2016 BTCC season preview: A record entry of 32 cars on the grid
A record entry of 32 cars will field the grid of the British Touring Car Championship in 2016 season. The 32-car line-up is the largest ever full-season entry in the history of the BTCC. Together with the defending champion Gordon Shedden, four more former champions will be on the grid – Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan.
Eleven car manufacturers on the grid
Eleven car manufacturers will be represented in 30 BTCC races at nine racing circuits during the 2016 season. It’s one more than last year after Subaru and Team BMR joined the competition with Levorg GT. Besides Subaru, three other brands (Honda, MG and BMW) will fight for the manufacturers/constructors titles, and seven more manufacturers will enter the competition through the independent teams: Audi, Mercedes, Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Proton.
Start and finale again at Brands Hatch
The 2016 championship will start and finish at Brands Hatch, same as in the previous four seasons. The opening round will take place on the shorter Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on April 3rd and the last round will be held at the Brands Hatch GP Circuit on October 2nd. Between the first and the last race, BTCC will visit Donington Park, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Croft, Snetterton, Knockhill, Rockingham and Silverstone.
Team BMR introduced the Levorg GT
We already mentioned Subaru Levorg GT as the only new car on the grid for 2016. What else is new and what is old in the garages and driver line-ups?
The defending champion Gordon Shedden and his teammate Matt Neal will run the Honda Civic Type R for the Halfords Yuasa Racing, operated by Team Dynamics. What’s new is that they will be partnered by Andy Neate in the third car.
Jordan and Jackson aiming for the title
Another former champion on the grid will be Andrew Jordan, who switched from factory MG to Motorbase Performance’s Ford Focus. His teammate in the #7 Ford will be Mat Jackson.
MG Racing RCIB Insurance will run two MG 6 GT cars for two youngsters, the 2015 best rookie Josh Cook and current rookie Ashley Sutton. Same as last year, West Surrey Racing will enter manufacturers’ title fight with three BMW 125i M Sports driven by Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and a newcomer Jack Goff. Goff replaces Andy Priaulx, who moved to GT racing.
Six rookies and lots of old faces
Other old names on the list are Adam Morgan (WIX Racing Mercedes A-Class), Aiden Moffat (Laser Tools Mercedes A-Class), Aron Smith (BKR Volkswagen CC), Tom Ingram (Speedworks Toyota Avensis), Rob Austin (Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis), Alex Martin (Dextra Racing Ford Focus), Dan Welch (Goodestone Racing Proton), Martin Depper and Jeff Smith (both Eurotech Honda Civic Type R), Ollie Jackson (AmD Tuning Audi S3), Hunter Abbott (Power Maxed Chevrolet Cruze), Jake Hill (Team HARD Racing Toyota Avensis) and Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus).
Five more rookie competitors for the Jack Sears Trophy will be Michael Epps and Chris Smiley (both Team HARD Toyota Avensis), Mark Howard (BKR Volkswagen CC), Kelvin Fletcher (Power Maxed Chevrolet Cruze) and Matt Simpson (Speedworks Honda Civic Type R).
Video: 2016 BTCC season launch at Donington Park