Two of the biggest and most successful teams in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship have confirmed that they will once again participate in the 2011 season: Triple 8 racing and West Surrey Racing. Triple 8 the most successful team in...
Two of the biggest teams in BTCC confirm for 2011
Two of the biggest and most successful teams in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship have confirmed that they will once again participate in the 2011 season: Triple 8 racing and West Surrey Racing.
Triple 8 the most successful team in the recent BTCC era have confirmed that James Nash will continue to drive for them for the second season. The 25 year-old first tasted the BTCC in a partial season in an RML prepared Chevrolet Lacetti in 2009, wining on the road at Snetterton before having the win taken away from him for on track collision. Last season saw Nash join the series after the opening race and showed great pace at times securing a single podium at Oulton Park; however ultimately was let down on outright pace using the old S2000 engine.
On the official BTCC site it states that no official statement has been made on what car or engine will be used however on Autosport it goes has far as saying that they will once again continue with the Vectra. However they will be switching to TOCA's NGTC Turbo powered engine with Nash saying, "I've never stayed with a team for a second season in all the years I've been racing, but Triple 8 is such a strong team, it was a no-brainer. The switch to the turbo engine will really benefit us. We were down on straightline speed compared to the Eurotech and Pinkney Vectras last year, but I've been told the turbo engine is worth about 15bhp on the S2000, which is very encouraging. I'm aiming for consistent top six finishes in the races and top six in the championship, and of course I'd like to win one."
Meanwhile team boss Ian Harrison said, "James is a really talented driver and I think we only scratched the surface with him last year, I'm delighted he's chosen to stay with us."
An official statement is due shortly also with the announcement of who will drive alongside Nash in a two car attack.
The second team to confirm their participation is WSR who will continue in the BTCC for their 16th consecutive season. Since entering the series back in 1996 WSR have run works cars for Ford, Honda and MG before switching to a BMW in 2007 and winning the title with Colin Turkington in 2009 as an Independent team.
There had been much uncertainty about WSR's future in the series as they had felt that the organisers were pushing out the BMWs with the car being underpowered and ineligible to run one of the new NGTC Turbo powered engines. However in a statement, WSR confirmed that they are to enter in 2011 with as many as 3 BMW's saying, "WSR will run two or potentially three BMW 320si using two-litre normally aspirated engines which are currently being updated. The team expects that these updates, together with further chassis enhancements, will make the BMWs even more competitive."
Team Boss Dick Bennett then went on to say, "We are really looking forward to running the BMWs in the BTCC again this year as they are a very good race car and, with the updates being done for 2011, I know we should be in with a chance. We will be aiming for regular podiums. Robert Collard had a lot of bad luck last year and, when we analysed the season, we should have finished a lot higher. We've had the most reliable cars on the grid for a few years now and will be looking to get points in the bag early on whilst some of the others may be finding their feet with the new NGTC technical regulations."
No news has been made yet on drivers but Rob Collard is expected to stay on as lead driver. Andy Neate who drove for WSR last year has also confirmed that he will once again drive in the BTCC in 2011, yet he is less likely to be again at WSR with some rumours linking him to a drive at Team Aon.
While some teams have just announced their plans, others hit the track for the first time this week with Team Eurotech out at Brands Hatch with double race winner from last year Andrew Jordan and newcomer Jeff Smith. Smith who drove in a one-off deal last year at Knockhill completed 80 laps after recovering from an early spin on a damp track while Jordan completed 70 in their NGTC powered Vauxhall Vectra.
Jordan was testing the new upgraded NGTC engine from TOCA's supplier Swindon and said afterwards, "I'm really pleased with how the day went. It's the first time we've run the TOCA engine with the 2011 updates and it's made a huge difference. The boys at Swindon have really upped their game. We spent the day concentrating on making sure the cooling systems were right and not focusing too much on performance, while Jeff just got himself used to the car. We'll be back for two days next week as well, when we'll have some new chassis bits to test, so that's the time when we'll start looking at performance and making sure that the car is consistently quick out of the box everywhere."
Also on track at Brands Hatch was the new all NGTC car Toyota Avensis as seen driven by James Thompson at last years final event at Brands Hatch with GT race Matt Griffin at the wheel.