British Touring Car Championship - Round 5 at Croft – Preview
The fifth round of the British Touring Car Championship will take place at the Croft Circuit this weekend. Croft is one of the classic venues of the modern BTCC since its return to the calendar back in 1997. Sunday’s Race 3 will be the circuit’s 50th BTCC race.
Croft marks the midway stage of the BTCC 10-round season. In the previous four rounds, (Brands Hatch, Donington, Truxton, Oulton Park) we had seven different race winners.
Jason Plato (Team BMR) triumphed four times and led the championship standings with 157 points, just three more than Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing). Shedden had won twice, same as his team-mate Matt Neal, who’s on third place with 149 points.
Four drivers have achieved a single victory so far – Rob Collard (WSR), Colin Turkington (Team BMR), Adam Morgan (Wix Racing) and Sam Tordoff (WSR), but the 4th placed driver in championship is Andrew Jordan (MG Triple Eight Racing), who has showed consistency with four podiums and eight Top 5 results.
Jason Plato, the most successful driver in the history of BTCC , needs just one more podium to celebrate his 200th career podium in the series. Judging by Plato’s driving in BMR’s Volkswagen CC so far this season, we can presume that he will soon achieve this big milestone.
There is one other driver who dominated the headlines before Croft, even though he is still a rookie. Of course, we are talking about Nicolas Hamilton, the younger brother of Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
Nic will make his debut in the championship next weekend, driving AmD Tuning’s Audi S3. Not only does his name attract a lot of attention from fans and the media but also the fact that Nic Hamilton will be first ever differently-abled disabled driver in BTCC, as he suffers from celebral palsy is commendable.
We will see one more rookie at the grid— Max Coates who will pilot the Infiniti Q50 of Support Our Paras Racing Team. The talented 21-year-old Coates has already impressed during appearances in a number of support races of the BTCC race weekends (Ginetta Junior Championship, Ginetta GT Supercup, Porsche Carrera Cup GB).
All those supporting series, plus the Renault UK Clio Cup and MSA Formula, are scheduled for this weekend at Croft, so the spectators will have a true festival of racing. BTCC races are scheduled for Sunday at 12.02, 14.39 and 17.06, respectively.