BTCC: 2017 Preview

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The upcoming British Touring Car Championship season is fast approaching with the season launch just under a month away. Let’s take a look at the ones to watch and the rest of the grid for what promises to be another breathtaking season.

Team BMR have so far announced seasoned veteran Jason Plato, James Cole and young gun Ashley Sutton in the Subaru Levorg machines. Sutton, who spent last his first season in the BTCC with MG last year, enjoyed a good run of top ten results including a maiden win at Croft. With more experience and another race winning car means he’ll be on the hunt for more wins in 2017.

Its a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” down at Team Dynamics, as they stick to what they know with Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden at the wheel of the Civic Type R. The team will expect to challenge at the front throughout the season. Meanwhile, Mat Simpson returns in the ex Shedden Civic but this time with support from Dynamics themselves. Expect more improvements from Mat this year.

Eurotech keep Jeff Smith at the wheel of one of their Civic’s but with a change of teammate, with Jack Goff joining the team from WSR. Regular top tens should be the target for the drivers in already proven machinery.

It’s all change at Triple Eight as they’ve recruited impressive youngster Dan Lloyd and Aron Taylor-Smith to pilot the MG6’s. Lloyd impressed last season during his brief time at Eurotech and a full season in a proven car should ensure people see his full potential. With the experience of Taylor-Smith alongside him, we expect these two drivers will be ones to watch out for this season.

Motorbase Performance retain the services of experienced driver Mat Jackson and have brought in Martin Depper and also newcomer, Luke Davenport, in a three car assault on the championship. It will be interesting to see how Luke gets on in his first season in the BTCC, but with Jackson and Depper alongside him, their experience can only help.

Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington have paired up at WSR, in what is currently a very strong line up for the team, with one seat still yet to be filled. Expect to see these two battling it out for wins come the first round. Meanwhile the Toyota pairing of Tom Ingram and Rob Austin look to continue to improve on previous years in the championship. This year could certainly see the breakthrough year for Austin in particular, having spent much of last year getting used to the front wheel drive Avensis. For Ingram, it will be a case of pick up from where he left off, getting regular top 6 finishes and challenging for the independents crown.

Power Maxed Racing are certainly ones to watch after they announced they’d be bringing Vauxhall back into the series with two brand new Astras. Senna Proctor moves up from the Clio Cup and is partnered with an old face of the championship, Tom Chilton. It’ll be very exciting to see how these two get on in brand new machinery. Team HARD retain Jake Hill and Michael Epps for 2017 and have added former Ginetta race winner Will Burns to the line up.

BTC Norlin have Chris Smiley and returnee Dave Newsham behind the wheel of two Chevrolet Cruzes for the season. This will be Smiley’s first full season in the BTCC after only contesting a small part of the campaign last year before moving to the Clio Cup.

Another mover from the Clio Cup is reigning champion Ant Whorton-Eales as he joins Ollie Jackson at AmD. It’s going to be an exciting season for Ant who will be yet another youngster to watch as he takes the battle to the big boys this year. Stephen Jelley returns to the series with Team Parker Racing and Stewart Lines returns with Maximum Motorsport. Jelley will be wanting to remind people of what he’s capable of after some very successful years in the championship in the past. Finally, the Mercedes pair of Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffatt. It should be another great year for the pair as they showed great pace in 2016.

This season’s BTCC has all the ingredients to be another record breaking year. With championship regulars, series returnees and fast youngsters all mixed together to create an exciting grid. Try and pick a winner out of this lot!