Wow. I still don't I have got over sunday, the last BTCC race weekend of the season and we got a mix of everything. We had a full wet race, a drying track and championships going down to the wire. It was the best way to end the season.
Personally, for me it had the best outcome as I had hoped Ash Sutton would win the championship with Laser Tools Racing. As always, the championship went down to the wire.
Firstly, I want to start off by saying how impressed I am with BTCC. When UK lockdown was announced it was the worst timing for them. However, they spoke to tracks and re-arranged the calendar and to only lose one race weekend is really good going. They left a good few months before planning to start the season and they timed it so well. They thought ahead and thanks to that we have witnessed some brilliant racing.
Things finally kicked off at the start of August at Donington behind close doors. Of course it was a massive shame for fans but we still got to watch it all on TV. I think a lot of people expected BMW's Colin Turkington and Honda's Dan Cammish to be straight in, scoring points and looking to win the championship. However, it became apparent that weekend that Ash Sutton; who moved to join Laser Tools Racing for this season had a lot of pace in his Infiniti Q50. All taking their first wins of the season this first weekend, potentially foreshadowing the championship battle that was to follow?
We also had some new race winners this season. Tom Oliphant in the second BMW taking his maiden win in the series at Brands Hatch. With Andrew Jordan dropping out, it was time for Oliphant to shine. And you know what, I have been impressed, he has really shown he can overtake and also defend like his life depends on it. The best example I have for this is at Silverstone this year. Oliphant battled with Ollie Jackson, he kept that Ford behind for as long as possible. Jackson did get passed but they had a really hard and fair fight before that outcome. This is actually the race that Jackson took his first win in the series. And wow, it did not come easy! And he had a charging Ash Sutton behind him. I feel like Oliphant and Jackson are drivers that could be over-looked and people focus on their teammates (Turkington and Rory Butcher) and these wins have given them more confidence in themselves and they can only improve more from here.
Some standout drivers for me has to be Sutton as mentioned, he joined this team who only had half a season of data on this car and he very quickly had the car where he wanted it. He has tons of experience in RWD which his team-mate Aiden Moffat lacked, and he was able to identify what he wanted adapting and I think it's fair to say Sutton pushes cars to the limit and never wants to settle for less than first which is understandable. I reckon the Infiniti suits his driving style perfectly and that's why he looked comfortable in that car from the start.
Jake Hill joined the new MB Motorsport team that took over from AmD running Honda's. I have followed Hill throughout his time in BTCC and every year he progresses tons. It didn't get off to a great start with five retirements in the first six races due to mechanical issues. Hill was constantly up there during practice sessions and showing the pace and that he was a real threat. During the third round at Oulton, Hill was rewarded with his first podium of the season. The first of the five times he would step on the podium. Becoming the most successful BTCC season for Hill. He finished fifth in the Independent championship and seventh overall. I am very pleased to see Hill and MB Motorsport are continuing together for 2021, they can build on what they started.
Some other noticeable mentions of improved drivers include Tom Ingram and Rory Butcher who had themselves in contention for championship going into last round, they were counted as outsiders but anything can happen in touring cars! Josh Cook continued to impress in his BTC Racing machinery, Moffat looked more comfortable and confident as the season went on and was a regualar point scorer, finish in top ten multiple times with a best finish of fourth at Brands Hatch GP.
With lots of excitement and close racing also comes incidents and we had some scary ones this season. The two biggest ones being Rory Butchers incident at Silverstone. Butcher was fighting for position with Matt Neal and the slightest bit of contact sent Butcher on the grass, into the barriers, do a few rolls before landing upright back on the track. It was a scary thing to watch and we are all so glad Butcher was okay and everyone was able to avoid his car. It really shows how robust these cars are built and Motorbase did so well to get the car ready for the next race weekend as there was so much damage. Trade Price Racing's Bobby Thompson takes the crown for the most flips as I think he rolled six or seven times before landing upside down. Thompson was able to get out and walk away but you got the sense he wasn't 100%. Unfortunately that was it for Thompson and he was out for the last two rounds of the season. He was leading the Jack Sears Trophy as well, so was a massive blow to his season.
There are just so many things that I could discuss. I already cannot wait for 2021! We had great, close racing, surprises, excitement, everything the BTCC constantly delivers.
Ps- I have lots of blog post ideas coming up so keep your eyes peeled!