NORTH-EAST'S CROFT CIRCUIT NEXT STOP FOR STARS OF UK'S PREMIER MOTOR RACING SERIES
There is now little more than a week to go before Britain's premier motor racing series - the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship - arrives at the Croft circuit near Darlington (Sunday 20 June) for the three latest races of its exhilarating 2010 season.
The event marks the only time this year that the BTCC - famed for its bumper-to-bumper action and contested by some of the world's top touring car teams and drivers such as Jason Plato and Matt Neal - stops off in the North-East of England.
And that is one of the reasons why Croft, set in North Yorkshire's picturesque countryside, annually attracts one of the BTCC calendar's biggest and most enthusiastic trackside crowds. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the event which is easily accessible from the A1 motorway. Croft also provides fans with some of the best views of any circuit with its huge grass banks that lend themselves to a real picnic atmosphere.
"Sensational value for money"
Furthermore, ticket prices are hugely attractive - just £27.00 per adult and FREE for children aged 15 and under. All pricing includes access into the BTCC Paddock and Pit Lane walkabout autograph session with the BTCC drivers. Tickets can be booked by visiting the www.croftcircuit.co.uk website or by phone on 01325 721815.
"It is sensational value for money," says one of the home favourites, Plato, who hails from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. "Find me another top-line sport where the public can meet the stars of the show in person for a bit of friendly banter and where the kids are let in for free. You can't. You only get this with the BTCC and it's all-day action. I love the Croft crowd and can't wait to meet them. I've won in front of them in the past and would love to do so again this year."
"Close racing & controversy"
Silverline Chevrolet driver Plato, who won the BTCC title in 2001, will arrive at Croft lying second in the standings to long-time rival Neal, who now races for the Honda Racing Team. Plato adds: "Let there be no mistake - Croft is one of the hardest circuits on the calendar. It's got a mixture of everything - high, medium and slow-speed sections - and is very hairy in places. Plus the lay-out of the track always encourages close racing and a bit of controversy. There'll be a few cars going home without wing mirrors on the Sunday night."
Another name the locals will be cheering on is Wallsend's Arthur Forster who's moved his own two-car Forster Motorsport BMW team into the BTCC in 2010. The 42-year-old found out just how tough life in the top-tier of motor sport can be last weekend when both he and his team-mate Martin Depper pranged their cars at the Oulton Park circuit but he's hoping to put that right at Croft.
'Big time' for BTCC newcomer
Forster comments: "I've driven Croft plenty of times but only at smaller club-level events. The BTCC is finally the big time for me and the team and racing in it at Croft is a massive deal for us all. We're still on a huge learning curve but gradually starting to get closer to the front-running pace and who knows, with the unpredictable nature of the BTCC, there might even be a first championship point."
Croft's big race day on Sunday 20 June includes three headline BTCC races, supported by the Ginetta G50, Ginetta Junior, Porsche Carrera Cup, Renault Clio Cup and Formula Renault single-seater championships that offer the very best in sportscar, saloon and single-seater action in the country.