If you’re flicking through your TV channels on Sunday you might see a car carrying the Total Computers logo hurtling around a track, in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) races at Croft. BTCC racing is a world away from Formula 1 (F1) and for those new to it, here’s my beginners guide.
BTCC sits somewhere between rallying and F1. Like rallying BTCC uses heavily modified road cars, and like F1 they race around a track, but with close contact, plenty of overtaking and much shorter races.
The 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) has nine rounds, including well-known venues like Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Donnington Park, as well as less famous circuits like Croft – where this weekend’s seventh round of races takes place.
Each round contains three BTCC races of around half an hour, on the Sunday, along with a host of supporting races. Like F1, Saturday features a qualifying session which determines the grid for Race One. The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order for Race One. But to even things up a little the first ten Race One finishers carry ballast, ranging from 60kg to 6kg in race two and three. And to further add to the unpredictability of the racing, Race Three has a ‘reversed’ grid – with a draw for the top six starting positions among those that finished Race Two in positions six to twelve. So, the twelfth-place driver from Race Two could find themselves starting Race Three in pole position!
BTCC races contain a mixture of manufacturer teams, most notably BMW, and independent teams, like MB Motorsport who’ll be racing under the Total logo at Croft. Drivers and teams contest the overall championships for best driver, team and manufacturer (or constructor), best independent team and driver, categories MB Motorsport competes in, and the Jack Sears Trophy. This recognises the independent driver that achieves the highest total number of positions gained (ie improvement in start to finish position) across all the races in the season – and MB Motorsport’s Sam Osborne is currently in fourth place for the Jack Sears Trophy.
As well as scoring championship points for finishes from first to fifteenth place (see table), there is a bonus point available for pole position (race one), the fastest lap of each race, and to any driver that leads a lap of a race.
So, there’s plenty of action, with races within races, throughout the field.