BTCC: Tourist Trophy preview

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 28/10/96 Menu heads entries for famous Tourist Trophy race 1996 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship runner-up Alain Menu heads the entry list for Sunday's (Nov 3) exciting ...

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 28/10/96

Menu heads entries for famous Tourist Trophy race

1996 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship runner-up Alain Menu heads the entry list for Sunday's (Nov 3) exciting Autosport RAC Tourist Trophy race at Donington Park. The Swiss ace leads a two-car Renault team in the blue riband end-of-season international endurance event which, although a non-championship race, is being run to BTCC rules for Super Touring cars.

Four former British Touring Car Champions will be out to prevent Menu dashing away with the UKP 25,000 winner-take-all prize fund -- not least Will Hoy, the 1991 title holder, who will be making his final appearance as Menu's team-mate in the Renault Laguna. The other Champions in action will be Joachim Winkelhock (1993) for BMW, John Cleland ('95) in his Vauxhall Vectra, and Tim Harvey ('92) for Peugeot.

Featuring a gruelling 80 laps and 156 miles of the super-quick Donington National circuit, Sunday's race will prove a real test of man and machine. Each car will be required to make at least two pit stops for refuelling and fresh tyres, each lasting a minimum of two minutes. BTCC races usually last around half an hour -- but the Donington TT will be three times as long.

Alan Gow, Chief Executive of BTCC organiser TOCA Ltd, believes the TT could throw up some surprises. 'The championship events are sprint races where a good grid position is everything,' he said. 'The TT will favour consistency, good pit work and clever race tactics. I wouldn't like to try to predict a winner...'

Also in action on Sunday will be BTCC regulars John Bintcliffe, who will be flying the flag for champion manufacturer Audi, Kelvin Burt (Volvo) and James Kaye (Honda). Warren Hughes will be making his British touring car debut for the Ford team and there will be first- time UK appearances from promising European drivers Marco Werner (Honda) and Jan Brunstedt (Vauxhall). Eugene O'Brien, who last raced in the BTCC for Peugeot, will campaign a Honda, while privateers Ian Heward and Nigel Smith will drive Vauxhall Cavaliers.

The TT is being filmed for later transmission on the BBC's Grandstand sports programme.

The Tourist Trophy is Britain's oldest and most famous motor race. It was first held in 1905 on the Isle of Man. The first running of the TT in England took place in 1937, appropriately enough at Donington Park. The impressive TT roll call of winners includes such names as Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Caracciola, Charles Rolls, Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Carroll Shelby, Graham Hill, Dennis Hulme, Tom Walkinshaw and Andy Rouse. The most recent winner was current BTCC star Paul Radisich, in 1994.

TIMETABLE Sat Nov 2: 0945-1000, TT untimed practice; 1115-1145, TT 1st qualifying; 1515-1545, TT 2nd qualifying. Sun Nov 3: 0900-0915, TT untimed warm-up; 0925 Historic Racing Saloons; 1000 TVR Tuscan Championship Final; 1040 Formula Renault Sport; 1120 Formula Vauxhall Junior; 1215 Formula Opel Nations Cup; 1300, AUTOSPORT RAC TOURIST TROPHY; 1515, Formula Opel Nations Cup.

-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing

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Series BTCC
Drivers Peter Collins , Joachim Winkelhock , Tim Harvey , Warren Hughes , Stirling Moss , Kelvin Burt , Paul Radisich , Nigel Smith , John Cleland , James Kaye , Andy Rouse , Will Hoy , Alan Gow , Graham Hill , Eugene O'Brien , Ian Heward , Jan Brunstedt , Tazio Nuvolari