Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship set for annual visit to Knockhill
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship makes its annual trip north of the border next weekend (23/24 August) when the most popular motor sport series in the UK arrives at Knockhill.
A festival atmosphere is promised in the build-up to the event and throughout the weekend as one of Scotland’s legendary racing drivers – Jim Clark – is also being remembered. A gaggle of current BTCC cars and some of Clark’s classic machines will kick off proceedings with a must-see crossing over the Forth Road Bridge on Thursday (21 August) before a whole host of features, activities and celebrations continue at Knockhill over the weekend.
A huge partisan crowd will flock to the circuit to see the serious business too as Scotsman Gordon Shedden continues his title fight with current championship leader Colin Turkington.
A total of 31 high-speed touring cars will battle it out in an enthralling triple-header of races around arguably the tightest circuit on the calendar, where action-packed drama is guaranteed.
Story so far: Turkington’s title tilt
Colin Turkington has taken charge of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in recent rounds, but the eBay Motors BMW driver will have a host of rivals ‘knocking’ at the door in Scotland.
The 2009 champion has stood on the podium in nine of the last ten BTCC races, and he’s scored no fewer than a phenomenal five victories in that sequence of results.
Scottish hero Gordon Shedden is the man chasing down Turkington, with the Honda Yuasa Racing driver having extracted every last drop of performance from his new-for-2014 Civic Tourer so far this season. The ‘estate’ style machine has been consistent throughout, if not the outright pace-setter, and there’s every sign that both car and driver are ready to take more victories.
Few could have foreseen the summer period endured by reigning champion Andrew Jordan, who led the title race after the opening events at Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Thruxton. The 25-year-old collected a disappointing points haul in the next two events, but worse was still to come when the Pirtek Racing driver had a high-speed accident during practice last time out at Snetterton.
Exhibiting signs of concussion Jordan was forced to miss qualifying on medical grounds. He contested the first two races in Norfolk but after suffering from severe exhaustion – thought to be as a result of his accident the previous day – he was withdrawn from competing in the final race.
The event at Snetterton belonged to double champion Jason Plato, who reignited his title challenge with a stellar pole position and two commanding victories.
Talking point: Anniversary Celebrations
A convoy and parade of world famous race cars will be driven across the Forth Road Bridge next week (21 August) in a triple celebration ahead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event at Knockhill.
Led by the BTCC’s 2014 Scottish contingent the event kicks off the series’ visit to the Fife circuit, marks the 50th Anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge and at the same time pays homage to Jim Clark’s famous BTCC title win back in 1964. Furthermore Knockhill circuit will be celebrating its own 40th year of motor racing.
The four Scottish based BTCC drivers – Gordon Shedden, Dave Newsham, Glynn Geddie and Aiden Moffat will cross the bridge in their 2014 race cars. Joining the current stars will be double BTCC Champion, John Cleland, who will take the wheel of an iconic Jim Clark machine.
Regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time, Clark incredibly won his BTCC title 50 years ago while he was also the reigning Formula One World Champion! Up to six of Clark’s race cars will be on display next week before also being driven across the bridge alongside the BTCC’s modern flame-spitting tin tops.
Local heroes: Shedden the star of the Scottish quartet
Having won the title in 2012 Honda’s Gordon Shedden is undoubtedly the leading light of the Scottish-based drivers on the grid and he’s also the most likely of the locals to claim a victory on home soil next weekend.
“It’s the one time each year that I get the opportunity to race in front of my home crowd, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make a difference,” said Shedden. “The atmosphere around the circuit is second-to-none. Their support does give you an extra spring in your step and is sometimes capable of making extraordinary things happen.”
With 36 race wins and more than 90 podiums to his name in the BTCC Shedden is busy targeting his second title in three seasons, but he’s not the only local racer who’ll be aiming for success next weekend.
17-year-old Aiden Moffat is the youngest driver in the illustrious history of the BTCC, making his debut at Knockhill just last year. On a steep learning curve in his maiden full season, Moffat will be pleased to be returning to familiar ground. The teenager has contested most of his races in his short career so far around the 1.2mile tight and twisty circuit and he’ll be hopeful of scoring his first points in the big league next weekend.
Glynn Geddie is a proven winner in GT racing, having won the British GT series in 2011 and the Dutch Supercar Championship last season. Now in the cut and thrust of the BTCC for the first time, both he and his United Autosports squad have fared well so far in 2014.
One man who really loves racing at Knockhill is Inverness-based Dave Newsham who took one of his two BTCC victories at the circuit back in 2012. Newsham has experienced mixed fortunes since then but seems to be moving back towards the top order with the AmDTuning.com squad.