The British Touring Car Championship comes racing back on the 7th and 8th of April, which means you’ve got plenty of time to book tickets and/or clear your diary (you can find the full season calendar here).
And you should, because this championship, which has been a UK motorsport mainstay since 1958, is quite simply, incredible! Not convinced? Here are ten very good reasons that should sway you!
01 The coverage is amazing
ITV4 does a belting job covering the season, with cameras on every corner filming every last bit of the action. Don’t get us wrong, the atmosphere at the races themselves is amazing, but if you can’t make it, the TV won’t let you down. All the thrills, all the spills and all the grid girls, right in the comfort of your own home.
02 Steve Rider’s pronunciation is hilarious
If you are watching it on the TV, you’ll giggle every time you hear host, Steve Rider, say “touring cars” or in the case of dear old Steve, “te-your-ing cars”. It’s the little things in life that make us smile, and this one of them. Plus, it makes a great drinking game if you’re making day/party of it.
03 Bushell is back!
Mike Bushell has had a dabble in the BTCC before, driving a Ford Focus for AmD Essex. However, his heart was really in the Clio Cup, which he was crowned champion of this year (that’s the second time, as he won it in ’14, too). Now he’s back and ready to make the BTCC his own. Driving for the amusingly named Team Hard, Bushell is going to be one to watch.
04 The are Alfas on the grid for ‘18
Alfa Romeo hasn’t been a part of the BTCC grid for decades. The last one to race in anger was the 155, and since its departure we’ve all deeply missed seeing the Italian stallions on track. 2018 will sort that out though, because Alfa is back with two Guiliettas, one of which will be driven by BTCC loon, Rob Austin.
05 There’s so much action
BTCC is as action-packed from start to finish. These guys wear their hearts on the race suits and as such, they fight and scrap for every overtake, for every lap, for every position. And because a modern BTCC car is a robust thing, they can take a few knocks, ensuring the fights continue, which leads us to...
06 Rubbing is racing
If you’re a BTCC driver and you finish a race with a pristine car, you’re doing something wrong. As Cole Trickle was taught, rubbing is racing, and don’t the BTCC boys know it! These guys will bump, scrape and scratch their way into position. Make no mistake, these cars cost a few quid, but that doesn’t stop them from swapping paint. You don’t get that in Formula 1!
07 It’s a full grid
It’s another year that sees the BTCC start at full capacity. That means there will be 32 cars on the grid at the start of every race. That’s a lot of metal, and when you combine it with points 5 and 6 it makes for some of the most exciting racing in the world.
08 The support races are brilliant
A BTCC event isn’t just about the touring cars. Each event is a full day of racing. You have the Ginettas, the Porsche Carrera Cup and of course, the Clio Cup. And let us be the ones to tell you, every race is brilliant. The Ginetta drivers want to be Clio Cup drivers, the Clio Cup drivers want to be BTCC drivers and the Porsche drivers were BTCC drivers.
09 It can all change in a heartbeat
Points mean prizes, but that means you need to get them, and in the BTCC, that’s hard. You can win a couple of races, but have a few bad ones and you’ll soon tumble down the order. As such, the fight for the championship can change in the matter of a race. And that in itself is what keeps the racing exciting and hard-fought.
10 It is as good as ‘the old days’
Rose-tinted spectacles are not needed. The BTCC of the 1990s was indeed amazing, but so is the modern day stuff. The grid is full, the same tracks are being used and the racing is just as fast, if not faster. BTCC today is as good, if not better than it has ever been, and that’s why you need to watch it.