BTCC: 2003 Season preview

BTCC all revved up for 2003. The 2003 Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship today (Wednesday 2nd April) revealed the list of teams and drivers set to do battle in what is expected to be one of the closest title fights in the 46th year...

BTCC all revved up for 2003.

The 2003 Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship today (Wednesday 2nd April) revealed the list of teams and drivers set to do battle in what is expected to be one of the closest title fights in the 46th year of the series.

At the BTCC's annual pre-season Media Day, held at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, the entry list shows reigning champions Vauxhall, competing under the new banner of VX Racing, and race-winning rivals Honda and MG each fielding three-car teams, with a further two from Malaysian manufacturer Proton - podium finishers in their debut BTCC season in 2002.

Six more cars from four privateer teams, Collard Racing, GA Motorsports, Synchro Honda Racing and VLR Ltd - each a contender for the Independents Cup - take the number of Touring class entries to 17 ahead of the opening two rounds at Ireland's Mondello Park on Easter Monday, 21st April.

An equally close scrap for honours in the BTCC's Production class is anticipated. With last year's champions Synchro graduating to the Touring class, the way is open for a new name to capture the champion's trophy, with GA, Edenbridge Racing, Barwell Motorsport and Team Varta fielding seven cars from Alfa Romeo, BMW, Honda and Peugeot.

In 2003, the BTCC will scale new heights in terms of television exposure, with all 20 races being broadcast live to millions of homes across Europe on digital motorsport channel Motors TV. UK terrestrial broadcaster ITV will continue to screen their one-hour BTCC highlights programme on Saturday afternoons a week after each race meeting that, in 2002, attracted close to 10 million viewers.

The BTCC, plus its permanent supporting single-seater and saloon car championships - UK Formula Ford, Formula Renault UK, Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup, and Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain - which, with their full grids, form Britain's highest-profile motor racing package, TOCATour, also have much more to look forward to in 2003.

All will be part of Britain's largest motor racing meeting away from Formula One's British Grand Prix weekend when Brands Hatch hosts a round of America's Champ Car series on 3rd/4th/5th May, as well as rounds three and four of the BTCC. TOCATour will also, for the first time, visit the Rockingham circuit which, with its high grandstands and gladiatorial atmosphere, is expected to attract a mammoth crowd when the venue stages its maiden BTCC race meeting on 20th/21st June.

In addition, the UK's most prestigious single-seater series, the British F3 Championship gripped by Avon Tyres, will make a guest appearance at Donington Park's three-day TOCATour meeting on 5th/6th/7th September. The much-loved Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge will also guest at six meetings, and the Corgi Legends Cars Championship 2003 at five.

"These are very exciting times for the British Touring Car Championship and TOCATour as a whole," said BTCC Series Director Richard West. "I am particularly buoyed by the fact that, despite the difficult economic climate that motor sport in the UK has been going through these past 12 months, our numbers and those in the BTCC's support championships have not only remained constant but also rich in quality.

"Live television coverage from Motors TV is wonderful news, as is the continued support from ITV and our title sponsor Green Flag. The world- famous Hilton hotel group's sponsorship of the BTCC's Independents Cup is a further reflection of the series' commercial appeal and professionalism.

"I am also delighted that this year will see the return of the BTCC's Grid Girls sponsored by Carlube's premium oil brand Triple R - adding further glitz and glamour to the championship.

"Like all the officials, teams, drivers, sponsors and the many thousands of fans attending the races and watching on television, I look forward to a terrific season's racing."

-btcc-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series BTCC