The Croft circuit in North Yorkshire is among the best in Britain for the public to interact with the star drivers, according to home hero James Thompson who will be racing there this weekend (13-14 June) in round five of the HiQ MSA British...
The Croft circuit in North Yorkshire is among the best in Britain for the public to interact with the star drivers, according to home hero James Thompson who will be racing there this weekend (13-14 June) in round five of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Thompson, who hails from York, will arrive at Croft looking to build on the three wins he's achieved in the last six races in his Team Dynamics Honda Civic. He holds the lap record around the Darlington track and has also won there four times before in his illustrious career in the BTCC.
Indeed, he is one of the most successful names in the 50-year history of what is one of the world's - and certainly Britain's - most popular motor racing series. Since joining the BTCC grid in 1994, Thompson has gone on to clinch two Drivers' titles as well as 36 race wins - a tally bettered by only two other drivers, his great friend and rival Jason Plato and the legendary Andy Rouse.
Thompson said: "Croft is a very personal race track. This is the North East's only major car race event of the year so the people are involved in everything. The crowds are close to what is happening and they certainly make for one of the loudest and friendliest audiences we race in front of during the season.
"Some of that is down to the very accessible nature of the track and the paddock. The public - and that includes families - are able to wonder about quite freely and it all adds up to a really passionate crowd. There are also some really good viewing areas - the BTCC is all about close racing and seeing cars rubbing panels and at Croft you get a great chance to see a lot of that happening."
This weekend will mark the first time that Thompson has raced in front of his home crowd since 2006 - more recently he's been racing in the World Touring Car series. But he is hopeful of giving the locals plenty to cheer as he continues his chase of the five drivers currently ahead of him in the BTCC points standings, namely Matt Neal, Colin Turkington, Fabrizio Giovanardi, Jason Plato and Robert Collard.
The 35-year-old added: "Last time out at Oulton Park I was only 12th on the grid but we gradually crept forward during the weekend and got the win in the final race on Sunday. But Croft has been a happy hunting ground for me and this time I think we'll have the raw pace to punch for pole position. I'm not thinking about the championship. I just want to add to my points tally and the best way to do that is with race wins.
"It would be great to one day reach Andy Rouse's record of 60 wins but it's taken me 15 years to get to 36! But if I hang around long enough then who knows... never say never!"
Free Admission for Children
Admission to see the BTCC's latest three races of 2009 at Croft this Sunday 14 June is GBR26.00 per adult and free for children aged 15 and under. Tickets include access to the BTCC race paddock and the specially-organised Pit Lane Walkabout when the public is invited into the pit lane to meet the BTCC's star drivers for autographs, photos and plenty of give-aways.
Adding to the entertainment, there will be a further seven races from the supporting Ginetta, Porsche and Renault championships.