By Mark Rawlinson
The 2013 British Touring Car Championship Season gets underway tomorrow morning at Brands Hatch Circuit in Kent.For those who enjoy watching motorsport for the accidents, incidents and exciting races, BTCC ticks all the boxes.
With around 20 similarly-paced saloon cars tussling for positions from the first corner right to the finish line, the championship is one of the most exciting spectator motorsports in the world.
There are three races on a Sunday at each race weekend, with a total of 30 races during the season, scattered across race circuits within the UK.
Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden goes into the 2013 season as reigning driver’s champion as he secured the title in dramatic circumstances at Brands last October.
After a tightly fought season between himself, Jason Plato and team-mate Matt Neal, he secured his maiden BTCC title in the penultimate race of the championship.
Neal won a rain-sodden first race, closing the gap on Shedden in the standings, but the Scot recovered to win the second race meaning the championship was his.
It could well be those three drivers who are battling one and other for the title this season, as this had been the case during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Plato won in 2010 whilst his greatest rival, Neal, took the 2011 title.
Andrew Jordan was last season’s Independent’s Trophy winner and was also the closest challenger to the main title against Shedden, Neal and Plato.
Since making his BTCC debut as a 19-year-old back in 2008, Jordan has shown great promise and over the past five seasons has carved himself a great reputation in the sport.
He joined the Pirtek Racing Team in 2010 and year-on-year has closed the gap on the top three and could throw a spanner in the works this year as a potential title contender.
Jordan netted nine podium finishes, including one race win, last season and will surely be hoping to challenge for this season’s main title.
BTCC can prove to be a challenging proving ground for any young racing driver and a number of fresh-faced racers will be making their debuts on Sunday.
22-year-old Jack Goff is one of those drivers as he has been given a seat by RCIB Insurance Racing. He’ll drive the team’s Vauxhall Insignia this year after winning the Renault Clio Cup last season, one of the support races for the BTCC series.
James Cole will drive the team’s other car and will also race in BTCC for the first time this weekend. The 24-year-old has previously competed in Formula Ford, British Formula Three and Formula Two.
Andrew Jordan is on pole for the first race of the day tomorrow, which begins at 11:45am, after finishing quickest in Saturday’s qualifying session.
Shedden will start second, MG Racing’s Plato is third whilst Neal is fourth on the grid.
Live coverage of all the day’s racing will be available on ITV4 with the second BTCC race starting at 2:15pm and the third at 5pm.