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INSIDEBTCC.COM issue 2 : sept 2011

PLATO says championship ‘over’ after Scottish nightmare

HONDA CHARGE

Title swings towards Shedden & Neal at Knockhill

BOARDMAN TAKES FIRST BTCC VICTORY

www.insidebtcc.com Inside BTCC  MORE ROCKINGHAM PREVIEW / WIN SIGNED BTCC PRINTS / MUCH PLUS:


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WELCOME... It’s a safe bet that we’ve been delighted with the response to the opening edition of Inside BTCC and now its time for Issue Two as we head to Rockingham for the eighth round of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season. This time around, we take a look back at another dramatic weekend of racing in Scotland after a Knockhill meeting where anything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for championship leader Mat Jackson. His time on top of the standings didn’t last long as one point from the weekend saw him overhauled by both Honda drivers; with Gordon Shedden now the man that the rest are trying to beat. In a detailed look back at the weekend, we tell the story of how the title fight took another swing on a controversial race day which ended with a war of words involving defending champion Jason Plato and first time winner Tom Boardman. Can Shedden maintain his advantage at Rockingham? That’s the question we also ask as we look ahead to rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the season. Amongst our range of features, we discuss what impact Honda’s decision to switch to NGTC for 2012

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will have on the remainder of the field while you can find out what Aron Smith made of his first weekend as a touring car racer in the diary he put together during his outing with Triple Eight in Scotland. We sat down to chat with Plato about his role as a BRDC board director (before his much discussed accident with Tom Boardman) and also found out what needs to be done to get the best out of a lap of Rockingham thanks to Paul O’Neill. With Airwaves Racing adding a third car to the grid, we look at the man who will join Mat Jackson and Liam Griffin on-track and to celebrate the team’s expansion to three cars, we’ve teamed up with Unlap to give away three signed prints of the Motorbase-run Ford Focus . Now its over to you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the second edition of Inside BTCC just as much as the first and if you don’t already follow us on Twitter or ‘Like Us’ on Facebook, then you can find all the details on how to do so within these pages. As was the case after edition one, we also welcome any feedback you may have – we’ll love to hear it. Until next time...

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S T TEN

N O C

IN THIS ISSUE... KNOCKHILL REVIEW

6

KNOCKHILL IN PICTURES

10

ARON SMITH’S DEBUT DIARY

12

WIN SIGNED BTCC PRINTS

17

CAINE FINALLY GETS HIS CHANCE

18

ROCKINGHAM PREVIEW

20

A LAP OF ROCKINGHAM WITH PAUL O’NEILL

24

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

26

RACE RESULTS

28

THE FUTURE IS NOW - HONDA COMMITS TO NGTC

30

PLATO KEEN TO FIND NEXT GENERATION

36

ABOUT INSIDE BTCC... Inside BTCC is an independent publication that is in no way endorsed by, or affiliated to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship or its organisers.

Photos are credit BTCC.NET or PSP IMAGES unless otherwise stated. To get in touch, please email: CONTACT@INSIDEBTCC.COM. Front cover images: Main - Matt Neal & Gordon Shedden at Knockhill; Top right - Plato crashes out of race three; Bottom right - Boardman celebrates race three victory (all BTCC.net).

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Inside BTCC 


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MATT LAMPRELL REPORTS

SHEDDEN ON TOP AT HOME

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Honda star takes a win and claims points lead, but it’s tight at the top

Local hero Gordon Shedden knows his way around the Knockhill track and is always a force to be reckoned with on home turf. This year was no exception as he scored his fourth win of the season as well as a third and a fifth place – enough to put him in charge of the

laptime further before the end.

The weekend started with two wet free practice sessions, topped perhaps unsurprisingly by Shedden. Just behind the Scot in both sessions was Tom Chilton in his Team Aon Ford Focus, reaping the rewards of time spent testing.

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Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson headed to Scotland leading the standings, but scored just a single point at Knockhill – for setting the fastest lap in race two. Two DNFs and a 19th place finish was not what Jackson had hoped for ahead of the weekend.

championship with nine races remaining, albeit by just a single point.

“We worked a lot on slow speed corners”, said Chilton. “We knew we were coming here and it was going to be important, so we made sure we knew how to set the car up around here – and it has really shown.” The showers subsided in time for qualifying, but that didn’t prevent Chilton from showing his speed. In a session that was fragmented by three red flags, Chilton hit the top of the times before the mid-point and went on to improve his

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Knockhill saw Tom Chilton claim his first win of the season and the first for the new ‘global’ Ford Focus, but at the end of the weekend, the title race pendulum swung towards Honda Racing.

Chilton was joined on the front row of the grid by Matt Neal, but it was the second row that came as something of a surprise. An allNGTC row two saw Frank Wrathall start third in the Dynojet Toyota Avensis, ahead of Rob Austin’s Audi A4. Shedden could only manage fifth. On raceday, Chilton’s impressive pace continued. He led away from the line in race one and enjoyed a relatively straightforward run on his way to victory. The gap back to Matt Neal in second was just over two seconds when the safety car came into play in lap eight – the result of Chilton’s teammate Tom Onslow-Cole making contact with Rob Austin and both cars hitting the tyre barriers between Taylor’s and Hislop’s.

Good weekend: Gordon Shedden took a win on home turf and heads to Rockingham with the championship lead.

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Tom Boardman was quick all weekend in the turbo-powered SEAT and claimed his maiden victory in race three.

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Dzenis/PSP Still/PSP Dzenis/PSP The second race started as the first had ended, with Chilton out front and Neal concentrating on keeping Shedden behind. But, now with 45kg of ballast on board, it was not quite such plain sailing for Chilton. There were signs that his lead might not be so secure, as the Focus started to slide around the undulating track.

Just as in the first race, the safety car was called into action, this time as a result of Martin Byford hitting the barrier at the Real Radio hairpin. There were 13 laps of the race remaining when racing resumed and it was looking increasingly likely that Chilton was going to struggle at the front. Indeed he did, as Neal piled on the pressure, before eventually ceding the lead on lap 20. Not only did Chilton lose the lead, but Shedden passed him for second at the same time and then Wrathall took third a lap later. Neal led Shedden once again and it was a question of whether the pair would hold

station as in race one or if Shedden could use his intimate knowledge of the track to his advantage. Almost inevitably, Shedden was able to find a way past – his opportunity came at Clark’s on lap 22 and he made the move stick at the first attempt. It was a second 1-2 of the season for the Honda Racing team, ahead of Frank Wrathall in third. After his fourth place finish at Snetterton, it was one better for the Avensis driver, continuing his charge as the lead NGTC driver in the series.

PLATO INTO REVERSE Jason Plato was the beneficiary of the reverse grid pole position for the first time since Brands Hatch in April 2009. Back then he started

in tenth position and lined up with Jonny Adam alongside him. Adam crossed the line first in race three, but was handed a penalty for tapping Plato at Paddock before passing the Chevrolet, which meant Plato took the win. Still/PSP

Behind Chilton, Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden battled it out for second, with the two Honda racers coming a bit too close for comfort at times. However, Neal held on until the chequered flag and the pair mounted the podium either side of Chilton.

Shedden said: “I’m dead chuffed. It’s important to be clean and precise and it just fell my way that time. Tom [Chilton]

Bad weekend: Mat Jackson scored just a single point for fastest lap in race two and dropped from first to third in the championship.

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Jason Plato struggled on raceday and clearly lacked straightline speed vs his turbo-engined rivals. Made his views clear on Twitter at the end of the weekend.

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After a disappointing first couple of races, Jason Plato looked set to redeem his weekend after being handed the reverse grid pole position for the final race of the day. He led off the line, but Tom Boardman, who started second, looked quick in the turbo-powered Seat Leon. Plato held the lead for the first couple of laps, but Boardman was quick along the straights. Such was Boardman’s pace

down the hill and onto the grass on the inside. He kept the Chevrolet pointing forwards but could do nothing to keep it out of the tyres. Plato’s frustration was evident as he slammed the door of his Chevrolet before trudging back to the pits. Speaking after his early exit from the race, Plato described his championship challenge as being ‘over’, especially as he expects the season finale at Silverstone to

suit the turbocharged NGTC engines. While not mathematically out of the race, making up a 35-point deficit will be tough for Plato. While the safety car was on track to allow the recovery of Plato’s car, Tom Boardman led the race. Having come a long way since his debut in the Production class in 2001, Boardman had his first outright victory firmly in his sights. There was still time for further controversy, though, as the 27-yearold slowed the pace at the restart. Boardman reduced his speed heading towards the hairpin as the safety car was due to peel off left into the pitlane. The slow speed was enough to cause confusion behind. The biggest casualty was debutant Aron Smith, who hit the back of his Triple Eight teammate James Nash. Smith’s Vectra was stranded on track and the safety car was straight back out once again.

Chilton hit the top of the times in part two of the 30minute session, but there was more still to come from the 26-year-old, as he improved his laptime a further three times around the 1.3 mile circuit. It was the first pole position for Team Aon’s Global Ford Focus and the first for Chilton since Donington Park last year. While Chilton claimed pole, with Matt Neal alongside him, there was another season’s best on the second row. Dynojet’s Frank Wrathall clinched third in his

Inside BTCC 

It was a delighted Boardman that took to the top step of the podium after race three, but his involvement in Plato’s demise and the safety car restart could still bring a revised result when officials investigate at Rockingham.

championship table on 182 points, just one point ahead of Honda Racing teammate Matt Neal. Mat Jackson drops to third after his disastrous weekend, on 159, while Jason Plato sits fourth on 147 points. With more than 150 points still up for grabs, there is plenty to race for in the final nine races of the season, but the momentum appears to be with Honda. A strong performance at Rockingham will be crucial for Jackson or Plato if either is to remain in contention into the final few races.

Shedden’s 32-point haul leaves him sitting pretty at the top of the

When the race eventually resumed, Boardman led from

CHILTON TAKES POLE AS NGTC CARS STAR IN QUALIFYING It was a first pole of the year for Team Aon as Tom Chilton flew over the Knockhill kerbs on his way to a best lap of 53.038 seconds. A stop-start session, with three red flags caused by John George, Andy Neate and Paul O’Neill made it tough for any of the drivers to find a rhythm.

Collard and Wrathall. Rob Collard, who took his first BTCC victory at Knockhill in 2005, chased Boardman for the remainder of the race, but his efforts went unrewarded. Boardman held on and was first across the line when the chequered flag fell after 27 laps. Collard finished second, with Wrathall third.

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that he touched the back of Plato’s Cruze heading along the start-finish straight at the start of lap four. A second tap heading round the right-hander was enough to send Plato sliding

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had a few lurid slides all over the place, so it was just a matter of time before we got past him. Then I was able to knick through and take the lead from Matt [Neal].”

Toyota Avensis – the best performance so far for a ‘Next Generation Touring Car’. He was joined on row two by the equally impressive Rob Austin.

QUALIFYING TOP TEN: 1 Chilton 52.999 (S2000 chassis/NGTC engine); 2 Neal +0.202 (S2000/NGTC); 3 Wrathall + 0.223 (NGTC/ NGTC); 4 Austin +0.228 (NGTC/NGTC); 5 Shedden +0.299 (S2000/NGTC); 6 Plato +0.339 (S2000/S2000); 7 Jackson +0.378 (S2000/ NGTC); 8 MacDowall +0.423 (S2000/S2000); 9 OnslowCole +0.473 (NGTC/S2000); 10 Collard +0.581 (S2000/ S2000).

RACE RESULTS - TOP 10s RACE ONE TOP TEN: 1 Chilton 27 laps, 27:02.441 (S2000/NGTC); 2 Neal +6.341 (S2000/NGTC); 3 Shedden + 6.937 (S2000/ NGTC); 4 Wrathall +7.281 (NGTC/NGTC); 5 Collard +8.278 (S2000/S2000); 6 Nash +12.043 (S2000/ NGTC); 7 Plato +13.925 (S2000/S2000); 8 Boardman + 15.431 (S2000/NGTC); 9 Jordan +15.952 (S2000/ NGTC); 10 A. Smith +19.306 (S2000/NGTC). Fastest lap: Tom Chilton – 53.450 (lap 15). Independent winner: Tom Chilton. RACE TWO TOP TEN: 1 Shedden 27 laps, 25:41.710 (S2000/NGTC); 2 Neal +0.804 (S2000/NGTC); 3 Wrathall +1.126 (NGTC/ NGTC); 4 Chilton +2.797 (S2000/NGTC); 5 Collard +2.865 (S2000/S2000); 6 Boardman +4.629 (S2000/

NGTC); 7 Plato + 8.557 (S2000/S2000); 8 Nash +9.217 (S2000/NGTC); 9 Jordan +10.153 (S2000/NGTC); 10 Foster +13.033 (S2000/ S2000). Fastest lap: Mat Jackson – 53.682 (lap 6). Independent winner: Frank Wrathall. RACE THREE TOP TEN: 1 Boardman 27 laps, 26:09.236 (S2000/NGTC); 2 Collard + 0.197 (S2000/ S2000); 3 Wrathall + 3.237 (NGTC/NGTC); 4 Neal +6.755 (S2000/NGTC); 5 Shedden +7.007 (S2000/NGTC); 6 Chilton + 7.751 (S2000/ NGTC); 8 Onslow-Cole + 10.486 (S2000/NGTC); 9 Foster + 10.646 (S2000/ S2000); 10 MacDowall +10.997(S2000/S2000). Fastest lap: Wrathall – 53.598 (lap 10). Independent winner: Tom Boardman.

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LAP BY LAP - HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED RACE ONE Lap 1: Chilton leads away from the line. Early contact for Wrathall and Shedden, but both continue. MacDowall slides wide. Lap 2: Shedden passes Austin for third. Wrathall also passes Austin at the hairpin to go fourth. Lap 3: Jackson takes fifth from Austin. Lap 4: Onslow-Cole tries a move on Plato around the outside at the hairpin. Plato initially holds station but Onslow-Cole powers past along straight. Lap 7: Contact between Austin and Onslow-Cole puts both out of the race. Contact with the tyre barriers between Clark’s and Hislop’s. Contact between Austin and Onslow-Cole at Clark’s brings out the safety car. Lap 15: Racing resumes after six laps behind safety car. Lap 16: Nash passes www.insidebtcc.com

Boardman at Seat Curve for eighth. Shedden closes on Neal. Lap 17: Byford slows with accident damage. Lap 18: Shedden continues to chase Neal. Newsham runs through the gravel after contact with Neate and Jeff Smith at the hairpin. Lap 21: Second to sixth place runners all together, with Plato, Collard and Nash closing. Lap 22: Collard passes Plato for seventh. Lap 23: Front-right puncture puts Jackson off at hairpin. Lap 24: Collard closes on Wrathall. Lap 27: Chilton takes chequered flag ahead of Neal and Shedden. RACE TWO Lap 1: Chilton leads away from the line, in front of Neal and Shedden. Collard passes Wrathall, but the Toyota driver keeps

the pressure on the BMW. Lap 2: MacDowall off at Scotsman after contact with Neate. Lap 3: Boardman pressurises Plato. Aron Smith passes Foster. Lap 5: Jackson up to 14th from back of the grid. Lap 6: Shedden chases Neal for second. Lap 7: Plato closes on Collard for fifth. Jackson retires with broken wheel. Lap 8: Chilton’s lead reduces after sideways slide at Clark’s. Lap 9: Battle between Boardman, Plato and Nash sees Boardman move up to sixth. Lap 11: Byford off at hairpin into barrier, bringing safety car period. Lap 15: Restart. Lap 19: Chilton sideways once again, showing signs of strain at the front. Lap 20: Another slide from Chilton and this time it’s enough to let Neal and Shedden past

into first and second respectively. Lap 21: Wrathall passes Chilton for third. Lap 24: Collard closes on Chilton in fourth. Lap 27: Plato under pressure from Nash. Shedden wins, leading Honda Racing 1-2. RACE THREE Lap 1: Plato slow off the line, but leads into turn on, from Boardman, Collard and Chilton. Lap 2: O’Neill retires with broken gear lever. Lap 4: Boardman taps Plato heading into Seat Curve, and again in the corner. Plato spins off into the tyre barrier. Boardman leads the race. Lap 5: Safety car deployed. Lap 7: Attempted restart, but safety car straight back out when Boardman backs the pack up, causing contact down the order. Neal hits Wrathall, Newsham avoids pack

by running off track at hairpin. Aron Smith hits Nash and retires. Lap 10: Race restarts successfully. Boardman leads from Collard, Chilton and Wrathall. Lap 11: Wrathall chases Chilton. Lap 13: Neal and Wrathall both pass Chilton for third and fourth. Lap 14: Jackson up to 14th from back of the pack, closing next on Chilton. Lap 17: Wrathall closing on Collard in second. Lap 19: Shedden puts Neal under pressure. Lap 22: Jackson taps Chilton, who taps Shedden, who taps Neal. Jackson’s Focus suffers damaged wiring loom and retires for the third time in as many races. Lap 24: Collard pushes on at the front, chasing leader Boardman. Lap 27: Pressure from Collard on Boardman, but the Seat driver hangs on for his first BTCC win. Inside BTCC 


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KNOCKHILL IN PICTURES

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MICHAEL MOORE MP, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SCOTLAND, VISITED KNOCKHILL FOR SATURDAY’S QUALIFYING SESSION

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ANDY NEATE FOUND THE GRAVEL TWICE ON SATURDAY

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NEW KERBS MEANT TWOWHEELED ACTION APLENTY

SHEDDEN’S BIG IN SCOTLAND... Inside BTCC 10

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JACKSON WILL REMEMBER KNOCKHILL FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS! www.insidebtcc.com

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PLATO WAS ALL SMILES AHEAD OF RACE THREE, BUT NOT AFTERWARDS...

Inside BTCC 11


INSIDE BTCC JOINED ARON SMITH FOR HIS FIRST BTCC WEEKEND

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or the second season in a row, a driver named Smith chose Knockhill to make his BTCC debut in a Triple Eight-run Vectra, with Aron Smith following namesake Jeff in choosing the Scottish event to join the grid. Joining title hopeful James Nash for the weekend, Smith kept a diary for Inside BTCC to talk through his weekend behind the wheel… For next year, the BTCC is where I want to be, so getting out in a car at Knockhill rather than sitting at home watching on TV Inside BTCC 12

made perfect sense. Although it will just be a one-off for now because of my Clio Cup commitments, the weekend will give me the chance to learn a bit about touring cars and that knowledge will benefit me next year when the focus will be on scoring points from the outset. Last year, Jeff Smith did a similar thing when he came out at Knockhill in the Vectra and now he’s driving one in the BTCC and has scored points this year. That’s the same aim I have looking forwards; to be part of this grid full-time.

The chance to join Triple Eight is ideal for me because my brother Gavin has raced for them in the past and he knows the team and what they are capable of. It means that, even though it’s my debut, I’m going into the weekend with something of a known quantity and not just taking a step into the unknown. Anyway, down to action… Free Practice 1 – 17th, +2.527secs The first practice session was the first time I’ve driven at Knockhill and the first time

I’ve driven a touring car, so it was all about learning the circuit and just getting a feel for the Vectra. One of the most difficult things, apart from the weather, was building up speed in the car as in the Clio, I know it takes me maybe three laps to just get dialled in. It was interesting to see the difference in speed compared to what I’m used to, especially through the corners, but I felt comfortable and we were able to make a few changes to suit me. You’d think the rain would be bad for my first time in the car, but it might actually have helped me as you have www.insidebtcc.com

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DEBUTANT’S DIARY


ARON SMITH to keep your wits about you when its like that to make sure you keep the car on the circuit. Another wet session in FP2 might help me! Free Practice 2 – 15th, +1.487secs It was wet again in the second session and it was still difficult for me to find the limits of the car. I did run wide at one point which didn’t help me either. It’s still difficult to know when to really push with the tyres as you only have a small window when they are at their best; maybe one lap where you have to nail it before they start to go off. That’s something I’m not used to in the Clio. In the Vectra, you really have to push from the moment you go out and build up to a quick lap. That’s the positive thing to take away from the second session; that knowledge of getting the best from the tyres. Qualifying – 15th, +0.829secs My first qualifying session was really difficult as there were three red flags that kept stopping the session. On one of them, I’d gone green in the first two sectors and then the session was stopped before I was able to complete the lap. Again, the tyres were the main thing I have learned about as I’m used to going out in the Clios and doing a long run during qualifying,

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whereas here, you only do a few laps and then come in and change tyres to try and get the best time you can from that small window when they are really at their best. Overall, I’m a bit disappointed with the result, but I’m happy with the time I set. I’m only a tenth of a second slower than James and two-tenths behind Andrew Jordan; and neither of them are a mug behind the wheel. Overall, I’m going into race day felling like I have already improved as a driver. It’s just little things like having my own personal engineer (in the Clios we have an engineer who oversees the team) and having a radio in the car to talk to the team. That’s something I’m not used to and that little extra attention really helps. I’ve spent a day with a top team in a top car that has won races, but there is still more to come. Race 1 – 10th, +19.306secs The plan for the first race was really just to move forwards and if any gaps appeared in front of me, I planned to take them. The pace was good throughout the race and I was delighted to score a point for tenth place; I really didn’t think that would be possible in my very first race. Overall, I was hoping to get into the top ten before the end of the weekend but doing it in race one was a great start.

After qualifying, it was only my second time out on track with slick tyres so I was still learning about the tyres and how to manage them as that was the longest race I’ve done so far in my career. Racing with, and passing, someone like Paul O’Neill was fantastic as I used to watch him from the side of the circuit myself! Race 2 – 13th, +16.505secs I think that one was what you would call a classic touring car race! The outright pace I showed was much better than in the first race and I was able to keep up with Jason Plato, which is amazing in just my second race. He’s got two titles to his name! Unfortunately I got myself

The final race was going well and I’d made up two places in the first few laps to sit eleventh and I’m sure I had the pace to get back into the top ten and add to my points finish in race one. Then, the Safety Car came out and – to be honest – I think my dog could have done a better job of controlling the restart than the guy at the front did. He is meant to control the field so when he went, we all went behind him and then he stopped. It was like the parting of the sea in front of me as suddenly there were cars going left and right off the circuit and even though I jumped on the brakes, I just had nowhere to go. Retiring because of an incident like that is disappointing, but even more so when the guy I hit was my team-mate.

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GUIDES US THROUGH HIS KNOCKHILL BTCC DEBUT

involved in a battle with Tom Onslow-Cole and there was contact at the hairpin, which meant I lost a load of places and it prevented me from matching my tenth place in race one. However, I’d have been a fool to think something like that wouldn’t happen at some point during the weekend. I’m still happy with the result as I showed strong pace for my second race in the car and I was competing with people who have a lot more experience than I have. Race 3 - DNF

Overall, although the weekend didn’t finish in the way I would have liked, I think it’s been a success. I feel I’ve done a good job behind the wheel and have learned a lot from working with the team, and I can only continue to get better with time. My focus for the remainder of the season is now going to be back on the Clio Cup and I hope that I’ll be able to clinch the title in the final rounds of the season and work on putting the budget in place to make sure I’m part of the BTCC next year.

Inside BTCC 13


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Inside BTCC 16

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D E N T G I N I S R N P I W AVES UNLAP W H R I T I A W

If you’re a regular Twitter user, then chances are you’ll have come across Unlap – the online store selling a range of motorsport related products including t-shirts, mugs and keyrings - at some point or another. If you aren’t familiar with Luke Pollard and his work, you can check www. unlap.co.uk or you could simply enter our competition to be in with a chance of picking up some of the artwork available on the site. We’ve got three signed, limited edition prints of Mat Jackson’s Airwaves Racing Ford Focus to give away. One lucky winner will win a large A3 size print while two runners-up will receive a smaller A5 version of the image you can see right here in front of your eyes. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer the following simple question (which shouldn’t be hard if you read through this edition of Inside BTCC). Who has been named as the third Airwaves Racing driver alongside Mat Jackson and Liam Griffin? A: Steven Kane B: Michael Caine C: Jonathan Adam To enter, simply e-mail your answer along with your name, address and a contact telephone number to us on contact@insidebtcc.com Entries will close on Monday 26 September, with the winners being informed shortly afterwards. Good luck!

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Inside BTCC 17


CAINE FINALLY GETS HIS CHANCE

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PORSCHE STAR STEPS UP TO BTCC WITH MOTORBASE

BY MATT SALISBURY It’s something he didn’t expect to happen, but this weekend Michael Caine will join the list of names to have competed in the BTCC when he joins the grid in a third Ford Focus run by the Airwaves Racing team. The 42-year-old is no stranger to touring car CAINE’S RACING RECORD: Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2010: 2nd 2009: 4th 2008: 2nd 2007: 4th 2006: 6th Caine contested British GT and at Le Mans before joining the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in 2006. Most memorable racing moment: First ever race behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Scirroco in 1994 and the 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours, driving for TVR factory team.

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fans having raced in the supporting Porsche Carrera Cup since 2006. Over the years, he’s never finished lower than sixth in the standings and has twice been runner-up – in both 2008 and 2010. Although regarded as one of the jokers of the paddock, Caine has proven himself to be a highly serious and quick driver on track over the years having made his debut as racing debut as long ago as 1994. From there, he went on to take honours in the hugely competitive TVR Tuscan series back in 2000 and competed in the famed Le Mans 24 Hours for the factory TVR team in 2004 – taking eighth in the GT class alongside Bob Berridge and Chris Stockton in a Tuscan T400R. However, it was in 2004 that he switched to Porsches with a number of races in the British GT Championship before teaming up with Mike Jordan for a full season in 2005 – the pair having

Still/PSP previously been rivals when racing against each other in the TVRs. After a successful season together, Jordan moved into the BTCC with a Honda Integra while Caine inked a deal to join Motorbase Performance for its assault on the Carrera Cup. Sixth in his debut season, Caine then spent two seasons with rival outfit Team Parker before returning to Motorbase in 2009 – where he won a

quarter of the races run over the following two seasons; finishing second to Tim Harvey in the standings last year, the second time he had finished as runner-up. This season however has been a different case altogether for both Caine and Harvey as neither found themselves in title contention; the latter calling time on his programme early to hand his car over to youngster Kieran Vernon.

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‘Taking one for the team’ as the saying goes, Caine offered to stand down from his own drive to give Parish the chance to compete and now his reward has come in the shape of a drive in the BTCC where he will partner Mat Jackson and Liam Griffin the third Airwaves Focus. The decision to put Caine into the third car may come as a surprise to some given his lack of experience of front-wheel drive, and with youngster Jonny Adam having been linked with the role given there are no clashes between now and the end of the season with his commitments in the British GT Championship with the Beechdean Aston Martin team.

Dzenis/PSP

However, given his long-

www.insidebtcc.com

standing relationship with the team, Motorbase chief David Bartrum has had no hesitation in putting Caine into the vacant Ford he previously drove in a race against an ice-cream van at Snetterton. “Michael Caine is the longest serving Motorbase Performance driver so we know him as well as we will ever know any other driver,” he said. “Michael does everything he can for the team; he’s a Motorbase team player through and through and is the perfect team-mate to drive alongside Mat and Liam. “The team and Michael are under no illusions that he’s taking on a particularly tough task at the hardest point of the season but with his personality, he will be a great addition to the BTCC. I know a lot of people want to see him have this chance so I hope that all the fans will give him the support he rightly deserves.”

The man himself is understandably keen to get going this weekend and isn’t planning to just make up the numbers, with a supporting role to be played as Jackson bids for his maiden title.

Motorbase and the sponsors in the correct manner to deliver the results that the team deserve and support Mat and Liam with their challenge for the championship, and in my little way, hopefully enjoy it!”

“It’s an opportunity that I thought would never ever arise and I’m delighted,” he said. “I just hope that I can wear the Airwaves brand with pride and represent

Still/PSP

Caine battled on then gave up his own car at Knockhill last time out, where a testing crash looked set to hit the Pro-Am2 title bid of teammate Steve Parish.

CAINE TESTED THE THIRD AIRWAVES FORD AT BRANDS HATCH LAST WEEK

Inside BTCC 19


BTCC.net

ROCK STARS

WE PREVIEW ROUNDS 22, 23 & 24 AT ROCKINGHAM

Rockingham made its debut on the BTCC schedule back in 2003 but then disappered from the calendar until 2007 – going on to be ever-present in the years that have followed. The unique nature of the circuit, which makes use of the only banked-oval in the UK, provides plenty of challenges for drivers who need to fine a set-up that will work well on the blast round the high-speed turn one but that will also be suited to the challenging infield section.

into a vital phase of the season as he seeks to secure his maiden title. Shedden has won on four occasions this season and is a former winner at Rockingham, having converted pole position into victory in the first race back in 2008. However, a look at the points going into the weekend show how Shedden can’t afford to relax with team-mate Matt Neal breathing down his neck.

As was the case a fortnight ago as the field prepared to head for Scotland, a new name has emerged at the top of the championship standings with Gordon Shedden now the man everyone else is trying to beat.

Neal’s performance at Knockhill, where he finished inside the top four in all three races, was all the more remarkable considering he was still feeling the aftereffects of his hand injury at one of the more psychical venues on the calendar. Neal is the most successful BTCC driver to have competed at Rockingham with four victories to his name; including a double success last year and victory in the very first BTCC race back in 2003.

A brace of podium finishes, including a race two victory, saw the Honda driver move into the championship lead at his home circuit and the Scottish driver now heads

When the Honda pair arrived at Knockhill, they did so chasing down the Ford of Mat Jackson, but the Airwaves Racing man endured his most difficult weekend of the

Inside BTCC 20

BTCC.net

After the title battle took another dramatic twist at Knockhill, the BTCC now heads to Rockingham for the eighth meeting of the campaign at the newest circuit on the calendar.

season in Fife, scoring just one point all weekend; for setting the fastest lap in race two. Being forced off road by Rob Collard in race one was the catalyst for his problems and a double DNF then followed in races two and three. It means Jackson is now 23 points away from the championship lead and a repeat of his lone Rockingham win back in 2008 would go some way towards helping to bring that gap down. Another man keen to rebound from disappointment in Scotland is Jason Plato, the fourth of the four drivers now seen to have a chance of still

taking the title. The Silverline Chevrolet driver looked good to bring the gap to the Honda drivers down when he led race three before being fired off by Tom Boardman’s SEAT at the opening corner. The resultant DNF means the defending champion sits 35 points off the pace and Rockingham is a vital weekend if he is to keep his title hopes alive. Although he has already insisted that his championship dream is over, Plato is a canny operator and will do all he can to try and take his fourth victory at the circuit – knowing that strong results this weekend and at Brands Hatch are vital if he is to www.insidebtcc.com


Outside the top four, Vauxhall pair James Nash and Andrew Jordan have seen their title hopes hit by problems in recent races and will now be more focused on maintaining their positions inside the top

six, while Tom Chilton picked up his first win of the season at Knockhill and makes the trip to Rockingham seeking to add to that success. An outside bet for victory given recent results would be the Toyota of Frank Wrathall, after the Dynojet Racing man secured his first two podium finishes at Knockhill. The leading NGTC driver on the grid is now inside the top twelve in the championship standings and has shown himself to be more than a match for drivers with much more experience of what the

Rockingham RECENT HISTORY

BTCC has to offer.

on ITV.com)

However, Wrathall’s chances of hitting the top step have taken a knock with the news that NGTC cars will run with a 0.05 bar boost reduction and all turbo-powered machines will carry an extra 20kg of ballast

Sunday 18 September

Rockingham BTCC schedule: Saturday 17 September

11.30 – Round 22, 16 laps 12.30-12.55 – Paddock Autograph Session 14.00 – Round 23, 16 laps 16.50 – Round 24, 16 laps All times subject to change. Race day action live on ITV4, ITV4HD and ITV.com from 11.30-18.00

09.25-10.05 – Free Practice 1 12.20-13.0 – Free Practice 2 14.55-15.25 – Qualifying (live

BTCC.net

stand any chance at all of becoming a triple champion on Finals Day at Silverstone. While there is little doubt that the turbo cars will be quick at Rockingham, Plato’s normallyaspirated Cruze should be strong through the infield section where the advantage of the turbo cars isn’t likely to be as great as on the oval.

2010 Pole

Tom Chilton, Ford Focus

Race One

Matt Neal, Honda Civic

Race Two

Jason Plato, Chevrolet Cruze

Race Three

Matt Neal, Honda Civic

2009 Pole

Jason Plato, Chevrolet Lacetti

Race One

Stephen Jelley, BMW 320si

Race Two

Jason Plato, Chevrolet Lacetti

Race Three

Stephen Jelley, BMW 320si

2008 Pole

Gordon Shedden, Honda Civic

Race One

Gordon Shedden, Honda Civic

Race Two

Mat Jackson, BMW 320si

Race Three

Matt Neal, Vauxhall Vectra Darren Turner, SEAT Leon

Race One

Fabrizio Giovanardi, Vauxhall Vectra

Race Two

Fabrizio Giovanardi, Vauxhall Vectra

Race Three

Jason Plato, SEAT Leon

2003 (TWO-RACE FORMAT) Pole

Alan Morrison, Honda Civic Type-R

Race One

Matt Neal, Honda Civic Type-R

Race Two

Yvan Muller, Vauxhall Astra

ROCKINGHAM STATS LENGTH

1.94 miles

2011 RACE LAPS

16

RACE DISTANCE

31.04 miles

LAP RECORD (QUALIFYING)

1m 23.363s (Tom Chilton, 2010)

LAP RECORD (RACE)

1m 24.668s (Jason Plato, 2009)

MOST WINS (1991-)

4 – Matt Neal

www.insidebtcc.com

BTCC.net

Pole

BTCC.net

2007

Inside BTCC 21


TURBO-POWERED GEOFF STEEL BMW FOR FORMER 888 MAN Having missed Knockhill after leaving Triple Eight, Tony Gilham will make his return to the series at Rockingham having inked a deal to rejoin Geoff Steel Racing. Gilham, who raced for the team in the Production S1 Championship, will be at the wheel of a normally aspirated BMW 320si for the Rockingham weekend before switching to a turbo unit for the final rounds of the year. “The BTCC is very addictive and Geoff and I feel there is some unfinished business,” team manager Martyn Bell said. “It’s very important for us to be out there having invested in Motorbase’s 2010 BMWs for this season. “Tony’s car at Rockingham will remain normallyaspirated but will then switch to the Next Generation Touring Car turbo engine for Brands Hatch and Silverstone – turbo-charging is the way forward and we’d actually very much like to run both cars with turbo engines at the last two rounds to showcase them for 2012.” GSR hasn’t appeared on track since Donington Park, where Dave Newsham elected to quit the team to switch to Special Tuning.

Inside BTCC 22

NEWS IN BRIEF KNOCKHILL DECISION DUE A decision on any potential penalties following the final race of the weekend at Knockhill is set to be taken this weekend at Rockingham, where stewards will discuss the controversies that affected proceedings in Scotland. Tom Boardman won the race on the road, taking his maiden BTCC success in the process, but was involved in a collision with Jason Plato while dicing for the lead of the race early on and was then partly responsible for an incident behind the Safety Car, where he backed up the field suddenly going into the final hairpin. That caused a collision in the field behind as drivers who thought the train of cars was picking up speed for the restart suddenly found those in front jumping on their brakes.

Le Mans Series with victory in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Sharing a Lola-Mazda prototype car with Humaid Al Masaood, Kane saw off the challenge of experienced team-mate Guy Smith to pick up his first win in the series in what was only his fifth appearance. Kane had also run right at the front in the previous race at Road America, where he led early on before a radiator issue dropped his car out of contention. “I want to start off thanking everyone in Baltimore for putting on such a great race,” Kane said. “The crowd was great. To me it looks like a great success already. It might be because we won, but this might be my favorite race so far.

KANE ENJOYS SUCCESS STATESIDE

“It was great to come into this series, and in only five circuits - new ones - to win a race,” he said. “This is the first street race for my co-driver, and it shows how much talent he really has and is a testament to his ability driving this car.

Former Motorbase driver Steven Kane picked up his first victory in the American

“I met Humaid at the 24 Hours of Dubai and I knew he had something special. I’ve

Steve Knightley

GILHAM RETURNS been teaching guys for 12 years so I can spot someone who is really talented, and I told him early on; he has it and can go a long way.”

SPECIAL TUNING KEEN TO GO ON Special Tuning Racing says it is keen to continue in the BTCC next year after a report that suggested it was to switch to World Touring Cars. The team looks set to run its two NGTC-engined SEATs again next year but could also run a third car in the WTCC, with a Leon ‘race-prepared to WTCC specification’ at its Lancashire base. “The BTCC remains our priority,” team boss John Boardman said. “Over the course of this season we’ve proved that we’ve got two fast and reliable cars. We are achieving consistent results and are moving higher up in the championship standings and we look forward to improving on this again next year.” Driver Tom Boardman drove in the WTCC in a SUNREDentered SEAT Leon in 2009.

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PSP-IMAGES.CO.UK

All pics: PSP Images

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Inside BTCC 23


AROUND ROCKINGHAM WITH GOMOBILEUK.COM’S PAUL O’NEILL After the tight and twisty confines of Knockhill, the BTCC now heads for Rockingham – the only oval circuit in the UK – for the eighth round of the season.

But how do drivers approach the Corby circuit? Over to GoMobileUK.com with TechSpeed’s Paul O’Neill – a podium finisher at the Rock last year – to find out…

BTCC.net

The circuit provides a distinct challenge for drivers, with the high-speed run round the banked curve at turn one where the smallest of errors

could result in hefty contact with the wall and a twisty infield section where a strong chassis and good set-up is vital for a quick lap.

DEENE

CHAPMAN CURVE GRACELANDS

YENTWOOD

TARZAN

TURN ONE

Inside BTCC 24

www.insidebtcc.com


BTCC.net “When you watch on from the sidelines, turn one might appear to be just flat out but when you are behind the wheel, that isn’t the case. It’s actually really challenging to get right and I’d say it ranks up alongside a corner like Church at Thruxton. If you turn in just a little bit too early then the car could run out wide on the exit and you’re always aware of the fact there is a wall there if you get it wrong. The car doesn’t move around a lot but there is no room for mistake. “From there, we go down to turn two which is a difficult corner as you are going from one of the highest speeds we do all season before braking for a first gear hairpin. There is a change in camber to deal with and also a change in the tarmac which adds to the challenge. You have to brake late and then try and make sure you hit the apex as a good entry is vital to get a good exit onto the following straight.

www.insidebtcc.com

“The next right-hander is a quicker than it looks because there is a large amount of run-off on the exit. The best way to approach the corner is to try and come off the brakes as early as possible to you can so you can carry momentum through the bend onto the little uphill rise that follows. “We then come to the righthander at Chapman which leads into a long left-hand bend that carries us round to Gracelands. This is a part of the circuit where you need a strong chassis as you have the added question of tyres; the front right takes a real hammering round the lefthander so you need to get the set-up right. We’re on full throttle early on here and you can easily lose half a second if you get things wrong – this section can make or break your lap. “In a single-seater, Gracelands can be taken flat out, but for us, it’s a dab on the brakes and drop down a

gear. You can follow the car in front quite easily through here to try and get a run into the hairpin that follows, but you can easily get caught out if you are too close as people will dab the brakes at different points.

that follows. “The final chicane is another funny one as you brake as you turn in to the left-hander but then you are hard on the throttle as you climb back onto the oval to start the long

“In a single-seater, Gracelands can be taken flat out, but for us, it’s a dab on the brakes and drop down a gear. “Tarzan is the hairpin that follows and its quite a funny corner because there are so many different lines that can be taken by the front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive cars. That’s partly because there is so much space on the exit of the corner which means you can almost make a lunge down the inside going into the corner because there is run for two cars to run side-by-side as you come out onto the straight. However, with the next corner being a left-hander, you have to make the decision of whether it’s worth the lunge if you won’t have the line for the bend

run back round to Deene. This weekend it will be all about playing it right through the corner as if there is a turbo right on your tail, you’ll want to think about slowing them up a bit so they are off boost but if there is a gap to the car behind, it will be simply carry as much speed as possible through the final part of the chicane to get a good run over the start/finish line.”

Inside BTCC 25


RACE FOR

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDING DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP

MANUFACTURER/CONSTRUCTOR

1

Gordon Shedden

182

1

Honda/Dynamics

443

2

Matt Neal

181

2

Chevrolet/RML

351

3

Mat Jackson

159

3

Ford/Arena

297

4

Jason Plato

147

5

James Nash

135

6

Andrew Jordan

121

1

Honda Racing

329

7

Tom Chilton

98

2

Silverline Chevrolet

209

8

Rob Collard

91

3

Airwaves Racing

152

9

Alex MacDowall

74

4

Triple Eight/Collins

147

10

Tom Boardman

55

5

Pirtek Racing

132

11

Paul O’Neill

54

6

WSR

122

12

Frank Wrathall

37

7

Team Aon

112

13

Nick Foster

32

8

Special Tuning Racing

58

14

Tom Onslow-Cole

19

9

GoMobileUK.com/Tech-Speed

54

15

Dave Newsham

18

10

Dynojet

28

16

Tony Gilham

12

11

AmD Milltek Racing.com

9

17

Jeff Smith

12

12

Central Group Racing

4

18

Andy Neate

9

13

Rob Austin Racing

1

19

Lea Wood

4

14

Geoff Steel Racing

1

20

Liam Griffin

2

15

Team ES Racing

0

21

Rob Austin

2

16

Speedworks

0

22

Aron Smith

1

17

Welch Automotive

0

23

Dave Pinkney

0

24

John George

0

25

Dan Welch

0

26

Tony Hughes

0

27

Chris James

0

28

Martin Byford

0

29

Shaun Hollamby

0

Inside BTCC 26

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP

www.insidebtcc.com


THE TITLE

GS AFTER 21 OF 30 RACES INDEPENDENT DRIVERS

INDEPENDENT TEAMS

1

Mat Jackson

195

1

Airwaves Racing

204

2

James Nash

190

2

Triple Eight/Collins

203

3

Andrew Jordan

169

3

Pirtek Racing

184

4

Tom Chilton

143

4

Team Aon

167

5

Rob Collard

132

5

WSR

163

6

Paul O’Neill

95

6

GoMobileUK.com/Tech-Speed

119

7

Tom Boardman

80

7

Special Tuning Racing

107

8

Nick Foster

68

8

AmD Milltek Racing.com

45

9

Tom Onslow-Cole

58

9

Dynojet

39

10

Frank Wrathall

55

10

Team ES Racing

28

11

Dave Newsham

52

11

Central Group Racing

27

12

Tony Gilham

42

12

Rob Austin Racing

16

13

Jeff Smith

36

13

Geoff Steel Racing

15

14

Andy Neate

33

14

Welch Automotive

8

15

Lea Wood

11

15

Speedworks

7

16

Rob Austin

8

17

John George

5

18

Liam Griffin

5

19

Aron Smith

5

20

Chris James

2

21

Dave Pinkney

0

22

Dan Welch

0

23

Tony Hughes

0

24

Shaun Hollamby

0

25

Martin Byford

0

www.insidebtcc.com

Inside BTCC 27


THE SEASON

RACE-BY-RACE RESULTS FOR THE 2011 DUNLOP 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

1

1

5

18

DNF

6

DNF

8

1

DNF

7

1

1

3

7

2

1

5

13

DNF

12

11

7

DNF

7

DNS

10

Tom Chilton

3

8

8

4

4

DNF

4

4

DNF

Mat Jackson

4

3

2

5

10

1

6

5

2

Rob Collard

17

9

7

6

5

DNF

12

14

13

Frank Wrathall

R

16

NC

NC

/

/

/

Jason Plato Matt Neal Tom Onslow-Cole

David Pinkney

DNS DNS

DNS DNS DNS

/

/

/

James Nash

2

4

6

3

2

3

8

6

4

Dave Newsham

10

11

11

DNF

15

DNF

/

/

/

Nick Foster

12

14

14

12

DNF

10

15

16

17

5

13

16

9

9

4

10

7

8

10

7

5

9

3

DNF DNF

DNF DNF

DNF DNS DNS

John George

14

15

17

DNF

12

11

17

15

16

Paul O’Neill

7

5

3

8

DNF

8

13

11

14

Tony Gilham

8

10

9

15

8

DNF

11

10

9

Daniel Welch

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

Lea Wood

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

11

12

15

14

11

DNF

16

13

12

DNF

19

21

19

16

DNF

/

/

/

Gordon Shedden

6

2

4

DSQ

6

DNF

1

2

6

Jeff Smith

9

16

13

10

13

5

9

12

11

Liam Griffin

R

18

18

13

DNF

9

14

17

15

Andrew Jordan

16

6

20

2

1

2

3

3

7

Chris James

15

17

19

17

14

12

18

DNF

18

Aron Smith

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

Martin Byford

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

Shaun Hollamby

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

Andy Neate Tony Hughes

BOLD denotes pole position ITALICS denotes fastest lap

Inside BTCC 28

/

/

Tom Boardman

13

/

Rob Austin

Alex MacDowall

DNF DNF

DNF DNS DNF

www.insidebtcc.com


SO FAR

P MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

2

1

11

4

DNF

11

1

3

3

7

7

DNF

8

DNF

4

1

1

7

18

17

4

2

2

4

11

16

DNS

11

10

13

8

8

11

DNF

11

8

17

10

7

7

6

9

9

12

13

1

4

6

DNF

9

1

2

5

1

6

6

1

19

5

3

14

3

2

3

23

10

12

5

5

2

DNF

13

DNF

12

4

3

3

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

DNF

12

16

DNF

NC

DNF

15

DNF

10

4

2

13

8

11

5

5

2

6

6

8

15

12

17

8

19

8

10

10

7

8

15

12

11

6

8

9

13

7

2

13

11

9

11

10

9

3

5

18

14

DNF

8

2

4

5

12

DNF

10

DNF

NC

5

10

DNF DNF DNF DNS DNS

8

6

1

DNF DNF DNF DNF

DNF DNF

14

13

7

DNF

9

14

DNF

12

DNF

12

/

/

/

/

7

11

15

9

15

16 1

17

19

DNF DNS

DNF DNF

DNF DNF DNF

17

DNF DNF

7

5

2

13

14

DNF

12

DNF

13

15

/

/

/

/

/

22

18

19

NC

16

12

16

15

19

DNF

15

18

/

/

/

6

DNF

9

DNF

16

DNF DNF

14

15

14

17

/

/

/

21

DNF DNS

/

/

/

6

2

5

4

6

3

1

7

3

1

5

10

15

DNF

14

11

16

17

16

18

14

DNF DNF

DNF DNF

4

DNF DNF

15

18

DNF

18

DNF

16

17

14

10

4

3

6

3

4

12

9

18

20

DNF DNF DNS DNF DNF

DNF DNF DNF 14

DNS DNF

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

14

DNF

16

/

/

/

17

13

15

/

/

/

www.insidebtcc.com

16

9

9

7

18

17

17

10

13

DNF

DNF DNF DNF /

/

/

Inside BTCC 29


THE FUTURE IS NOW?

Still/PSP

TRANSITION TO NGTC ACCELERATES WITH NEWS OF HONDA’S SWITCH IN 2012

BY MATT SALISBURY It was back in June 2009 that Alan Gow and TOCA announced that the BTCC was to implement a new raft of regulations in an attempt to bring down the everincreasing costs involved in competing in the sport. The Next Generation Touring Car regulations – or NGTC – planned to reduce costs by as much as 50 per cent when they were initially announced, with cars featuring a number of standardised parts to help achieve financial savings. Although NGTC engines were seen on the grid last season, 2011 marks the first time that cars running to the regulations have been permitted in the series – with a number of new teams electing to compete with cars designed to the new regs as they debut in the sport. However, with S2000 machinery able to compete against NGTC cars until 2013 – when performance

Inside BTCC 30

of the Next Generationspec cars will be increased – it was little surprise that none of the established teams decided to build an NGTC car straightaway, with the majority committing to ‘hybrid’ cars; with a NGTCspec engine in an S2000 chassis. When the new season kicked off at Brands Hatch, that appeared to be a wise move as the NGTC cars struggled; with the likes of Dynojet, Speedworks and Rob Austin Racing off the pace through the early stages of the year after a raft of delays affected their programmes. Recent races have seen Dynojet and RAR move closer to the pace – albeit with murmurs of discontent from some in the paddock regarding the boost levels of the NGTC cars – with teams faced with the decision over what to do for next season. What is clear, and has been clear for the outset, is that the NGTC cars are only going to get stronger as time

HONDA’S NEW CIVIC THAT WILL FORM THE BASIS FOR 2012 NGTC ENTRY goes on but what the BTCC really needed was for an established team to commit to the rules. Now that Team Dynamics and Honda have made that commitment, the remainder of the paddock faces a similar decision. The ninth-generation of Honda’s popular Civic model is to form the basis of the NGTC-spec machine, with the announcement made prior to the Knockhill race weekend

coming just weeks before the car was unveiled at the Frankfurt motorshow. The car itself is already in build at Dynamics’ base, with the team keen to have a car on track before the end of the year. A number of parts have already been developed this season – such as the Neil Brown engine – which should mean the Civic is on the pace from the outset when 2012 gets underway.

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“We already have the shell for the first car, and that development car is currently being worked on,” Matt Neal told Inside BTCC. “The good thing is that the engine, gearbox and transmission is being run in the current Civic so we know how strong it is and how it performs; it’s a known quantity to us. A number of the other parts that will be fitted to the car are stock parts inline with the NGTC regulations, which is a key part in bringing down costs. “In terms of running the car, I’d hope we’ll be out before Christmas as we’d like to run the car before the end of the year, even if it just means taking it out for a run at MIRA. “Trust me, we’re building an NGTC car that isn’t going to be beaten by a S2000 machine.”

One leading driver – who has won multiple times in the series – insists that his current team has to switch to NGTC next season if it is to stand any chance of taking the fight to Honda but it remains to be seen if the team in question has the financial clout required to do so. While NGTC will be cheaper in the long-term, any team wanting to make the move now has to face up to the fact the lack of any cars on the second hand market are going to make it an expensive move. One thing that would appear to be all but certain is that none of the front-running teams on the grid will stick with normally-aspirated cars, which have struggled to fight against the turbo cars this season. RML and Chevrolet have made it publically known that

they are considering turbo power next year while West Surrey Racing will no doubt watch with interest to see how Geoff Steel Racing’s turbo-powered BMW performs when it debuts later in the year; as putting turbo engine into its cars could be seen as a more viable option for 2012 unless a manufacturer deal can be struck. Tech-Speed are also highly unlikely to run without a turbo next season but would need to find the finances to switch from a normally-aspirated unit. Previously, it looked like a number of teams would try and get as long out of their S2000 cars as possible while they remained competitive – safe in the knowledge that they would be on the pace until 2013. However, with Honda becoming the first manufacturer to come out and support the new rules, has the future of the BTCC arrived a year ahead of schedule?

KNOCKHILL MARKS ANOTHER STEP FORWARD FOR NGTC RUNNERS At Snetterton, Frank Wrathall took the first Independent victory for a full NGTC-spec car in the BTCC. Heading to Knockhill, improving on that performance looked a tough ask, but Wrathall went on to take his first overall podium in race two, before repeating the performance in race three. BREAKING NEWS BOOST REDUCTION FOR ROCKINGHAM All NGTC cars will run with their turbo boost levels reduced by 0.05 bar at Rockingham this weekend. All NGTC & S2000/NGTC cars will also cary an extra 20kg of ballast.

Dzenis/PSP

It is that final line that has caused worry with rival teams, who are now

concerned that they will struggle to challenge Honda if they don’t take the same route.

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Inside BTCC 31


Still/PSP Inside BTCC 32

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directory a who’s who of btcc on twitter... TEAMS Chevrolet

@RMLgroup @chevroletbtcc

Honda

@hondaracingbtcc

Team Aon

@TeamAON

Airwaves Racing

@Motorbase

WSR

@Official_WSR

Rob Austin Racing

@RobAustinRacing

Triple Eight

@official888race

Geoff Steel Racing

@GeoffSteelBTCC

Special Tuning

@BTCCSTR

Central Group Racing

@teamwoodracing

Speedworks

@SpeedworksMS

Team ES Racing

@teamESracing

AmD Milltek Racing

@AmDessex

Toyota

@ToyotaBTCC

OTHERS Official BTCC

@DunlopBTCC

Inside BTCC

@InsideBTCC

TinTop Tuesday

@TinTopTuesday

Alan Hyde

@AlanHydeStudio

Not Alan Gow

@alan_gow_btcc

Talking Point Broadcasting

@TPBroadcasting

ITV

@ITVtouringcars

Richard John Neill

@richardjneill

Ben Edwards

@bennythebulb

YourRacingCar

@YourRacingCar

eBay BTCC

@eBayMotorsBTCC

Unlap

@unlap

Brands Hatch

@Brands_Hatch

Oulton Park

@Oulton_Park

Snetterton

@SnettertonMSV

Silverstone

@SilverstoneUK

Rockingham

@RockinghamUK

Knockhill

@krcircuit

Croft

@CroftSupporters

Thruxton

@thruxtonracing

www.insidebtcc.com

DRIVERS Jason Plato

@jasonplato

Matt Neal

@MattNealRacing

Tom Chilton

@Tom_ChiltonBTCC

Mat Jackson

@mat_jackson

Tom Onslow-Cole

@tomonslowcole

Frank Wrathall

@frankwrathall

Rob Austin

@RobertoAustini

James Nash

@jamesnashracing

Dave Newsham

@newshamracing

Tom Boardman

@TomBoardmanBTCC

Paul O’Neill

@PaulONeill29

Tony Gilham

@tonygilham

Dan Welch

@WelchMotorsport

Tony Hughes

@TonyHughesBTCC

Gordon Shedden

@gordonshedden

Liam Griffin

@liamgriffinbtcc

Andrew Jordan

@andyjordanbtcc

Chris James

@ChrisJamesBTCC

Martin Byford

@MartinByford

Andy Neate

@AndyNeate

Follow us at... @InsideBTCC

Inside BTCC 33


FROM THE ARCHIVES...

DAVID PINKNEY ROCKINGHAM, 2007 Inside BTCC 34

www.insidebtcc.com


btcc 2011

22, 23 & 24

Rockingham

17 - 18 September

25, 26 & 27

Brands Hatch (GP)

1 - 2 October

28, 29 & 30

Silverstone

15 - 16 October

www.insidebtcc.com

Inside BTCC 35


PLATO KEEN TO FIND NEXT GENERATION DOUBLE BTCC CHAMPION LANDS BRDC ROLE

Still/PSP

BY MATT SALISBURY

J

ason Plato says he is keen to find the next generation of young British talent after securing a role as a board director for the British Racing Drivers Club. The double BTCC champion is one of six people who feature on the board and will now take on an important role in the future direction of the BRDC – and of Silverstone. Plato’s new role with the BRDC sees him take on another role in an already hectic career, with his racing programme with Silverline Chevrolet and TV commitments as host of motoring show, Fifth Gear. However, it’s clear that his new position – and the responsibility that comes with it – is one that Plato is relishing… “As board members, we are responsible for making decisions related to the BRDC

Inside BTCC 36

and regarding Silverstone,” he told Inside BTCC. “I was voted in by fellow members and I’m both honoured and touched to have been given the chance to take up such a role, where I can help to mould and shape the future of Silverstone, by my fellow peers. “It’s certainly an exciting thing for me to be involved with and is a chance to give something back to the sport that has changed my life. “I am the youngest person on the board and I think part of the reason why I was voted on is that I am still racing and therefore am more current and maybe a little bit more aware of what is going on. I might not have the business acumen of some of the other members of the board, but there are other skills that I am able to bring to the table and having a high profile is also beneficial.” As well as dealing with the

British Grand Prix, Plato is keen to make use of his new role to help bring through the next generation of British drivers to follow in the footsteps of F1 championship winners Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Having seen the way in which the WRC has struggled in the UK in recent years after both Colin McRae and Richard Burns left the scene, Plato admits that unearthing fresh talent – such as Force India driver Paul di Resta – is critical for the future “The success of the British Grand Prix is critical for motorsport in this country and it’s vital for the future of the event that we have young drivers coming through,” he says. “Look at the WRC in this country – its been on the decline for some years because there has been no British driver at the top. Also, what happened to the French Grand Prix when there were no French drivers on the grid?

“We have to work hard to find the next Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button. We have Paul di Resta who is a real star in the making but it is vital that we make investments in the future to bring the next generation of driver through. That is one of the main tasks I want to be involved in and I plan to be active in all aspects as we seek to mould the future of motorsport in this country.” As for any queries about how his BRDC commitments will fit into an already hectic schedule, Plato insists that won’t be an issue. “Niki Lauda built and ran an airline while competing in F1,” he said. “If he can do that, then this won’t be a problem!”

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www.silverstonedesignsoluĆ&#x;ons.com

01327 856752

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Inside BTCC 37


Inside BTCC 38

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Inside BTCC - Issue 2  

Issue two of Inside BTCC - an e-mag dedicated to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

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