable machinery to challenge the works Hondas.
With four wins, Neal has once again showed why he is regarded so highly in the championship. Showing a fantastic knack of finishing close to the front and benefiting from a cool head when others around him crumble, he has amassed points almost unseen by his rivals before reaching the fore in mid season. Once again, he has had to cope with a broken hand, this time at the Silverstone meeting, still getting two third places and a sixth, but it must be a concern for him that he may be feeling the effects at the Brands final.
The defending champion is once again in the title hunt, managing to claw back results despite things going against him, like an amazing drive to get 2nd place in race three at the Brands Hatch Indy opener after disqualification for a technical infringement in the preceding race. Shedden must be confident going into the final round, after it was the venue of his title win in 2012, and he will be hoping history repeats itself.
Returning to the series for the first time since 2009 when he won the championship, the fact Turkington is still in with a chance of winning this years series is testament to his driving skill, having only had part time drives in the intervening period. Driving the brand new eBay Motors BMW prepared by WSR, he has lead the development from the first practice session, helping to make the car a winner in only it’s second meeting at Donington Park. His season has been highlighted by such professionalism, and even if he fails to come away happy this year he must be considered a favourite for 2014.
The elder statesman of the grid, Plato has still shown his commitment this year, taking six wins, though that doesn’t tell the whole story. His MG has been stunning at times, but at others has looked much less formidable, with a lack of pace in wet weather conditions seemingly unsolved from last year at Rockingham, while the tight corners of the Knockhill circuit proved not to the cars liking, which has let Plato’s title bid down ultimately taking two meetings worth of points away from him.
The rest of the field
There have been many impressive performances this year, with the emergence of Sam Tordoff in the MG a particular highlight in an otherwise slightly underwhelming year for the manufacturer, who are only an outside bet for the drivers title, despite seven wins, six for veteran Plato and a brilliant first win for Tordoff at Snetterton. Rob Austin has become a major fan favourite, after he came back from a major accident in race three of the season opener which caused nearly terminal damage to his Audi A4, now famous as ‘Sherman’. He won his first race at Rockingham with a professional drive, and has shown himself to be extremely consistent. The other surprise of the season is the transformation of Adam Morgan. In 2012 he gained somewhat of a reputation for making errors, but in 2013 he has been simply brilliant, sitting 7th in the championship, beating the Airwaves Fords and some of the other big hitters of the BTCC.
The Jack Sears Trophy
Lea Wood has already won the JST, with a number of great drives meaning he beat off the competition of Liam Griffin and James Kaye who made his return to the BTCC. This class has also provided opportunities to young talents such as Jake Hill and 16-year-old Scotsman Aiden Moffat, who will both be ones to watch in the coming years.
Once again, the boost regulations have been a major talking point, seeing some cars running at podium pace one meeting, then struggling for points finishes the next. This has led to some unrest from some drivers, however it is hard to dispute the fact the best drivers have for the most part found their way up to the top of the standings, suggesting the system has been effective at closing up the title race without overly influencing the order.
A new introduction is the soft tyre, which needs to be used in one race per meeting, which has added an extra strategic element as it is faster over a single lap but may begin to degrade as the race wears on, in a similar principle to F1, but with less abrupt effects. It has created even more close racing than previously which can only be a good thing.
The final thing is to note the success of the NGTC regulations. It has given an opportunity for small teams to build their own cars and still compete with the big manufacturer teams, as shown by Ciceley Racing and WIX Racing among others, and the future looks extremely bright for the BTCC.
This is my first bit of writing like this, I hope you all enjoyed reading it!
BTCC Points Table:
1. Andrew Jordan – 378
2. Matt Neal – 344
3. Gordon Shedden – 343
4. Colin Turkington – 330
5. Jason Plato – 3294th October 2013, 18:48 at 6:48 pm #242648
great write up! however a points table of the top 5 would help… shame its at brands hatch too. no overtaking!4th October 2013, 18:52 at 6:52 pm #2426494th October 2013, 18:56 at 6:56 pm #242650
excellent post. I hope Matt Neal takes the title, but realistically i think Andrew Jordan will take it. i must say that the BTCC has been my favourite car motorsport this year by far. F1 has been a disapointment.
I remember a weekend where there was F1 and BTCC and after a touring car race, watching a F1 race was a even greater bore.
I was at Brands Hatch last year for the final round, and it was very good.
Next year i am actually planning to go to most of the races.4th October 2013, 19:45 at 7:45 pm #242651
Brands Hatch has lots of overtaking spots..
Im hoping for a Jordan/Turkington win. I’ve watched BTCC since ’96 and seeing a season without Neal or Plato will be weird!4th October 2013, 20:57 at 8:57 pm #242652
I was at Silverstone last weekend, there was some really great racing and atmosphere, there seemed like a lot more people than last time I was at the BTCC a few years ago, too. I’m a Turkington fan but I think realistically it’s down to Jordan, Shedden and Neal now.
It was quite funny seeing Plato get booed on the victory lap considering all that’s been going on in F1 recently, the difference being he was booed for his actions during the race (trying to barge Jordan out of the way around Luffield), which felt perfectly justified to me.4th October 2013, 21:14 at 9:14 pm #242653
I’d say thats touring cars, did Jordan lose multiply positions? Did they lose a lot of time? No to both, heck Plato’s been a good boy this season, Jordans the one with the grid penalty :P4th October 2013, 22:18 at 10:18 pm #242654
Well sure it’s touring cars, it’s still a dick move though. Tordoff had been doing the same thing around there, I was actually pretty happy when Neal decided he’d had enough.4th October 2013, 22:38 at 10:38 pm #242655
At the beginning of the season I wanted Turkington to get it but all hopes were dashed after his spin. Now I really want to see Jordan take it. He’s been driving impressively and it would be good to see the privateer Pirtek Honda win it which would be one in the eye for both works Yuasa Hondas.5th October 2013, 11:21 at 11:21 am #242656
Andrew Jordan is carrying the momentum going to Brands, he extended his points lead at Silverstone despite it not being a Honda circuit. Colin Turkington was very much in contention until his spin, he and Jason Plato need to hope for the three Honda drivers to have very bad weekends at Brands to take the title.
I’d like to echo the comments of @mathers that the NGTC regulations have been very much a success, producing a great season of racing and a few classic races in what has been a dull season of Formula 1. I’m surprised no other series have picked up the NGTC regulations so far. Hopefully 2014 will be just as successful, with new cars and new drivers perhaps we’ll finally get to a full grid too?5th October 2013, 16:22 at 4:22 pm #242657
Got to say I didn’t hear any booing for Plato last weekend. I was sat at Woodcote. Thought the ‘barge’ was pretty typical touring cars. Nowt but handbags.
Personally I would love to see Andy Jordan win the championship. Firstly, to see another new champion in a field of so many great former champions would be great, and secondly to see someone from outside the ‘factory’ teams to win. Even though the Honda is probably the best car overall, to see an independent team outclass the factory team would be amazing. I always love an underdog.
But saying that, I’d be happy with any of the five really. They’re all really good personalities. I’ve been routing for Turkington since I met him in the paddock at Croft earlier this season and think he’s had bad luck this season (mainly getting barged left right and centre at Snetterton).
Plato has always been a favourite since his debut season (’97 in the green Renault Laguna – he was my go to driver in the TOCA PC game).
Similarly I’ve always liked Matt Neal since his days as the underdog being the first independent to win a race outright in ’99, although at Rockingham I was willing him to do badly for the sake of the championship (got my wish, lol).
I’d just like it to be a clean fair fight that goes on as late in the day as possible, without any contender being punted off or anything untoward. If only F1 had been as thrilling this season.5th October 2013, 17:24 at 5:24 pm #242658
I think for 2014 we should be close to the full compliment of 32:
2 x MG
2 x Dynamics Honda
2 x Pirtek Honda
3 x eBay Motors
3 x Airwaves Ford
1 x Ciceley Merc
2 x Rob Austin Audi
2 x Speedworks Toyota
1 x Dynojet Toyota
1 x Welch Proton
1 x Neate Chevrolet
2 x VW
2 x Insignia
That should make 24 entries from the current season alone, then possible are:
2 x Meganes (in build)
1 x Avensis (ex Adam Morgan)
1 x Chevrolet (ex Neate)
1 x Chevrolet (Neate plans a second car in his team)
1 x Chevrolet (Stockton may still plan to enter)
Also it is possible that the Dynamics squad build 2 new cars and sell theirs along with maybe 888 doing the same.
If all that happens that makes 32 cars, and that doesn’t include some possibilities like a second Welch car or any others that may appear in the winter.5th October 2013, 20:16 at 8:16 pm #242659
I’m also excited to see what Dan Cammish can do in a BTCC car in 2014.5th October 2013, 20:27 at 8:27 pm #242660
There should of been 32 cars this season. I dont believe anything in BTCC till it happens.
As I said I want Jordan or Turkington to win, Jordan may be in a “Independent” Honda but it’s provided by Team Dynamics, id be surprised if they werent at the front battling for titles.
just like Neal in ’99/’98 he had major help from Nissan. more a Toro Rosso than a true independent team9th October 2013, 18:52 at 6:52 pm #242661
Will Bratt out for Brands, in comes Jake Hill and a new livery in the second A4.
also Team owner Hollamby is driving the golf in its last event I think.
TEAM HARD. has yet another new driver but as this happens more often than a new Vettel helmet it is hardly news worthy anymore
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