Tag Archives: BMW

BTCC 2013 – Media Day

Unfortunately I was unable to attend today’s (Thursday) BTCC Media Day at Donington Park because of work, and it seems like a missed a great event. For those who don’t know what the media day is, it’s basically the launch event prior to every BTCC season. It’s where most of the cars, liveries and driver line ups are put on show, and the official entry list for the upcoming season is confirmed and announced.

The big news this year was what everyone was hoping for, a record grid of 32-cars. When you consider that 32 is the maximum number of entries allowed at any given round in the series, it’s pretty impressive. As ever, however, not all cars were present at the event. Tony Gilham’s Team HARD squad took the decision to not bring it’s 3 already completed cars to give the guys back at the workshop nough time as possible to finish them off before the season opener at Brands Hatch on Easter Weekend. Andy Neate, who confirmed yesterday that he would run two cars in 2013, was unable to bring his NGTC Chevrolet Cruze to the event as it no yet finished. Chris Stockton, who will start his campaign at Snetterton in his own NGTC Cruze, also did not attend.

The morning kicked off with the unvieling of entry list as well as the first look at some of the new liveries and cars being used in 2013. The afternoon slot was used as the only official BTCC test of the year. The results of the te

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT CAR TEAM CLASS TIME LAPS GAP
1 77 I Andrew JORDAN GBR Honda Civic Pirtek Racing NGTC 1:10.358 75
2 99 M Jason PLATO GBR MG6 GT MG KX Momentum Racing NGTC 1:10.429 56 0.071
3 1 M Gordon SHEDDEN GBR Honda Civic Honda Yuasa Racing NGTC 1:10.460 52 0.102
4 33 I Adam MORGAN GBR Toyota Avensis Ciceley Racing NGTC 1:10.748 59 0.390
5 17 I Dave NEWSHAM GBR Toyota Avensis Speedworks Motorsport NGTC 1:10.921 50 0.563
6 2 M Matt NEAL GBR Honda Civic Honda Yuasa Racing NGTC 1:10.972 47 0.614
7 88 M Sam TORDOFF GBR MG6 GT MG KX Momentum Racing NGTC 1:11.124 69 0.766
8 8 I Aron SMITH IRL Ford Focus Airwaves Racing NGTC 1:11.258 68 0.900
9 11 I Frank WRATHALL GBR Toyota Avensis Dynojet NGTC 1:11.592 68 1.234
10 29 I Colin TURKINGTON GBR BMW 125i M Sport eBay Motors NGTC 1:11.621 44 1.263
11 10 I Daniel WELCH GBR Proton Gen-2 Welch Motorsport with Sopp + Sopp NGTC 1:11.792 43 1.434
12 13 I Rob AUSTIN GBR Audi A4 WIX Racing NGTC 1:11.829 46 1.471
13 14 I Will BRATT GBR Audi A4 WIX Racing NGTC 1:11.995 79 1.637
14 7 I Mat JACKSON GBR Ford Focus Airwaves Racing NGTC 1:12.044 50 1.686
15 55 I Jeff SMITH GBR Honda Civic Pirtek Racing NGTC 1:12.084 21 1.726
16 5 I Rob COLLARD GBR BMW 125i M Sport eBay Motors NGTC 1:12.164 39 1.806
17 18 I Nick FOSTER GBR BMW 125i M Sport eBay Motors NGTC 1:12.337 53 1.979
18 66 I Liam GRIFFIN GBR Ford Focus Addison Lee Motorbase S2000 1:12.892 54 2.534
19 15 I James KAYE GBR Volkswagen Golf AmDTuning.com S2000 1:13.030 43 2.672
20 48 I Oliver JACKSON GBR Toyota Avensis Speedworks Motorsport NGTC 1:13.080 11 2.722
21 90 I Joe GIRLING GBR Chevrolet Cruze M247 Racing S2000 1:14.884 38 4.526
22 39 I Warren SCOTT GBR SEAT Leon Team BMR Restart S2000 1:14.913 35 4.555
23 12 I David NYE GBR Ford Focus Welch Motorsport with Sopp + Sopp S2000 1:15.245 56 4.887

(Information from btccpages.co.uk)

I’ve already written a preview of the 2013 championship in a previous post which includes a detailed run through of the participating teams and drivers. Here is the official entry list for the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship;

No –   Driver – Team – Car – Class
1 –       Gordon Shedden – Honda Racing Team – Honda Civic – NGTC
2 –       Matt Neal – Honda Racing Team – Honda Civic – NGTC
4 –       Michael Caine – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus ST – NGTC
5 –       Rob Collard – West Surrey Racing – BMW 125i – NGTC
6 –       Tom Onslow-Cole –  Tony Gilham Racing – Volkswagen CC – NGTC
7 –       Mat Jackson – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus ST – NGTC
8 –       Aron Smith – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus ST – NGTC
10 –     Daniel Welch – Welch Motorsport – Proton Persona – NGTC
11 –      Frank Wrathall – Dynojet Racing – Toyota Avensis – NGTC
12 –     David Nye – Welch Motorsport – Ford Focus ST – S2000
13 –     Rob Austin – Rob Austin Racing – Audi A4 – NGTC
14 –     Will Bratt – Rob Austin Racing – Audi A4 – NGTC
15 –     James Kaye – AmD Tuning – Volkswagen Golf V – S2000
17 –     Dave Newsham – Speedworks Motorsport – Toyota Avensis – NGTC
18 –     Nick Foster – West Surrey Racing – BMW 125i – NGTC
20 –    James Cole – Tony Giham Racing – Vauxhall Insignia – NGTC
22 –    Howard Fuller – Tony Gilham Racing – Volkswagen CC – NGTC
28 –    Chris Stockton – BTC Racing – Chevrolet Cruze – NGTC
29 –    Colin Turkington – West Surrey Racing – BMW 125i – NGTC
31 –    Jack Goff – Tony Gilham Racing – Vauxhall Insignia – NGTC
33 –   Adam Morgan – Cicely Racing – Toyota Avensis – NGTC
39 –   Warren Scott – BMR Restart Racing – SEAT León – S2000
43 –   Lea Wood – JWT Performance – Vauxhall Vectra – S2000
44 –   Andy Neate – IP Tech Race Engineering – Chevrolet Cruze – NGTC
48 –   Oliver Jackson – Speedworks Motorsport – Toyota Avensis – NGTC
55 –   Jeff Smith – Eurotech Racing – Honda Civic – NGTC
66 –   Liam Griffin – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus ST – S2000
77 –   Andrew Jordan – Eurotech Racing – Honda Civic – NGTC
88 –   Sam Tordoff – Triple Eight Race Engineering – MG6 GT – NGTC
90-     Joe Girling – Tech-Speed Motorsport – Chevrolet Cruze LT – S2000
99 –   Jason Plato – Triple Eight Race Engineering – MG6 GT – NGTC
TBC –  TBC – IP Tech Race Engineering – Chevrolet Cruze – NGTC

(Information from TouringCarTimes)

Finally here are some pictures from Media Day;

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WTCC 2013 – The Entry List

The provisional entry for the first round of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship at Monza;

FIA World Touring Car Championship – Monza 2013 Entry List

No – Driver – Nat – Team – Car

1 – Rob Huff – GBR – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC

3 – Gabriele Tarquini – ITA – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC

5 – Norbert Michelisz – HUN – Zengõ Motorsport – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC

6 – Franz Engstler* – GER – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC

7 – Charles Ng* – HKG – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC

9 – Alex MacDowall* – GBR – bamboo-engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

10 – James Thompson – GBR – LADA Sport Lukoil – Lada Granta

11 – Aleksei Dudukalo – RUS –  LADA Sport Lukoil – Lada Granta

12 – Yvan Muller – FRA – RML – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

13 – Jean-Philippe Dayraut* – FRA – ANOME – BMW 320 TC

14 – James Nash* – GBR – bamboo-engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

15 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC

17 – Michel Nykjaer* – DEN – Nika Racing – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC

19 – Fernando Monje* – ESP – Campos Racing – SEAT León WTCC

20 – Hugo Valente* – ESP – Campos Racing – SEAT León WTCC

22 – Tom Boardman* – GBR – Special Tuning Racing – SEAT León WTCC

23 – Tom Chilton – GBR – RML – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

25 – Mehdi Bennani* – MOR – Proteam Racing – BMW 320 TC

26 – Stefano D’Aste* – ITA – PB Racing – BMW 320 TC

37 – Rene Münnich* – GER – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC

38 – Marc Basseng – GER – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC

55 – Darryl O’Young* – HKG – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC

73 – Fredy Barth* – SUI – Wiechers-Sport – BMW 320 TC

74 – Pepe Oriola – ESP – Tuenti Racing Team – SEAT León WTCC

* = Eligible for the Yokohama Independents’ Trophy

(Information from TouringCarTimes)

BTCC 2013 – Season Preview

It’s not long now until the UK’s most prestigious racing series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, gets underway for the 2013 season. Already it looks like it might be a great year, as we have hit the grid limit of 32 cars for the first time ever. News like this is very much welcomed by most fans after what most would feel was a disappointing season last year, with some small grids (for example only 19 cars entering at Knockhill) and some suspect driving antics. The main reason for the fluctuation in grid sizes is the fact that we are now into the third season of the transition in regulations from the FIA-spec S2000 chassis’, to the newly founded NGTC (Next Generation Touring Car) chassis’. The idea behind the new cars is that they are designed to be cheaper to build and to run. Although this theory was met with some skepticism by a few team managers in 2011 when it was first introduced, it is generally accepted now as being a better platform than the older set of regulations. As a result, the overall NGTC count on the grid has grown from 6 at the end of its inaugural season in 2011, to an estimated 27 for the coming campaign. Only six S2000 will feature in 2013 and will not benefit from turbo boost increases as the season progresses as the NGTC machinery will do, unlike last year where the aim was parity between the two different types of car as the S2000/NGTC split was roughly 50/50. Therefore, to give smaller teams who can only afford to run in second-hand S2000 machinery something to fight for, the Jack Sears trophy has been created. This is a ‘mini-championship’ exclusive to S2000 entries, but don’t expect it to be fought out too fiercely, as I said only a handful of the chassis’ will compete.

The championship will, as usual, consist of 30 races spread evenly between 10 meetings, both starting and ending at the ‘spiritual home of the BTCC’, Brands Hatch. So whose racing in 2013 then? Well, let me give you a run through:

Honda Yuasa Racing (Team Dynamics)

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As the team that effectively dominated the BTCC over the last two years and weren’t too bad in 2010 either, Honda returns in 2013 with it’s usual manufacturer entry of two Honda Civics, run by experienced outfit Team Dynamics. The driver line-up remains as it was for the last three seasons too, with reigning champion Gordon Shedden partnering former triple champion Matt Neal in the NGTC spec machines, or ‘pocket-rockets’, as Neal often refers to them as. Shedden finally took his first crown last year, after so many years of finishing the season as bridesmaid. He is one of the very quickest out there and is a consistent winner in the series having taken a remarkable 19 victories in the last three seasons alone, with an overall total of 29. Neal is a veteran of the series and is just as conistent with 17 of his 48 BTCC victories coming since the start of 2010. The team were expected to have a far less dominant season last year seeing as they only started developing the car not long before season begun. It had many gremlins at first, but the team’s experience meant they were quickly eliminated and Shedden went on to take the title with Neal finishing runner-up. It is hard to see them struggling to repeat that level of success in 2013.

neal  Pic: Matt Neal        shedden Pic: Gordon Shedden

MG KX Momentum Racing (Triple 8 Race Engineering)

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Rather late on in the build-up to the 2012 season, MG announced it was to return as a manufacturer entry in the series, with a pair of NGTC-spec MG6’s run by Ian Harrison’s Triple 8 squad. A win at the first round at Brands Hatch was remarkable, and the team went on to mount a serious title challenge with the most successful driver in he series in terms of wins, Jason Plato. PLato is just one of those drivers you can never discount, he is always a man at the sharp end and even when things are seemingly going wrong, he finds a way of fighting back. This is made clear by the countless drives he has produced, carving his way through the field from the back. He is accompanied this year by rising star Sam Tordoff, who I went through in detail in an earlier post. The MG still looked handful towards the end of last year, but it was quick. And it will be even quicker in 2013, so can it deliver the title?

plato Pic: Jason Plato                    dr_207_pv Pic: Sam Tordoff

ebay Motors (West Surrey Racing)

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The experienced BMW squad have ditched their race winning but ageing S2000 BMW 3-Series’ for brand new NGTC-spec BMW 1-Series’. Rob Collard, who won 3 races last year, stays with the team for the fourth consecutive season with Nick Foster also staying with the team. The big news, however, is the return of 2009 champion Colin Turkington, which i went through in more detail in an earlier post. They don’t have the experience with the car that the others will have with theirs, so thoughts of a championship challenge might be a little optimistic, but they will certainly be up towards the front as the season progresses.

collard Pic: Rob Collard      dr_4_pv Pic: Colin Turkington  foster  Pic: Nick Foster

Airwaves Racing/Addison Lee Racing (Motorbase Performance)

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Every year, Motorbase aim for the title but their challenge always seems to fall apart. This year, there can be no excuses. They sacrificed their 2012 season at the half way point when they decided to swap Mat Jackson‘s S2000 Ford Focus ST for a brand new and ultimately undeveloped NGTC one. Progress was mightily impressive and a win at Silverstone was well deserved. Reliability was an issue, and two possible wins were lost due to engine and electrical problems. Jackson is always a BTCC front-runner no matter what he is in, and no one would begrudge him a title. His team-mate Aron Smith, however, is young and only has one full BTCC campaign under his belt, but he is talented. During the second half of last season, only eventual champion Shedden scored more points than Smith. He had a tremendous run of form, peaking with a maiden podium at Silverstone and a great debut win at Brands Hatch in difficult conditions. This year, he gets his own NGTC Focus and will be certainly worth keeping an eye for some more wins perhaps. Liam Griffin also remains with the team, but he will keep his S2000 Focus and will be going for the Jack Series Trophy. The squad have got chewing gum brand Airwaves back on board as a main sponsor for this year, resulting in a new look, blue livery. Griffin will race under a different banner to that of Jackson and Smith and will sport a black livery with Addison Lee sponsoring. Reigning British GT champion Michael Caine will dovetail his attempted defence of that title with a return to the BTCC with Motorbase. He will drive the team’s third NGTC Focus under the same Addison Lee banner as Griffin. He will start his season at Donington when the car is ready.

Jackson Pic: Mat Jackson  smith Pic: Aron Smith

Griffin Pic: Liam Griffin   Caine Pic: Michael Caine

Team Pirtek (Eurotech) 

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For the second season running, the privateer Eurotech team will act as Team Dynamics’ satellite squad. They will run a pair of NGTC Honda Civics, identical to those of the reigning champions. Andrew Jordan is a four-time BTCC race winner at the age of just 23, and is tipped as a future champion but needs to up his game a tad. He’s quick, but not spectacular enough. His pole at Thruxton was sublime, but he threw it away by spinning on the first corner of the first race. He says he’s aiming for overall title this year having taken the independents crown last year, but he will need to be more consistent if he is to achieve that goal. He is joined for the thirs successive season by Jeff Smith, who seems to improve every year and took a great maiden podium at Knockhill in 2012.

jordan Pic: Andrew Jordan   jsmith Pic: Jeff Smith

Rob Austin Racing

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If there is a team that deserves some luck, it’s this one. One of the first teams to commit  to the NGTC regulations in 2011, they have shown tremendous  determination to get their Audi A4’s as near to the front as possible, although simply getting them on the grid oftem seems to be the bigger problem due to unstable finances. The car has  had two podiums in the hands of the ever-charismatic Rob Austin, who was forced to miss a few rounds last year because of the team’s money problems. Wix filters has confirmed it sponsor Austin all  season, meaning that the NASCAR-style livery which appeared at the final round last season gets a further ten outings. Former Formula 2 race winner Will Bratt, who contested a few rounds last season, also gets a full campaign in the second A4. Lets hope we get to see the true pace of the Audis in 2013.

dr_182_pv  Pic: Rob Austin   dr_199_pv Pic: Will Bratt

Team HARD.

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Former Cagefighter, VW Racing Cup UK champion and Porsche Carrera Cup racer Tony Gilham set up the team at the beginning of last year to run his S2000 Honda Civic. Having bought both of Thorney Motorsport’s NGTC Vauxhall Insignias, he set the ambitious target of increasing its participation to four NGTC machines in 2013,  with the two Insignias being parterned two VW Passat CC’s built by the team themselves. The team has signed BTCC race winner and potential future champion  Tom Onslow-Cole to race one of the VW’s. Even at the age of just 25, TO-C enters his seventh consecutive BTCC season this year, and will be expected to move this relatively new team forward. Reigning Renault Clio Cup champion Jack Goff steps up to the series to race one of the team’s Vauxhalls (a move which I explained in more detail in an earlier post) and will be accompanied in the Insignia line-up by former Formula Ford and Formula 2 racer James Cole. There is some doubt as to whether the second Passat, which will be shared throughout the season by Howard Fuller and American racer Robb Holland, will be on the grid for the first round at Brands, but the team remain hopeful. In fact, there’s even rumour of a third Passat being built if either Holland, Fuller or another driver find the budget for a full season. In difficult financial times, it has to be said it is great to see such enthusiasm, determination and optimism from a small privateer team. Their target will be to finish consistently in the top 10.

toc Pic: Tom Onslow-Cole   dr_205_pv Pic: Jack Goff

dr_204_pv Pic: James Cole  holland Pic: Robb Holland

dr_198_pvPic: Howard Fuller

Dynojet Racing

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The small Lancashire-based squad are proving to be one of the most popular on the BTCC grid in recent years. The family run team joined the series in 2011 with reigning Ginetta G50 Champion Frank Wrathall, taking advantage of the then brand new NGTC regulations to run a Toyota Avensis in the outfit’s distinctive orange and black livery. As you would expect with a small, inexperienced team and a brand new, relatively undeveloped car, progress was slow initially. Countless reliability issues plagued the first half of their 2011 campaign. In the second half, though, we began to see what this package could really do. Their first points came at a strong Snetterton round, and from there the ball finally started to roll. Three successive podiums came at Knochill and at Rockingham, where he narrowly missed out on victory. 2012 was a better year, but the results didn’t really reflect that. He took a maiden pole at Snetterton but couldn’t convert it into a win. Going into the last race of the season at Brands Hatch, Wrathall only had one podium to his name all season. But that was about to change. In the reversed grid race, he inherited the lead early on from Mat Jackosn who suffered electrical issues. He did incredibly well to keep former champion Matt Neal at arms length throughout the race and took a great maiden win, in what were difficult conditions to master on a challenging circuit. 2013 should be a better year for Frank and the Dynojet Team, and he should be full of confidence having taken his first victory. He could be a dark horse for some more champagne this year.

wrathall Pic: Frank Wrathall

Welch Motorsport

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The Proton squad have been a on a steady rise to the front in their one and a half years in the BTCC.  There has been definite progress, and they do seem to be getting nearer the sharp end. Dan Welch was unlucky not to be on the podium at Oulton Park and at Silverstone. The car looks a good one on its day and is becoming a regular feature in the top 10, both in qualifying and in the races. There has been rumour of the team running a second Proton Persona this year, but instead they have opted to buy one of Redstone Racing’s old S2000 Ford Focus’, and run it for former SEAT Cupra Cup racer, David Nye, who will be competing for the Jack Sears Trophy. Expect to see the team becoming a regular front-runner. Podiums and possibly wins will come soon if the team continues this rate of progress.

welch  Pic: Dan Welch   dr_209_pv Pic: David Nye

IP Tech Race Engineering

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BTCC regular Andy Neate has set up his own team for the 2013 season to run a newly built NGTC Chevrolet Cruze. The car was started by the RML Chevrolet team in 2011 before they decided to pull out of the championship. Andy has bought the shell and his team will finish building it. This would be the fourth team Neate has raced for in four seasons in the BTCC, so now he needs to create some stability. Don’t expect points early on, but the car could be one to watch in latter stages of the campaign. The team will skip the fisrt round at Brands Hatch so that they can get a little more testing under their belts.  A second Cruze has been entered for 2013 which will be built after the Donington Park round.

Andy+Neate+BTCC+Media+Day+LNPayGkFsArx Pic: Andy Neate

Speedworks Motorsport

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Now in their third season in the series, Speedworks now have an oppurtunity to make a name for themselves as regulars in the points places. Like Dynojet, their Toyota Avensis was a real handful to get on top of due to reliability issues in 2011 with Tony Hughes driving. They were closer to the pace in 2012 with Hughes and Adam Morgan, but the results still didn’t come. BTCC fan favourite Paul O’Neill made a return to the series, replacing Hughes for 2 events, and he scored the teams best points finishes, showing just how good the car could be. Unfortunately, O’Neill couldn’t find the budget to compete in 2013, Tony Hughes decided to retire and Adam Morgan has left to race for his own team (more on that in a bit). This meant that the team had two empty seats for 2013, but it has already filled one of them. Former Clio Cup champion and BTCC race winner Dave Newsham has joined the team. Newsham, who also starts his third season this year, was a revelation last year, winning two races and scoring multiple podiums in the ageing S2000 Vauxhall Vectra for the small and inexperienced Team ESRacing.com. The team has signed former AMD driver Ollie Jackson to drive the second Avensis, and he will be looking for a consistent run of points scoring results.

dr_175_pv Pic: Dave Newsham    dr_191_pv Pic: Ollie Jackson

Ciceley Racing

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As I just mentioned, 2011 Ginetta GT Supercup champion Adam Morgan has left Speedworks to race with his own family run squad in 2013, and this is it. The team has purchased the Toyota Avensis raced by Frank Wrathall in 2011. Adam himself looks a promising talent, but needs to be more consistent. Many potential good points finishes were thrown away last year either by driver error or lack of luck. This was more evident than ever last year when he took the reverse grid pole at Rockingham and lead for half a lap but went wide and slipped well down the order. If he can get some consistency going, regular points finishes are possible.

morgan Pic: Adam Morgan

BTC Racing

BTC Racing returns for the first time since 2008 to race one of the Chevrolet Cruze’s initially developed by RML. We won’t see the team until later on in the season as the car won’t be finished for some time due to low-budget and a small number of resources. TVR ace Chris Stockton will also make his return to the series to drive the car.

stcokton Pic: Chris Stockton

AMD Tuning.com

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AMD-Vauxhall-Astra

There remains a little bit of confusion as to what the AMD’s 2013 entry will consist of. We do know that throughout the season, the team will run, as it has done for last three years, its turbo powered  S2000-spec VW Golf for BTCC veteran and returnee James Kaye. We also know that from Snetterton onwards we should be seeing the team’s new challenger, a brand new NGTC-spec Vauxhall Astra. What we are still unsure of is whether we will be seeing a S2000 Ford Focus, with team having struck a deal with Motorbase to purchase the car. It has been said that whether or not we will see it depends on if they can find a well-budgeted driver to fund the seat. With the new car coming late in the season, it is clear the team’s eyes are firmly fixed on 2014.

dr_11_pv Pic: James Kaye

M247 Racing (TechSpeed)

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When RML Chevrolet announced their withdrawal from the series in 2011, their sattelite squad Techspeed had no choice but to follow suit with its pair of Chevrolet Cruze’s as they did not have the resources to run them without aid from Ray Mallock’s outfit. They did not feature in 2012, instead deciding to focus on raising funds to fit both Cruze’s with NGTC engines ready for a 2013 assault. This was achieved before the end of last year, but plans to make an early comeback at the final two rounds of 2012 with former Dunlop Production Touring Car racer Joe Girling were dropped in order to save money. It’s great to see them back because the S2000 Chevrolet Cruze chassis is arguably one of the best in Touring car history and it was sad to see it missing from the BTCC grid last year.

dr_208_pv Pic: Joe Girling

Team BMR Restart

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Like the Cruze, the S2000 Seat Leon will also return to the grid after a year’s absence as former bike racer Warren Scott has purchased one from Belgium, fitted it with an Turbo engine, and has entered it for 2013. Scott says he’s in the BTCC for the long run and has made clear his ambition to build full NGTC spec cars for 2014. He’ll be competing in the Jack Sears Trophy this year and has a realistic chance of winning it.

Warren+Scott+BTCC+Media+Day+Za-rG1J_8F3l  Pic: Warren Scott

Wheel Heaven / Houseman Racing

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Lea Wood announced on the eve of Media day that he would remain in the BTCC in 2013, with his family team, in the trusty S2000 Vauxhall Vectra. Wood has driven for his own team in recent years and is quick, even if he doesn’t always get the results to back this up, losing an almost certain maiden podium finish to a gearbox failure at Snetterton last year for example. The Vectra has long been a very quick car and Wood is a capable driver, and as such they are many people’s favourites to take the Jack Sears Trophy in 2013.

dr_160_pv  Pic: Lea Wood

So that’s it, the class of 2013. There will be more drivers confirmed in the next few weeks and there will be, as always, changes in line-ups as the season progresses.

Lets hope 2013 recaptures the magic of the biggest and best racing series in the British Isles.

DTM 2013 – Season Preview

With all three manufacturers now having confirmed their full driver line ups, now would seem a good time to give a run a through of the 22 drivers competing in the 2013 season. I’ll go through them in the order they in which finished last year’s campaign, with rookies coming at the end.

Bruno Spengler (BMW)

Finally, after some many years of finishing the year as bridesmaid, the French-Canadian took his first DTM crown. He had to do it the hard way, too, with Mercedes driver and former champion, Gary Paffett, heading the standings virtually all season. Throughout the second half of the season, though,  Bruno would eat away at the British driver’s lead at the top, winning three of the last five races to beat the Thomas Sabo backed  Mercedes to the crown. And don’t forget, he did this with BMW, the manufacturer making its return to the series after many years away. I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes this crown with be the first of many for the 29-year-old, as they do say the first one is always the hardest, and Bruno seems to be one of the main title contenders season in, season out. There is no reason as to why Bruno can’t repeat that success in 2013.
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Gary Paffett (Mercedes)

The Briton is arguably very unlucky not to have been the one taking the 2012 crown back home with him. He was the pace setter throughout the season , coupling good speed and results with great consistency. What cost him the title, unfortunately, seemed to be the mistakes of others, most notably being spun out of the lead on the first lap at the Norisring after Augusto Farfus had been over ambitious on the run to the first corner, and Martin Tomczyk locking up in tricky conditions at Zandvoort and bumping into the side of Paffett, turning the Brit around. Paffett will undoubtably be the lead Mercedes driver again in 2013, with Jamie Green’s departure to rivals Audi and the team’s subsequent reduction to six cars, with 4 of those drivers being young and relative newcomers to the series. If luck is, this time, on his side, Paffett will definitely be a regular front-runner again in 2013, nd he will be determined to take what he will believe he deserved to win in 2012.

Paffett

Jamie Green (Audi)

This will be a big season for the Brit following his move to Audi after a relatively successful eight season tenour with Mercedes, but ultimately eight seasons in which failed to deliver the title. The 30-year-old had a strong campaign, taking one win, which, incidentally, will probably go down as one of the most dramatic finishes to a race ever in the series, as he charged through in the field in changing conditions, taking the lead from Martin Tomczyk at the last corner of the last lap of the race. (Click here to see it, sorry it’s in German). He will be expected to be on form straight away with his new team if he is to retain his reputation as one of the series’ leading drivers, but I believe he has the quality to pull it off.

green

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi)

The Audi Le Mans team regular is a consistent driver in the DTM but rarely spectacular, with only the solitary DTM win to his name, which came in 2011. That would/should have been two, had he not been over-cautious in the wet conditions at Zandvoort, handing the lead and eventual win to Audi team-mate Edoardo Mortara. There is no doubting his ability, but ‘Rocky’ won’t be regarded as one the DTM’s pace setters until he replicates his sports car success in the touring car series.

Rocky

Edoardo Mortara (Audi)

I really rate this guy, as I made clear in a previous blog. After an impressive debut campaign in the series in 2011, 2012 was the year the Italian made a name for himself as one of the emerging young talents in not just the DTM, but also international motor sport. He took two great wins and was unlucky not be able to mount a title challenge. As a former Formula 3 Euro Series champion, one of 4 on the 2013 grid, Mortara has shown he has what it takes to win a major motor sport crown, and what’s to say he can’t add a DTM title to that collection? One thing is for certain, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on in 2013.

Edo

Mattias Ekström (Audi)

2012 was a difficult year for multiple DTM champion Ekström, with the Swede not managing to finish higher than third (a result he achieved on three occasions throughout the course of the season) in any race. The 34-year-old has been a consistent front-runner in the DTM for over a decade and he is always one that you under-estimate at your peril. He will be determined to put the record straight in 2013, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t do just that.

Ekstrom

Augusto Farfus (BMW)

I’ve already stated in an earlier post that I believe the Brazilian will be a dark horse in 2013, having finished 2012 on such a strong run of results, including two consecutive poles, a win and a third place. Remember that was his maiden season in the series, so he should be hoping for an even better campaign this time around. If he can maintain that good form going into his second season, he may be an outsider for title contention come October.

Farfus Valencia

Martin Tomczyk (BMW)

No driver will be more disappointed with their respective 2012 campaigns than BMW Team RMG driver Tomczyk. After a remarkable 2011 season, in which he won the title for Audi in an older car, the 31-year-old went into 2012 as BMW’s main man, their ‘big signing’. He wasn’t expected to win the title, with many believing that the BMW M3 would be off the ultimate pace for most of the season as the team continued to learn on their return to the series. As it turned out, though, the M3 wasn’t too bad at all, but it wasn’t the reigning champion who was scoring the results, it was Spengler. Tomczyk, in truth, had a frustrating season in which he scored no wins, although he came close at the Norisring as we saw earlier, a race he will probably feel he should have won. However, Martin is a championship winning driver in a championship winning car, so he definitely has what it takes to put things straight in 2013.

Tomczyk

Dirk Werner (BMW)

Werner started last year on a high, qualifying third in his first ever DTM qualifying session. However, it wouldn’t be until round five that he would score his first points in the series, just the one at the Norisring. he picked up his form from there and scored points in four of the last five rounds. He won’t be a title contender, but I think the experienced German has what it takes to start being a  consistent podium finisher in the series.

wernerzand

Adrien Tambay (Audi)

It is pretty remarkable that the 21-year-old DTM rookie finished in to top ten in the standings in 2012, bearing in mind he scored points just TWICE. What puts the Frenchman up here, however, is the fact that both of those points finishes were very strong ones, not least the second place at Valencia following Edoardo Mortara’s retirement. There were also flashes of real pace in the other races, too, including running 5th for a reasonable period of time at Brands Hatch after a great start. He is continuing to learn and he is still improving, and should be hoping for more strong outings in the new season.

Tambay

Filipe Albuquerque (Audi)

The 2010 ROC Champion is another of the emerging talents in the DTM. He is now a consistent points scorer in the series, finishing out side the top ten just three times in 2012. He is also still learning and will be one to watch as he continues to improve, as there is plenty of reason to believe he could possibly take a podium or two in the not so distant future.

Albuquerque

Christain Vietoris (Mercedes)

The young German started his second DTM campaign in 2012, and he started it well. Fourth place at the first round in Hockenheim was a mighty result, but he wouldn’t taste similar success again all season. In fact, he scored points on just three other occasions in 2012. As a former Formula 3 Euro Series and GP2 race winner, he has talent. But he will need to show it more in the DTM more often than he did last year.

Motorsports / DTM: german touring cars championship 2012, 8. round at Oschersleben, Germany

Andy Priaulx (BMW)

The three-time World Touring Car Champion simply did not have any of the luck in 2012, and would have been hoping for far more than just the four average points finishes he scored in his debut season. But the Guernseyman is a fighter, and a very smart one at that. He knows how to win championships at the highest level, so he is very much capable of turning things around in 2013.

priaulx

Timo Scheider (Audi)

It’s hard to believe that just 3 years ago, Scheider took his second consecutive DTM crown, because now he seems to be struggling having not scored a single win since then. Like Priaulx, Timo never seems to have much luck. This was made obvious in 2012 at Zandvoort, when he took an impressive pole position only to get caught up in other people’s incidents in the race and retire from it early as a result. He has the ability to start challenging for wins again, so I hope for his sake that he manages it soon.

Audi-A5-DTM-Timo-Scheider

Robert Wickens (Mercedes)

The 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 champion Wickens was labelled as having an impressive debut season in the DTM in 2012, despite scoring pints on just three occasions. The main reason for the praise seems to be his pace, which is not surprising bearing in mind his single-seater successes. It will be interesting to see if he can be more consistent in 2013.

#20, Robert Wickens (Muecke Motorsport, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupe (2012))

Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes)

The six-time Formula One race winner is this year entering his sixth consecutive DTM season. It is surprising that given his Formula One success and DTM experience, he only has one DTM podium to his name, and no wins. He is in fact a bit of a burden sometimes, having caused a few incidents and picked up a few penalties in his tenour in the series. He need to pick things up this year though, as he will be expected to help Gary Paffett lead the young Mercedes team now that Jamie Green has left. It is hard seeing Schumacher’s DTM career lasting beyond 2013 if he does not give the rest of Mercedes’ young stars someone to look up to.

RALF

Miguel Molina (Audi)

The Spaniard started his career in the DTM with two great seasons in 2010 and 2011, but his formed certainly dipped in 2012. Just two points finishes is more than disappointing for a driver who ended 2011 in such  great form. He has been trusted with a seat in 2013, but will need to get back to his best if he is wants to keep it in 2014.

Miguel-Molina1

Joey Hand (BMW)

The American had a tough first season in the DTM, scoring points just twice. He is an experienced driver and showed good pace at times last year, so he will be hoping for a fresh start this year.

DTM Round 8, Oschersleben, Germany

Roberto Mehri (Mercedes)

21-year-old Spaniard Mehri earned the reputation as a top young single-seater driver  after winning the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series title. However his debut DTM campaign was far from a success. He was quick, but inconsistent and erratic, and didn’t score a single point all season as a result. There will be a lot of pressure on him this year to show the DTM world how good he really is.

Mehri

The Rookies

Timo Glock (BMW)

Certainly the big news in the build up to the new season is the arrival of former Formula One podium finisher Timo Glock, following his departure from F1 team Marussia. He will certainly be expected to hit the ground running and he is definitely capable of doing so.

glock

Marco Wittmann (BMW)

The 23-year-old had the role of BMW’s test driver in 2012 and has been given one of the team’s extra two race seats in 2013. His role from last year will mean he has some experience with the car, which should put him in good stead for his debut season in the series.

wittmann

Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes)

The reigning Formula 3 Euro Series champion joins the Mercedes team in 2013,and will be hoping to make a better immediate impression than his compatriot Roberto Mehri. His credentials show he should be one to watch in the next few seasons.

juncadella

DTM: Augusto Farfus – 2013 Title Contender?

If there’s one man whose performances towards the end of last season when unnoticed, it’s Augusto Farfus. While everyone’s eyes were on the Gary Paffett v Bruno Spengler, Mercedes v BMW title tussle, no one seemed to notice series rookie Farfus had taken poles in both of the last two races at Valencia and Hockenheim, converting them into a win and a third place respectively. Add to that the fact he had already taken an impressive debut podium finish at the Lausitzring earlier on in the season, and what you have a pretty remarkable maiden season in the cut-throat world of the DTM. Yes there were mistakes, he undoubtedly was the cause of the first corner incident at the Norsring which saw championship leader and pole sitter Paffett spun to the back of the back, but all in all it was a great inaugural DTM season for the 29-year-old.

Farfus Valencia Pic: Farfus took his maiden DTM pole and victory at the Valencia circuit

So the main question obviously is, can he be a title contender this season? My opinion is, simply, yes he can. The DTM is all about consistency, something the Brazilian definitely had managed to get his head around towards the end of the campaign and I have every faith that he will manage to continue that form into 2013. Also, remember that Farfus is a multiple winner in the WTCC, showing he knows how to cut it on a world stage.

farfus Pic: Farfus took a total of 15 victories in the WTCC

So in 2013, watch out for the mean, green Castrol machine.

BTCC 2013 – Return of a Champ

Perhaps the biggest news story around in the lead up to the 2013 BTCC season is the return of 2009 champion Colin Turkington, who hasn’t raced in the series since wrapping up that crown over 3 years ago.

The 30 year old Northern Irishman is one of the most popular drivers around, known for his clean, yet very effective, driving style and well spoken nature, and the news of his return was certainly a popular one among st the BTCC faithful, it even had BTCC trending on Twitter!

Turkington made his first appearance in the series back in 2002 in one of the Team Atomic Kitten MG’s, taking a remarkable podium in Race 1 at Croft. He went on to take a total of 19 wins in 8 seasons which saw in the MG ZS, Vauxhall Astra VXR and BMW 320si.

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Since taking the 2009 crown at Brands Hatch, Turkington has competed in both the WTCC (in which he took his maiden win in Japan in 2010 after Augusto Farus’ exclusion) and the STCC.

Colin returns with the team who took him to the title 3 years ago, Dick Bennetts’ West Surrey Racing squad. He will be racing one of the team’s brand new NGTC-spec BMW 1-series’.

Colin-Turkington-BTCC-WSR_2887646

It’s fair to say Colin will be one to watch in 2013, the WSR squad are an experienced bunch and it won’t take long for them to get on top of the new machinery. Winning the title this year may prove to be a long shot, but if there’s one man who can spring a suprise, it’s Turks.

DTM: Edoardo Mortara – A Rising Star

For those who followed the 2012 DTM season, there were many results come the end of the campaign which may have suprised some. BMW taking the title in the first season of its come back probably topped the bill for many, but for me, it was the overall performance of the Playboy Audi A5 driver, Edoardo Mortara.

Motorsports / DTM 2012, 6. race at Nuerburgring,

To be fair, his performance shouldn’t be such a shock, not when you remember this guy took the 2010 Formula 3 Euro Series title, a series also won by the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg. His performances in the legendary Macau GP for Formula 3 cars isn’t too shabby either, having taken 3 wins on the famously tricky street circuit.

Mortara F3

Mortara switched to Tin Top Racing in 2011, driving an Audi A4 for Team Rosberg in the DTM, replacing Markus Winkelhock in the Playboy backed machine. His touring car career gradually started to gain momentum from there, and taking 5th place at the Norisring mid-season was the catalyst for a great run of results, including two consecutive podiums at Brands Hatch and Oschersleben.

Mortara 2011 Pic: Mortara on his way to his maiden podium at Brands Hatch

2012 was a big year in the DTM, with the introduction of the new regulations and the return of BMW. This didn’t seem to phase Mortara, however. The season started slowly for him,  scraping through to two low points finishes out of the first three races. But at round 4, Mortara showed he last none of his talent by storming to pole at the Austrian A1 Ring circuit, his first in the DTM. From there, he would fend off former champions Martin Tomczyk and Gary Paffett.

Motorsports / DTM 2012, 4. race at Red Bull Ring Pic: Edoardo heading Tomczyk and Paffett, on his way to his maiden DTM success.

Similar success would come at Zandvoort a couple of rounds afterwards. Having taken n impressive second to eventual champion Bruno Spengler at Nurburgring at the previous round, Mortara beat Audi team-mate Mike Rockenfeeler, who had been over-cautious in the changeable conditions, to take the honours. He was looking good for a second place at Valencia too, only for a driveshaft to fail and send into the gravel. That mechanical failure had far larger repercussions than first realised, as it meant Rockenfeller would finish ahead of Edoardo in the final standings and wrap up the campaign ad the highest placed Audi driver. It has to be said, that was a little harsh on the Italian. Especially when you consider he was the only Audi man to win a race all season, and remember this was a Audi line-up that included former multiple champions Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom.

Thankfully, Edo’ will be returning for 2013, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be up there mounting a serious title challenge when we get to Hockenheim for the final round of the season.