The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is primed and ready for another memorable year after officially launching its 2021 season at Silverstone today (April 22), announcing a capacity 29-car entry list.
After an unprecedented yet entertaining 2020 campaign, which ended with Ashley Sutton clinching the Drivers’ crown for a second time, Britain’s premier motorsport series is set to return with a bumper grid and to its traditional ten round, 30-race format.
Kicking the season off behind closed doors at Thruxton next month, the series will then head to Snetterton, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Knockhill before making a second visit to Thruxton. Visits to Croft, Silverstone and Donington Park will follow before the traditional finale at back at Brands Hatch in late October.
Donning the mantel of defending champion and running the famed number one on his Infiniti Q50, Sutton sticks with Laser Tools Racing for the new season as he bids to retain his titles in both the overall championship and Independents’. Aiden Moffat and Carl Boardley will partner Sutton at the rear-wheel-drive squad.
West Surrey Racing and Team BMW proved to be the closest challengers to Sutton last year and the reigning Teams’ & Manufacturer champions have swelled to three cars once again with Colin Turkington, Tom Oliphant and Stephen Jelley tasked with piloting the 330i M Sport to glory.
It is an all-new line-up at Halfords Racing with Cataclean however with Dan Cammish returning to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and Matt Neal taking a step back from driving duties. Whilst one three-time champion steps back, another returns in the shape of Gordon Shedden as the Scotsman rejoins Team Dynamics to partner Daniel Rowbottom.
Another driver to make a popular return to this grid after a year on the sidelines is Jason Plato. Electing to sit out 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the double champion is back at Power Maxed Car Care Racing in the Vauxhall Astra and gunning to tally his 100th victory in the series. Daniel Lloyd, a race-winner in the BTCC, gets a full-time drive to partner Plato.
Toyota Gazoo Racing UK steps up its BTCC programme this year as it expands to two cars. Rory Butcher fills the void left by Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Motorsport-run Corolla and he is joined by Sam Smelt, who last competed in the series in 2018.
Ingram’s departure from Toyota sparked a frenzy during the off-season and the former Independents’ champion has found a new home at Excelr8 Trade Price Cars. Armed with the Hyundai i30N, Ingram has his tail in the air and is hungry for success. He’s joined at the four-strong squad by Chris Smiley, Jack Butel and former British GT champion Rick Parfitt Jnr.
Elsewhere, Ciceley Motorsport have acquired the services of Tom Chilton to partner Adam Morgan and they have parted ways with the Mercedes Benz A-Class. In its place are a pair of West Surrey Racing-built BMW 330i M Sport’s and hopes are high for the Car Gods-backed outfit.
BTC Racing are another to have high hopes for the season ahead and with good reason as Josh Cook has remained with the team to drive their Honda Civic Type R. Michael Crees, Jack sears Trophy champion last year, has also inked a new deal to stay whilst Jade Edwards will get a full-season after debuting at Silverstone in 2020.
Motorbase Performance and MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square are another two teams to have joined forces over the winter to field a quartet of Ford Focus’, and they will run as Manufacturer/Construtors entrants. Sam Osborne and Andy Neate will run out of the Motorbase side of the garage whilst Jake Hill and Ollie Jackson will do the same for MB Motorsport.