Tag Archives: Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship

F1Weekly podcast # 621

BTCC brands hatch 2013

F1WEEKLY PODCAST NUMBER 621- NASIR IS BACK FROM SEPANG AND SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON THE MALAYSIAN CONTROVERSY. MG TAKES VICTORY IN THE FIRST AND SECOND RACES IN THE BTCC SEASON OPENER AT BRANDS HATCH AND HONDA RALLIES IN THE FINAL RACE OF THE WEEKEND…

MG racer Plato claims two wins before Neal leads home a Honda one-two in final contest.

Jason Plato leads the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after taking two wins from the opening three races of the season on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
 
Matt Neal led home Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Gordon Shedden in the final race to ensure the champion squad ended a challenging weekend on a high. Fellow Honda Civic driver Andrew Jordan is second in the standings after securing a pole position, two second places and a sixth from the weekend.
 
Plato won the opening race of the year after coming out on top of a pulsating battle with Jordan. Rob Austin had led the early running in his Audi A4 before both Plato and Jordan slipped by. A closing Jordan made one final lunge on Plato in an attempt to claim victory, and the rather optimistic move ended in contact with both cars sliding off the track. Incredibly both scrabbled their way back onto the circuit before third placed Austin had arrived, and Plato hung on to win.
 
Race two was a much more commanding affair as Plato took a lights-to-flag victory – the 76th win of his record breaking BTCC career. Jordan again claimed second, ahead of the charging Honda of reigning champion Shedden. The Scotsman was later excluded, however, after his car failed ride height regulations during post-race scrutineering, handing Jeff Smith a popular podium for Pirtek Racing.
 
Triple-champion Neal then went on to secure his first win of the new campaign, leading home team-mate Shedden by an incredibly close 0.083s. Neal took the lead early on after pole-sitter Mat Jackson slid wide in his Ford Focus at Druids. The Honda driver went on to take charge of the race, before fending off a late challenge from Shedden. A great drive from 23-year-old Sam Tordoff saw him score his maiden BTCC podium for the MG KX Momentum team, which along with Plato’s healthy points score means the squad is in charge of the Manufacturer standings.
 
The final race also included a huge accident when Dave Newsham spun his Toyota Avensis on the dip between Paddock and the run up to Druids. Austin attempted to take avoiding action but clipped Newsham’s stricken car on his way through. Austin’s Audi ran on to the grass at high speed before making heavy impact with the barrier on the inside of the circuit. Both drivers emerged unscathed from the dramatic incident.
 
The Jack Sears Trophy – for S2000 cars – is led by Liam Griffin after the Addison Lee Motorbase driver claimed two wins in his Ford Focus. James Kaye was the inaugural victor having won the first race in the AmDTuning.com VW Golf.
 
It was Jason Plato who left Kent with the biggest smile as the double-champion holds a nine-point lead in the standings over Jordan. Tordoff’s maiden podium and two top-six finishes mean he lies third in the championship, followed by the consistent Smith and race three victor Neal. The BTCC battle is rejoined at Donington Park in Leicestershire on 20-21 April.
 
Jason Plato said: “I am delighted with the first two wins. Last year was a sign of what might have come for us at MG – but we’ve changed the balance considerably now so it’s much easier to drive. It has been a good weekend.”

Matt Neal said: “I’m really chuffed with the one-two after what’s been a tough weekend, but they always say to finish on a high. It was a nice way to finish the race in Honda formation – it reminded me of the last race of last season.”
 
Penalties: Frank Wrathall (Dynojet) was fined £1000 and given three penalty points on his competition licence for incidents in race two.

 
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch Indy – Provisional Results
 
Race 1
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 27 Laps

2 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +2.168 

3 Rob Austin (WIX Racing) +6.130

4 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +7.781

5 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing) +8.245

6 Frank Wrathall (Dynojet) +13.622

 
Race 2
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 49.124

2 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +0.989

3 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing) +4.958

4 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) +5.073

5 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +5.454

6 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) +5.874
 
Race 3
1 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 27 laps

2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) +0.083

3 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +1.216

4 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) +2.171

5 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) +3.651

6 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +4.727
 
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Provisional Driver Standings – after 3 of 30 rounds
 
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 54 points

2 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) 45
3 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) 40

4 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing) 35
5 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 34

6 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) 32
[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/03-31-13f1weekly621.mp3]

BTCC

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ANDREW JORDAN TAKES POLE POSITION…

Honda Civic racer claims third pole position of his BTCC career

Andrew Jordan took the opening pole position of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship amid a shower of sleet at a cold Brands Hatch.
 
Jordan fired an early warning by setting the fastest time during free practice in the morning, and he backed that up by edging out champion Gordon Shedden by less than a tenth of a second in qualifying.
 
The MG KX Momentum duo of Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff will line-up third and fifth respectively for Sunday’s opening race, with Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal sandwiched between them in fourth. David Newsham rounded out the top six in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
 
The session got off to a dramatic start with a number of drivers spinning on their out-laps while trying to get some heat into the tyres. The first notable victim was Pirtek’s Jeff Smith on the run up to Druids, but real chaos followed when Colin Turkington lost control on the exit of the same hairpin. As cars dived one way and then the other to avoid the stricken BMW 125i M Sport, an unsighted Jack Goff unfortunately collected the 2009 champion. Turkington managed to hobble his damaged BMW back to the pits but the Vauxhall Insignia of Goff wasn’t so fortunate – his car was unable to continue after the contact. Liam Griffin and David Nye both endured their own lurid moments while trying to avoid Turkington, but were able to re-join later in the session.
 
After a red flag period to clear the Goff’s car and related debris, it was the turn of some of the underdogs to top the times early after the restart. Rob Austin (Audi A4) and Tom Onslow-Cole (VW Passat CC) both enjoyed spells at the top of the timesheet before eBay Motors’ Rob Collard made his own move to provisional pole.
 
The Hondas and MGs were merely waiting in the wings however, and it was Jordan that made the first move with 20 minutes of the session remaining. Shedden fought back and made his first appearance at the top of the order with a 48.483s lap time. Not to be outdone, Jordan improved again to set a time just 0.096s quicker than his Honda counterpart. 
 
With half of the session still remaining, any hope for an exciting climax diminished when light sleet and hail began to fall at the legendary Kent venue. With drivers failing to improve their times there were more off-track moments for Neal, Newsham and Jeff Smith.
 
Outside of the noted top six finishers, it was Austin who held on to seventh when the chequered flag fell, with Jeff Smith, Nick Foster and Adam Morgan completing the top ten grid order.
 
Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson and Aron Smith could only produce 12th and 14th respectively as the team admitted to be searching for the perfect set-up for its NGTC Ford Focus. Another to endure a problematic session was Dynojet’s Frank Wrathall after a ride height infringement saw his top ten time removed and he’ll subsequently start at the back of the grid.
 
Lea Wood dominated the S2000 runners in his Vauxhall Vectra and will have the pleasure of leading the inaugural battle for Jack Sears Trophy honours when race one gets underway tomorrow. 
 
The big winner, however, was Jordan who signalled his intention to challenge for the 2013 title by claiming the third pole position of his BTCC career. He also leads the championship after scoring the first point of the new season for taking pole.

Andrew Jordan said: “It’s nice to qualify on pole, obviously it’s the only time that everyone will have no ballast so it’s a complete level playing field. We’ve been quick in testing, and earlier today we did a race run and the pace was really good then as well. That was really the easy part though – tomorrow’s the hard part. We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but we’ve started in the right place.” 
 
Gordon Shedden said: “That’s got to be one of the strangest sessions I’ve driven in for a long time. It was definitely the first session I’ve qualified in where it snowed! We’re on the front row which is a great place to be. You’re never going to win the championship at Round 1 but you can make life really difficult for yourself. It’s great to be at the sharp end and with three Honda Civics in the top four, and I’m sure there are going to be three exciting races tomorrow so I cant wait.”
 
Jason Plato said: “I’m a bit frustrated with qualifying to be honest. There were just lots of cars out there not paying attention and I didn’t get a clear lap in. On my last lap I had purple sectors until the last corner and I got badly baulked – so I’m a bit frustrated that I didn’t reach my full potential and didn’t get the best out of the car otherwise I think we could have had a good chance at pole. Still, we’re not far off so we’ve still got a chance to win from there.”

There will be three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Brands Hatch tomorrow (31 March) with the opener taking place at 11:45. All three races will be broadcast live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD with the coverage commencing at 10:45.

 
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch Indy – Qualifying
 
1 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Honda) 48.387
2 Gordon Shedden  (Honda Yuasa Racing) +0.096
3 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) +0.184
4 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) +0.227
5 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +0.339
6 Dave Newsham (Speedworks Motorsport) +0.440
7 Rob Austin (WIX Racing) +0.457
8 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Honda) +0.527
9 Nick Foster (eBay Motors)  +0.814
10 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) +0.816

BTCC

BTCC 2013 Grid

BUMPER BTCC GRID GEARS UP FOR SEASON OPENER – UK’s premier motor racing championship roars into Brands Hatch

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship roars into Brands Hatch, Kent, this weekend (30/31 March) for the opening round of the 2013 season.
 
Fresh from confirming a record – and capacity – 32-car grid and a new television broadcasting deal with ITV that takes live coverage up to at least 2017, the BTCC is leading a bright new era of touring car racing. Adding to the anticipation of the new campaign is the fact that there’ll be four champions on the grid, with returning 2009 victor Colin Turkington joining reigning champion Gordon Shedden and multiple title winners Matt Neal and Jason Plato.
 
In total an incredible 13 models from 11 different marques are entered, including both Honda and MG as official Manufacturer teams, with no fewer than 26 of the unprecedented number entering with the BTCC’s latest NGTC-spec machinery.
 
A further addition to the championship is the introduction of a new ‘soft’ tyre compound from Dunlop – similar to those used in Formula 1 – which will see drivers in NGTC-spec cars having one set at their disposal over the weekend. These tyres will offer a variation in performance to the standard compound tyre and must be used in one of the three races at each event. Teams must nominate, prior to Saturday’s qualifying session, which particular race they elect to use them. Drivers in the older S2000 machines will also still have plenty to play for as they contest the inaugural Jack Sears Trophy throughout the 2013 season.
 
Brands Hatch is steeped in motor sport tradition and has seen its fair share of BTCC history created over the years, none more recently than when Gordon Shedden claimed the 2012 title on the legendary Grand Prix circuit last October. The 2013 season kicks off on the Indy configuration of the circuit, however, and the statistics do not fair well for reigning champion Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing Team), as the Scotsman has never won a BTCC race at Brands.
 
The master of the tight and twisty 1.2 miles of tarmac is Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing), with the double champ having won no fewer than 12 rounds there during his career. Unsurprisingly Plato is closely followed by triple champion and title rival Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing Team), on 10 wins, and Neal will be aiming to gun down Plato’s record this weekend.
 
On the subject of title contenders, the return of Colin Turkington to the BTCC created huge interest over the winter. The Irishman is reunited with West Surrey Racing – who he raced for during his 2009 championship winning campaign – but this time he’ll be driving in an all-new BMW 125i M Sport under the eBay Motors banner.
 
Independents’ Champion Andrew Jordan is another who’ll be aiming for overall honours this year in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, and there’ll be huge local interest, too, with Airwaves Racing also targeting the title. Mat Jackson leads the driver line-up for the Wrotham-based squad, with the 2008 BTCC runner-up looking to go one better this season. Other local teams gunning for glory this weekend are Dartford’s Team HARD. and West Thurrock outfit AmDTuning.com.
 
The event is always one of the region’s biggest sporting events of the year, with the weekend getting underway with two practice sessions and qualifying on the Saturday. A huge crowd is then expected to brave the chilly conditions currently blanketing the nation for the hugely exciting triple-header of races on Sunday. For those that cannot make the event – ITV4 HD will be broadcasting more than six hours of live coverage throughout the day from 10:45am.
 
A stellar cast will also support the BTCC over the weekend, producing no fewer than 12 further races, arguably led by the return of single-seater formula racing to the bill. The Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, which launched the careers of a host of top drivers including Ayrton Senna and Jenson Button, will provide three races across the weekend, as will the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, whilst Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Renault UK Clio Cup and Ginetta Junior Championship will all enjoy double-headers.
 
With advanced bookings now closed, Saturday is priced at £13 for adults and £10 for Senior Citizens on the gate. Sunday tickets are priced at adults £31 and Senior Citizens £20. Admission for accompanied children aged 12 and under is FREE all weekend. All admission includes access to Sunday morning’s autograph session with the BTCC drivers in the pit lane as well as free parking. Brands Hatch will also have big screens in place for fans to keep fully abreast of all the action via ITV4’s live race day broadcast.

BTCC

JACK SEARS TROPHY FOR TOP S2000 DRIVER 
 
The award presented to the top-performing S2000 driver in the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be called the ‘Jack Sears Trophy’, named in recognition of the great double BTCC Champion.
 
S2000 cars which have populated the BTCC grid since 2004 remain eligible to compete in next season’s championship, but will no longer enjoy strict performance parity with the greater number of latest NGTC machines which will become the dominant force.
 
However, as previously announced, the BTCC will present a cup to the highest S2000 finisher in each race, as some teams and drivers continue to use the S2000 cars as part of their graduation through the BTCC ranks.
 
BTCC Series Director Alan Gow explained: “Ultimately the driver with the most ‘cups’ will be awarded the Jack Sears Trophy at the end of the season – named, fittingly, in recognition of not only a great double BTCC Champion but also the BTCC’s first ever Champion (in 1958). To receive the trophy from a true legend like Jack will be a real privilege for the winner…”
 
Norfolk’s Sears won the first-ever BTCC (nee British Saloon Car Championship) in 1958 in a dramatic tie-breaker race and followed that up with a second crown in 1963.
 
The 82-year-old commented: “It’ll be 55 years since I won my first title and 50 since I was fortunate enough to win it a second time – I feel very honoured that the championship wants to create a trophy in my name after all these years. It’s certainly a championship that values its heritage.
 
“The cars of course have improved hugely in that time and the S2000s have provided great entertainment and variety. It’s good to retain a type of car that has been successful and I’m sure, even though smaller in numbers in 2013, the S2000 runners will continue to put on a great show for the public. I very much look forward to presenting the trophy to the deserving winner next October on Finals Day at Brands Hatch – scene of my first title all those years ago.” 
 

BTCC

SCOTLAND’S GORDON SHEDDEN CROWNED 2012 BTCC CHAMPION AT BRANDS HATCH

Matt Neal and first-time winners Aron Smith and Frank Wrathall shared the victories in today’s final three races of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season on a wet Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. But it is Gordon Shedden who tonight leaves the world-famous Kent venue as the newly crowned 2012 Champion. Shedden, from Fife, becomes the first Scottish driver to lift the most coveted prize in UK motor sport since his own hero, John Cleland, in 1995…

 
Furthermore, drivers and teams using Honda’s Civic model have achieved a clean sweep of all five BTCC titles. In addition to Shedden, Andrew Jordan today collected the Independent Drivers Trophy, Honda/Dynamics the Manufacturers/Constructors Championship and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team and Pirtek Racing the outright HiQ and Independent teams’ trophies respectively. Tom Onslow-Cole’s eBay Motors BMW had taken pole position in Saturday’s dry qualifying session. But in today’s first race he could only finish third behind Neal and Jordan in their Civics. Shedden took fifth and closest challenger at that point, MG KX Momentum Racing’s Jason Plato, eighth.

In race two Dubliner Smith was in unstoppable form en route to his maiden BTCC race win in Redstone Racing’s Ford Focus, but second place and the fastest lap for Shedden was enough for him to put the title out of his rivals’ reach. Out-going Champion Neal was third to move back up to second in the standings past Plato who finished in fifth.

Similarly, the day’s third race, the last of the season, was also won in emphatic style by Wrathall whose victory was the first for himself, his small family-run Dynojet team and Toyota’s Avensis model. Taking second, third and fourth in a spectacular line-abreast, Honda formation finish were Neal, Shedden and Jordan.

 
For Shedden, being crowned BTCC Champion is a boyhood dream come true. The 33-year-old from Dalgety Bay commented: “All I ever wanted as a kid was to race touring cars – it was never about F1 – and it was John Cleland who was my hero when I used to go and catch a glimpse of the BTCC at my home track of Knockhill in Fife. I never thought I’d ever get the chance to race them, though, let alone win a race and now I’m the Champion. It is mind blowing… what a season, not just for myself but everyone at Honda. I’d also like to thank everyone who was cheering for me back home in Scotland today – including in the bar at Knockhill! I can’t wait to get home and celebrate with them.”
 
Shedden’s Worcestershire team-mate Neal, who has finished second in the standings, said: “Gordon has driven superbly all season, has amassed the most wins and massively deserves to be Champion. As a team we all pull together at Honda and the Civic has simply been the class of the field all year. A clean sweep of titles is the perfect result.” Oxford’s Plato, third in the final table, added: “I’m here to win so I’m obviously disappointed it’s not gone our way but, that said, the MG KX Momentum Racing team are still winners – we have far exceeded our expectations in MG’s first season back in the BTCC and will return much stronger for 2013.”

Meanwhile Lichfield’s Jordan was ecstatic. He beamed: “For Pirtek Racing to win both the Independent drivers’ and teams’ titles is terrific. We are growing all the time as a team of people and have had to beat rival teams and drivers of real quality.”

 
Similarly delighted were both Smith and Wrathall. Smith said: “Off the back of my first podium result at Silverstone two weeks ago, to now end my debut season in the BTCC with a first win is unbelievable.” And added Wrathall: “It’s a fantastic achievement for a small team like ours in only its second season at this level – we’d already had seconds and thirds and a pole position but a win means we’ve now ticked all the boxes.”
 
Elsewhere, race officials today punished one driver for an on-track indiscretion. Race 1: Andy Neate, official reprimand, fined £500 and three penalty points on his competition licence for an incident involving Frank Wrathall.

F1Weekly podcast # 604

 

F1WEEKLY PODCAST NUMBER 604 CLARK AND NASIR DISCUSS THE KOREAN GRAND PRIX

AND HERE IS AN UPDATE ON THE BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP AT BRANDS HATCH.

Points leader Shedden qualifies behind chief rival Plato ahead of title-decider

Tom Onslow-Cole has achieved pole position in a sensationally close Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in Kent.
 
eBay Motors BMW driver Onslow-Cole had been at the top of the timesheets in the closing stages only for Andrew Jordan to go faster in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic as the chequered flag fell.
 
But just seconds later, Onslow-Cole, on his final lap as well, flashed across the line with an even better time of 1m31.615s to reclaim top spot on the starting grid for the first of tomorrow’s title-deciding final three races of the season.
 
Significantly, Onslow-Cole very nearly didn’t take part in the session – earlier on his car’s throttle cable broke near the end of a fast lap. Luckily he was able, just, to coast back to the pit lane where his WSR crew rapidly fixed the problem.
 
New Malden’s Onslow-Cole commented: “I’ve got my team to thank so much. Firstly for the fix on the throttle cable which enabled me to get back out there. Then for the communication on that last lap – I didn’t realise how close it was with Jordan and all I could hear on my radio was my engineer screaming ‘keep pushing!’ Unbelievable…”
 
Lichfield’s Jordan, who is hunting a maiden Independent Drivers’ title, said: “I knew Tom was close behind me and that he was the big threat so even when I’d crossed the line I delayed any celebrating just in case. Still, at least I held pole for a brief moment and I’m still on the front row of the grid.”
 
Defending Champion Matt Neal was third in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic ahead of Onslow-Cole’s team-mate Robert Collard who, on his final lap, bumped Jason Plato down to fifth position. Honda’s Gordon Shedden, who Plato is chasing for the outright drivers’ crown, was seventh behind Adam Morgan in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
 
Plato’s session, meanwhile, ended with a spin into the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend as he made one last effort to improve.
 
A sensational eighth on his debut was youngster Aaron Williamson in Team HARD.’s older S2000-spec Honda Civic.
 
Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, aiming to become the first Scottish driver to win the BTCC since John Cleland in 1995, said: “There was nothing left in the car – that was the most I could get from it with the extra success ballast on board. It makes it interesting for tomorrow, eh?”
 
Oxford’s Plato, sensing a third drivers’ title, added: “I’m slightly frustrated – I was two and half tenths of a second up on my best lap but ballsed it up at Clearways. At least I know the car is capable of going a bit quicker so it will be maximum attack tomorrow.”
[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/10-19-12f1weekly604.mp3]