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Thursday, 5 October 2017

BTCC 2017 Season of shocks and surprises

Last weekend Subaru's Ash Sutton was crowned British Touring Car Champion and concluded the end of what was an enticing season. I am not just talking about BTCC, I am talking about ever single category, British F4, Ginetta Juniors, Ginetta GT4, Renault Clio Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup. All had thrilling battles that went throughout the field and to the end of the season.

BTCC 2017 has seen massive highs and the lowest of lows. The lowest point coming at Croft when the cars were qualifying in treacherous conditions leading to a several drivers having to go to hospital. It resulted in Aron Taylor Smith sitting out of Snetterton and Jeff Smith and Luke Davenport being out for the rest of the season due to their sustained injuries. Despite the low at Croft all teams supported each other and Davenport and Smith were always in the back of every team member and fans minds. That is one thing not just BTCC but every category can be proud of, they all look out for everyone, they are one big racing family. If you met a driver from any of the aforementioned categories they would treat you like a friend or a family as they all appreciate the fans.

The highs included Laser Tools Aiden Moffat taking his maiden win at Donington. One that meant everything to them. It appears every achievement is a victory in their eyes. I was sat across from the garage when Moffat put it on the front row at Brands and all the team were waiting and actually teams in the surrounding garages went to say well done. That final weekend was going to get even better for Laser Tools when Moffat got into the lead and scored his second win of the season. He was not the only new race winner this season as James Cole got on the top step of the podium for the first time in his Subaru. With over 10 different race winners throughout the season there is no denying how close the field is and how talented so many of these drivers are.

The grid became a little longer this season when BTC Norlin arrived with their drivers BTCC veteran Dave Newsham and Chris Smiley. They were always in the midfield fighting for their lives and scoring points. Sometimes they had bad luck but there was one particular time in which they had good luck. That luck came at Silverstone where Newsham had an opportunity and he ran with it scoring their maiden podium for the team. If you follow them on social media then you may have seen their big family photo on the podium. It showed them their hard work is paying off and it will continue to as they have a good set up and two determined and skilled drivers. No surprises they have already locked these two in for 2018!

Senna Proctor walked away with the Jack Sears trophy (trophy for the highest finishing rookie). Consistent points finishes in his Power Max car meant Proctor had the most points compared to the other rookies this year. Despite a disappointing last race for the 19 year old it did not damper the day in which he was finally handed the trophy.

Tom Ingram just beat Eurotech's Jack Goff to the Independent title. Goff put himself at the front of the grid several times this season and climbed back onto that top step of the podium. However, Ingram was just that little bit more consistent than Goff and claimed 4 wins this season. The two were neck and neck and this went down to the end. Both driven incredible all season and both deserving but sadly in motorsport there can only be one winner. Saying that both drivers will come back even stronger and determined than ever.

Now lets talk about the main headline in BTCC. Ash Sutton beating Colin Turkington to win the overall championship. They came into the weekend with Sutton ahead by just 10 points. He had 6 wins compared to Turkington's 3. Turkington had been the slightly more consistent of the two but it was not enough in the end. Sutton endured a horrible season opener not scoring a single point but once he got to grips with his car he was always right there and in my eyes became the underdog before ending up the favourite to take the championship. Both optimistic going into Brands Hatch but Sutton was the one who qualified better although it did go down to the last race. It was soon patched up quickly as only a few laps in Turkington had contact with Mat Jackson and limped back to the pits with damage that would end his race and his hope for the championship. However, Turkington has won the championship twice already and will know how much it will mean for Sutton who won it for the very first time.

I could go on and on and on but you get the point. There was everything to play for this year and it was dramatic in so many ways. And that's just British Touring Cars...

I wish the best to all the injured drivers this year and hope they make full recovery for next season and send my congratulations to Ash Sutton, Senna Proctor and Tom Ingram.

If you would like me to do more of these on any of the other categories, Renault Clio Cup, Formula 4, Ginetta Junior, Ginetta GT4 or the Porsche Carrera Cup do let me know and I would be happy to do that.

I am really going to get more into more blog so do let me know what you like to see, what your favourite category is and what drivers you would like to see me interview. I would appreciate any feedback you may have for me.



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