Sublime Sutton claims fourth BTCC title in record-breaking style
Ash Sutton has confirmed his lofty position among the touring car racing greats by becoming the youngest-ever four-time Motorsport UK Kwik Fit British Touring Car Champion.
In lifting what many consider to be the biggest title in UK circuit racing, the 29-year-old joins BTCC legends Andy Rouse and Colin Turkington as quadruple champions.
Sutton clinched his record-equalling fourth title with two rounds remaining after the first of two dominant lights-to-flag wins at Brands Hatch’s season finale in front of a huge sun-drenched crowd.
Despite a hybrid-handicapping introduced to penalise success, Sutton has been the man-to-beat all year. In his NAPA Racing UK run Ford Focus ST, he claimed a record matching six pole positions and 12 race wins during the 30-round campaign, and, confirming his mastery, also became the first driver to claim the coveted crown in both rear-wheel and front-wheel-drive machinery.
The only driver to previously score six pole positions in a season was James Thompson in 2003 and the sole racer to take 12 race wins was Alain Menu back in 1997.
That list of records and accolades goes some way to highlighting Sutton’s sublime season, which will surely go down as one of the most successful in the illustrious 65-year history of Britain’s most-watched motorsport championship.
“It feels phenomenal, I don’t know what to say, I genuinely don’t know what to say,” he pronounced after being confirmed as the 2023 champion. “The car has been absolutely mega, I can’t thank NAPA Racing UK enough and everyone that’s involved. Four-time BTCC champion… come on!
“People have spoken about records and that’s great. We always want to keep fighting! But the special bit is being the first driver to claim it in both a front-wheel-drive and a rear-wheel-drive. That was what we were ultimately chasing because I don’t plan to end on four.”
Unsurprisingly, Sutton was chased home all the way by outgoing champion Tom Ingram in his Hyundai i30 N entered by BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8.
BMW ended its 2023 campaign on a high as Jake Hill won the final encounter for Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport to claim third place in the final standings, although the Bavarian marque just fell short in its quest to win an eighth successive Manufacturers’ title.
That honour went to the NAPA Racing UK/Ford outfit, as did the Teams’ title, whilst Josh Cook and his One Motorsport with Starline Racing squad took Independent Drivers’ and Teams’ laurels.
The Jack Sears Trophy – which has been a five-way scrap throughout the year – was eventually won by CarStore Power Maxed Racing’s Andrew Watson in his rookie BTCC season.