Tag Archives: Donington

BTCC – The Jack Sears Trophy So Far

The 2013 British Touring Car Championship season has so far been an intriguing one. The balance of power between the Hondas and MGs has been the main talking point, along with the emergence of a new title challenger in Andrew Jordan and the improving pace of the WSR BMWs.

But perhaps a little forgotten among many BTCC followers is the Jack Sears Trophy. It may only have six entries, but the competition between them has been worth watching since the off. Names that are normally at the back of the pack due to their small budgets, not necessarily their abilities, are being given the chance to stand on the podium for the first time. Unsurprisingly, these drivers are not prepared to let these opportunities pass without a fight. The other aspect of this competition that is worth noting is that unlike the other sub-championships in the series such as the Independents trophy, the Jack Sears Trophy does not use a points-based system. Instead it is the driver with the most wins in the class who will take the trophy, presented by Jack Sears himself, come October. This system brings a new dynamic to the racing between the S2000 cars. There are, quite literally, no prizes for coming second.

In the build-up to the season Lea Wood and Liam Griffin, who drive a Vauxhall Vectra and Ford Focus respectively, were touted as being the favourites for overall glory due to their experience in the BTCC. Wood has always been fast but has never had front running machinery underneath him while Griffin only decided to delay his retirement from the series because he was confident he challenge for the silverware.  The pair has been the Jack Sears pacesetters so far, sharing 75% of the victories with Wood leading the trophy with 5 wins to Griffin’s 4 out of 12 races.  Add to the mix BTCC veteran James Kaye driving the AMD run Volkswagen Golf, who himself has taken two wins, and you have a healthy little battle. The other half of the JST field is made up of BTCC rookies, but that doesn’t mean they are uncompetitive. M247 racing Chevrolet Cruze driver Joe Girling has shown impressive speed which has already been rewarded with a class victory at Donington Park. Welch Motorsport’s David Nye has also been on the pace this season but is yet to take a victory in his Ford Focus. The final JST runner is BMR Restart’s Warren Scott in his Seat Leon. The team have been blighted with bad luck so far this season, which was at its most obvious at Oulton Park, where apparent driveshaft and clutch problems forced a retirement in Race 1 and meant they were unable to start the following two races. Despite this, however, the ever enthusiastic Scott has managed, to his credit, to keep on smiling and enjoy his BTCC adventure.

There has been a one-off driver change already this season on the cup, with VW Racing Cup points-leader Aaron Mason replacing James Kaye, who had to see to unavoidable business commitments, for the last round at Oulton Park. The 33-year-old is the most successful driver in the history of the VW cup and certainly has aspirations of becoming a full time BTCC driver. He showed impressive pace on his debut, qualifying fourth in class and taking a best race result of 21st, before a driveshaft failure in Race 2 ended his weekend prematurely, as he got to grips with the Turbo engine in the S2000 Golf.

JST Pic: Griffin and Wood have been the men to beat so far

There will be another newcomer this weekend at Croft. Griffin, who lies second in the standings, also has business commitments and the Motorbase squad have worked with the cars primary sponsor, Addison Lee, to arrange a deal for 19-year-old Ginetta graduate Jake Hill to drive the Focus in his place. Hill, the son of ITV commentator Simon, has had a test in the car before with Motorbase at Brands Hatch last year and is also well accustomed to the TOCA package thanks to his time racing Ginettas in both the Junior and Supercup series’. He’ll be determined to prove his worth in the car so watch out for him at the pointy end on the Jack Sears field at the weekend.

So far then, the JST has been a great championship to follow. It’s had the competitiveness, thrills and spills to match the main championship with a fraction of the number of competitors. It’s great to hear series boss Alan Gow mention that he too is delighted with the success of the newly created trophy and has made clear his intentions to keep it going beyond 2013. With the S2000 cars being phased out of the championship completely for next season, however, the focus of the championship will have to change. It could therefore become a championship for rookie drivers or for cars running the standard TOCA engine, for example.


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

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;