As we write this, a day before the Teams are set to arrive at Brands Hatch for the 2020 BTCC season finale, on paper it looks like any normal year, aside from the time of year. At this stage, there are 3 viable contenders for the title, one of these is again an RCIB sponsored driver who at the very least should be walking away with the Indy drivers trophy (ironically, his biggest rival for the Indy is last years champion and ex-RCIB sponsored driver, Rory Butcher), the BMW’s are again very strong and Honda’s are in amongst the mix again too. We dare say Race 3 on Sunday shall again be the deciding race of the season, just as it was last year.
But, this is no ordinary season. Once again, fans will no longer be able to attend the track. Whilst we’ve all been fortunate enough to be able to tiune into ITV4 and sometimes ITV2 to catch all the action, including qualifying, free of charge, regular race goers and drivers alike will agree that there is nothing quite like having real fans trackside cheering their favourite driver and team on. Plus, with Covid having delayed the start of the season, it’s been pushed back into November for it’s finale, and this has meant earlier race starts, with the final race being run in fading light, and certainly a colder track. The last rounds saw track times some 2 seconds a lap down on 2019 times because of the difference in temperature…
So, what can we expect from this weekend? Aside from the first race starting at 10am, meaning fans will need an early night on Saturday if they want to watch with a cuppa without too bleary an eye, the final rounds bring the usual level of anticipation as to who will walk away with the ultimate glory. The duel between RCIB sponsored driver, Ash Sutton and Colin Turkington has kept all race fans glued to the leaderboard all season and neutral fans must have really enjoyed the duel. Dan Cammish has once again roared up the leadserboard and is now a serious contender heading into the final weekend and Tom Ingram has had moments of phenomenal brilliance this season, and when he has a good run, they tend to come in runs of 2 or 3.
Anybody who knows the guy in our corner, Ashley, will know how focused he is. Racing isn’t a hobby, it’s a way of life. His recent ‘finger wagging’ and flashing of lights is perhaps akin to a pro footballer or 1980’s tennis hero whacking the ball into the crowd in frustration but with a DNF after an agressive attempt to gain the points previously, he’s proven he’s not infallable either.
Then there are the cars. The Infiniti, running it’s first full season has proven it’s worth and has been said to be in some circumstances one of the fastest cars on the grid, of course coupled with one of the fastest drivers. But RCIB also of course sponsor the 2 cars in Team Hard which have included Jack Goff and a number of seemingly ever changing ‘wing men’ including Mike Bushell, Oli Brown, Tom-Onslow Cole and on paper at least, Howard Fuller. The Team Hard VW’s of course are bowing out at Brands this weekend after nye on 8 years racing in the series. Whilst ‘onwards and upwards’ is the phrase of the moment, in more than just Motorsport, there shall of course be a nostalgic tear or two shed for the Passats as they cross (hopefully) the finish line for the last time.