BTCC – Autosport International Round Up

Source: Ian Cutting Photography

There was a whole host of British Touring Car Championship announcements made at the annual Autosport International show at the NEC in Birmingham at the weekend which has seen the 2018 grid fill up that little bit more.

Just before the show had got underway, BTC Norlin announced that Chris Smiley would be back to contest another campaign after impressing last year in the Chevrolet and that Dave Newsham would be retiring from motorsport to concentrate on his son’s racing career.

AMD Tuning had resigned Ollie Jackson and partnering him would be Sam Smelt, who had previously raced in the VW Cup and British F4 championships. The team would also announce that they would be expanding their BTCC programme with a deal to take both MG machinery from Triple 8 although drivers for those cars are yet to be announced.

West Surrey Racing announced that they would field an unchanged line up for 2018 as Colin Turkington, Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan would all return to mount another championship challenge.

Eurotech Racing retained Jack Goff after he impressed the team last year and joining him in the line up will be Mat Simpson.

There were no surprises down at Team BMR as reigning champ Ashley Sutton would again be back to try and defend his crown in the Subaru Levorg but as it stands he is the only driver the team have announced for 2018.

Motorbase made the headlines as they are bringing back the RS name to the championship by showing off their 2018 challenger in full livery with Mat Jackson being joined by Tom Chilton for the new season, which is sure to be a competitive package.

Fan favourite Rob Austin returns but in all new machinery as Handy Motorsport have opted to bring back Alfa Romeo to the BTCC, as they unveiled a brand new Giulietta model at the show.

Power Maxed Racing have welcomed back Josh Cook to the team after he moved to pastures new in 2016 and 2017. Cook will be hoping to repeat the same form he showed for the team back in 2015 as he completed a memorable rookie season in the championship.

Team HARD’s ever expanding line up continued at the NEC as they announced Mike Bushell would return to the series alongside Micheal Caine, Jake Hill and Bobby Thompson in the VW Passat CC’s.

With this year being the BTCC’s 60th anniversary, it will no doubt be the biggest year yet for the championship and with some more pieces of the puzzle yet to be put in place, it will be an interesting couple of months between now and media day to see who else will be part of this special anniversary year.