Midlands Next Stop For UK's Top Motor Racing Spectacle
The clock is ticking… there are now less than two weeks to go before the UK’s premier motor racing series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, arrives in the Midlands for its annual fixture at the famous Donington Park circuit (Sunday 17 April).
The former Grand Prix venue, just off the M1 and M42/A42 motorways, has a long and exciting association with the BTCC and a bumper crowd is expected at the picturesque, parkland circuit for what will be the track’s most popular motor racing event of the year. Indeed, Donington’s spectating areas are vast meaning the public can view most of the circuit as the very best of the BTCC’s famous panel-scraping action unfolds in front of them.
Race day tickets are still available from as little as £25 per adult from the www.donington-park.co.uk website or by calling the hotline on 0844 873 7343 while admission for children aged 15 and under is FREE. Once through the gate the public, including children, can access the BTCC paddock and rub shoulders with the star drivers and also meet them during a specially organised pit lane autograph session. In addition to the three headline BTCC races, another eight races for the high-profile Ginetta Junior, Ginetta GT Supercup, Porsche Carrera Cup, Formula Renault and Renault Clio Cup are also on the action-packed bill making the event terrific value-for-money entertainment for both die-hard and casual motor sport fans as well as families.
Heading to Donington on 17 April, reigning Champion Jason Plato has stolen an early lead in the BTCC points table thanks to two wins in last Sunday’s first three races of the season at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. But the signs are that at Donington he could struggle to stay on top in his Silverline Chevrolet Cruze as many anticipate the circuit’s swooping, high-speed lay-out could favour his rivals’ turbocharged cars.
Among them are three drivers who will feel very much at home around Donington, namely Matt Neal, Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan. Worcestershire’s Neal, Plato’s arch rival in recent seasons, set new qualifying and race lap records and also achieved a win at Brands Hatch in his Honda Racing Team’s new turbo Civic. Furthermore, the Droitwich racer (pictured) will forever be synonymous with Donington – it was there in 1999 that one of his race wins earned him a pay-out of £250,000!
Jackson, meanwhile, has got his 2011 season off to a flying start. The 29-year-old from Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire was on the podium twice at Brands Hatch in his turbocharged Airwaves Racing Ford Focus and will arrive at Donington as Plato’s closest challenger, a fine second overall in the drivers’ standings.
Lichfield’s Jordan, still only aged 21, will go into his home round eager to make up for the cruel luck that cost him two possible podium results at Brands Hatch having been second fastest only to Neal in qualifying in his Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra – prepared by his family-run Eurotech team in nearby Tamworth.
A record ten different makes of car – Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Proton, SEAT, Toyota, Vauxhall and VW – are entered for this year’s BTCC meaning the Donington crowds will have plenty of variety from which to choose a favourite.