BTCC 2019: Brands Hatch GP – Preview

The 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship enters it’s final and dramatic conclusion this weekend, with no less than five drivers still in contention for the overall title.

Reigning BTCC Champion Colin Turkington will lead the title contenders into action at the Kent-based circuit this weekend as he attempts to become a four-time BTCC Champion. Andy Rouse is the only ever driver in the Championship’s history to have won four titles.

“The key is going to Brands with a chance, and that’s the position I’m in,” Turkington told the BTCC website. “You only have to watch one race day to see how unpredictable the BTCC is.

“You scrap as hard for second place as you do for 20th. It’s positive that I go with some points tucked away, but we need to be on the case at Brands. It’s the last step and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s a completely different race weekend to any other. The focus on the drivers is huge and there’s a lot at stake, but I know how to approach it – you learn year-by-year. The first title is the hardest to get over the line. It doesn’t get any easier but you’ve a greater bank of knowledge to rely on and you bat away the negative thoughts a bit easier.

“Brands GP is the perfect track for a finale. It’s one we all love, and it’s got everything – fast corners like Paddock and Hawthorns out the back and the rest is a perfect mix. We should have a strong package there. Qualifying will be tough I think, but I’ll put my best foot forward and try to enjoy the weekend as well. We’ve got to seize the moment.

“I go out hunting number four. It’s a nice target to aim for but I fully expect it to be a tough ride. I’ll continue to work harder and I’m going to give it absolutely everything.”

Turkington is looking to take his fourth title this weekend.

Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish has enjoyed a season of great consistency after a tricky opening six races of the season – failing to score a podium finish. Since then, Cammish has stood on the podium 12 times, including one race win in the third race of the day at Thruxton in August.

Cammish goes into the final race weekend of the season just 16 points behind Northern Irishman Turkington and sits second in the standing’s as he eyes up his first BTCC title after winning the Jack Sears Trophy last season.

“It’s not a million miles away, 16 points,” Cammish told the BTCC. “If you’d said that in the middle of the season, I wouldn’t have believed you. The team have been great, I’ve been consistent, and we’ve put up a fight.

“The BMW is the fastest thing out there when it’s like-for-like – they’ve done a fantastic job. They’re still scrambling around though, trying to get the job done. I’ll keep hanging in there and make myself a nuisance.”

Cammish will look to take his first BTCC Championship this weekend.

Team BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan is the most winningest driver in this year’s series with six wins to his name so far. Currently sitting third in the standings, Jordan sits 17 points behind his teammate Turkington and one point adrift of Cammish.

Three non-points scores at Donington Park earlier in the season and another DNF in the third race at Knockhill could arguably prove pivotal in Jordan’s Championship challenge. The 2013 Champion is still searching for a drive for next year after Pirtek announced they would be pulling out of Motorsport at the end of this season’s campaign.

“We’ll go to Brands Hatch ready to fight, recharged and refreshed,” Jordan told the BTCC.

“If I were stood on the outside, I’d want to see a bit of fire from people and as a spectator, that’s what makes it. You can agree and disagree with views and that’s the way it is. We’re not here to make friends, we’re here to win Championships. If emotions boil over or whatever, that’s all part of it. I’ve not really got much to plan. All I’m going to do is go there and drive the car quickly and win some races.

“Brands GP is fantastic and finals day is always very atmospheric with a great crowd and great racing. It’s a fitting place for it. I’d love to win it.”

Jordan will want to take his second BTCC title this weekend.

BTC Racing’s Josh Cook sits fourth in the Championship standings heading to the Brands Hatch GP circuit this weekend and is 34 points behind Turkington in the title race. Cook is also in with a shot at the Independent driver’s Championship this weekend and leads Rory Butcher by 22 points.

“The gap’s 34 points, which is frustrating but leaves me with a bit of an outside chance,” admitted Cook.

“I’ll be getting my elbows out like everybody else has this weekend. My eyes are solely on the Drivers’ standings at the minute. I know the team are keeping their eyes on the Independent Teams’ and Independent Drivers’ Championships, but I think we’re doing okay overall.”

BTC Racing sit second in the Independent Teams Championship, just four points behind the AmD Tuning/RCIB Insurance Racing cars of Butcher and Mike Bushell (who continues to fill in for the absent Sam Tordoff).

“We’ve seen what happened at Silverstone with Tom Ingram getting two wins,” continued Cook.

“I’m not just a mathematical option at the minute. I’m still in with a good shout. We’d have to have a stonking weekend and rely on others having a bit of bad luck, but we’ve got two cars in this team that went well around Brands last year, so we’ve got to make the most of it.

“We’ve learned a lot but ultimately Brands is a new weekend and a fresh start again. It’s going to be one hell of a showdown.”

Cook will have a busy weekend as he battles it out for three trophies.

Tom Ingram has enjoyed his first full campaign as a fully-fledged manufacturer backed driver. The new Toyota Corolla has improved race on race and has helped Ingram to four race wins this season, with two of them coming last time out at Silverstone.

Ingram sits fifth in the Championship standings, 61 points adrift of Championship pace setter Turkington.

“Given where we were back at the start of 2019, I’m absolutely made up to be heading to Brands GP still in the reckoning for the third year in a row, especially in a series as ultra-competitive as the BTCC,” Ingram told the BTCC website.

“Obviously, we’re rank outsiders given the points situation, but it’s never over until it’s over and we will push right to the very end. I don’t think we’ll be quite as super-quick as we were at Silverstone, but I am confident we’ll be up towards the sharp end again and we’ll certainly come out fighting!

“The development of the new Toyota Corolla was never going to be a five-minute job, but we’ve just been going about our business, quietly getting on with it and learning and understanding more all the time – and that has been reflected in consistent improvements, particularly during the second half of the season.

“We’ve definitely turned a corner over the last few race weekends, and to enter the final event inside the top five in the Championship is something we can be very proud of as a team. We know the areas we want to work on this weekend, and I think we’re in a really exciting position now, with plenty more still to come from the Corolla. We go to Brands all guns blazing and in full-on attack mode, so let’s see where that leaves us when everything shakes out on Sunday afternoon…”

Ingram and his Speedworks Motorsport team have enjoyed getting to grips with their new Toyota Corolla this season.

The Jack Sears Trophy is also set to go down to the wire between Butcher and Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant with just 11 points currently separating the pair.

BMW are arguably favourite’s in the race for the manufacturers title, but Honda sit just 36 points behind in second place.

Halfords Yuasa Racing lead the Team’s standings and sit just 22 points ahead of Team BMW.
It’s set to be a spectacular showdown as Britain’s premier tin-top series enters it’s final and dramatic conclusion. Good luck to all driver’s and teams taking part in this weekend’s action.

By Jordan Hollands.

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