HIGH-SPEED NORFOLK TRACK NEXT STOP FOR UK's PREMIER MOTOR RACING CHAMPIONSHIP The countdown has begun: there are now just over two weeks to go before the UK's premier motor racing series - the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship - roars...
HIGH-SPEED NORFOLK TRACK NEXT STOP FOR UK's PREMIER MOTOR RACING CHAMPIONSHIP
The countdown has begun: there are now just over two weeks to go before the UK's premier motor racing series - the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship - roars into East Anglia for its latest round at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on Sunday 2 August.
The event, being broadcast live across the nation by ITV, is expected to draw a crowd of tens of thousands from all over the region. And with free admission for children, plenty of off-track entertainment and easy access from the A11 dual carriageway it is sure to be a huge hit with families. Indeed, the fixture makes for one of the area's biggest sports and social events of the year.
Currently, five drivers - Colin Turkington, Matt Neal, Fabrizio Giovanardi, Jason Plato and Robert Collard - appear to be the men most likely to win this year's championship. They've started to make a break at the top of the standings and it will be fascinating to see which of their cars - the BMWs of Turkington and Collard, the Vauxhall Vectras of Neal and Giovanardi or the Chevrolet Lacetti of Plato - will come out on top around Snetterton's ultra-fast lay-out where speeds regularly nudge the 150mph mark.
Three races await the BTCC grid at Snetterton and all three will be crucial for Turkington (pictured leading the pack). The Team RAC driver has never won the BTCC title before but currently finds himself holding a commanding 25-point advantage at the top of the table, thanks chiefly to wins in five of the 15 races held so far this season.
However, VXR team-mates Neal and Giovanardi and Racing Silverline's Plato, who have all won the BTCC title previously, will be hoping to kick start the second half of their seasons with victories as they attempt to claw back the gap to Turkington. Giovanardi, third in the standings, was fastest in the recent test at Snetterton, although many predict that fourth-placed Plato's Chevrolet could be best-suited to the two long straights that make up half the circuit's distance. Collard, in fifth, can never be discounted in his Airwaves BMW - he has won twice already this year.
In fact there have been two other winners as well - James Thompson (like Neal and Giovanardi also a former champion) in his Team Dynamics Honda Civic and Mat Jackson in his Silverline Chevrolet in what is emerging as arguably the hardest-fought BTCC season in over a decade. With teams running SEAT Cupras and Ford Focus STs also firmly among the front-runners, there will be plenty of variety for the trackside crowds to enjoy.
While three BTCC races headline the bill of action at Snetterton on 2 August there will be extra value-for-money entertainment from another nine races - from the supporting Ginetta Junior, Ginetta G50, Porsche Carrera, Renault Clio, Formula Renault and guesting Heritage Touring Car categories.
Admission for children aged 12 and under is free while adult tickets cost just GBP 23.00 if booked via the www.snetterton.co.uk website. Admission includes complimentary access to the BTCC race paddock and the Pit Lane Walkabout session when the public is invited into the pit lane to meet the star BTCC drivers for autographs, photos and give-aways.