Let the BTCC battle commence

Friday 26 April 2024

After a six month winter break the rip-roaring Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship roars back into action at Donington Park this weekend. 

While the 2024 grid may be the smallest in recent years, it certainly isn’t lacking star quality with three former champions and no fewer than 13 race winners.  

Moreover, adding to the pre-season intrigue, there is the potential of a record-breaking five time drivers’ title winner, a returning world touring car champion, a significant increase in hybrid boost to ignite the on-track competition plus a new qualifying format to spice up Saturday afternoons. 

Ash Sutton’s all-conquering campaign in 2023 means he is now a four-time champion alongside fellow tin-top idol Colin Turkington – both will be aiming to become the BTCC’s first ever five-time champion come the 30-race season’s culmination at Brands Hatch in early October. 

The duelling duo, though, will face stiff opposition from a star-studded roster of rivals topped by former champion Tom Ingram, proven front-runner Jake Hill and ever-enthusiastic Rob Huff who makes a welcome return from title successes oversees. 

As well as battling each other bumper-to-bumper, all the protagonists will have to master some exciting new rules initiated for 2024.  

In 2022 the BTCC was the first touring car championship to introduce hybrid power both as a handicapping system and to assist overtaking. Now for 2024 the hybrid boost has been doubled – a move which should produce even closer competition by favouring those further down the pecking order who will get more opportunities to deploy the extra energy.  

Additionally the BTCC has reintroduced Goodyear’s option tyre increasing the tactical element to proceedings and instituted a new ‘Quick Six’ qualifying format.  

Creating more theatre, the cars now will be divided into two groups with the fastest six from each progressing into a 12 car shoot-out. In turn, the top six from this fast and furious semi-final session will make the grand finale – a ten-minute dash to determine the top six grid positions. But that’s not the end of the story as, come Sunday’s second encounter, the top ten finishers from the opener will be forced to use the hardest – and, in theory, slowest – available tyre compound thus making successive victories on a weekend even more hard-earned.  

“It has arguably been one of the busiest off-seasons in recent memory with several on-track and off-track innovations and announcements set to bring further excitement to the BTCC,” predicted Alan Gow, BTCC Chief Executive. “We have a grid that is firmly focused on a real depth of quality, with so many potential race winners and an ever-growing number of likely title contenders.  

“These driver announcements from the teams – combined with the new hybrid-turbo boost, qualifying and option tyre regulations – look set to be the perfect recipe for a hugely competitive and entertaining year ahead.” 

Once again all 10 BTCC meetings will be screened live and free on ITV4/ITVX and, in an ground-breaking move, this year’s premier series also will be streamed live around the world via TikTok.