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50 days until the BTCC is back at Brands Hatch

Friday, February 16 2018

With just 50 days to go until the opening rounds of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April, the new grid is almost complete, with just a handful of entries yet to be confirmed.

Already the new season is set to be one of the most enticing in years, with several talking points ahead of the Brands Hatch event:

Can Sutton do the double?

Subaru's Ashley Sutton has been the star of the last two seasons, winning the Jack Sears Trophy for rookie drivers in 2016, and following this up with the overall championship last year. But could team-mate Jason Plato, determined to regain his title-chasing status, reassert his authority within the Subaru camp?

Honda's new hot shot

Triple champion Gordon Shedden has moved on to pastures new, leaving multiple champions Honda to nurture new signing Dan Cammish alongside Matt Neal in the new generation Civic Type R. The team took on Shedden as a virtual unknown in 2006, and Cammish brings a dominant pedigree in the support categories comparable to touring car legends Plato and Andy Priaulx, so could he be the story of 2018?

Motorbase's triumphant trio

Kent squad Motorbase has a strong line-up, with returning title-challenger Sam Tordoff alongside BTCC and WTCC race-winner Tom Chilton. The team has been a front-runner for almost a decade - can Motorbase finally lift the title?

BMW out for revenge

After losing out in the final rounds in both 2016 and 17, WSR will surely need to win the title this year, especially with full BMW backing. A retained line-up of Colin Turkington, Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan is one of the best in the business, and with engine reliability surely nailed, will this be their year?

Or can Ingram do it?

Tom Ingram has won the opening rounds in the last two seasons, and last year he used this to good effect, maintaining the title lead until Oulton Park. His efforts were rewarded with the independents' title for him and Speedworks, but after a winter of hard work can the combination challenge the bigger teams for the overall championship?

Will Nash make the BTC Norlin Civics fly?

James Nash won a race in his most recent season in the BTCC, when he drove the ex-works Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra. After a successful stint in WTCC, he's back with the promising BTC Norlin team. The squad took a podium in its debut season with the elderly Chevrolet Cruze, so Nash and the ex-works Civics could be just the tonic.

Will HMS Racing recall the glory days of Alfa Romeo?

Rob Austin will give Alfa Romeo its first BTCC appearance in over a decade when the HMS Racing Guilietta leaves the pitlane for the first practice session on 7 April. What the squad will be aiming for, however, are the glory days of 1994 when Gabriele Tarquini blitzed the field. The team won its first race at Brands Hatch last year, can they keep up the momentum?

Rapid expansion

Ciceley Motorsport, Team HARD and AmDtuning will all expand in 2017. Blackburn's Ciceley will run two Mercedes A-Class cars for Adam Morgan and rookie Tom Oliphant, as well as provide support for the Laser Tools car of Aiden Moffat. The squad needs to make another step to challenge for the title and this could be it. Meanwhile Team HARD aims to impress, and has taken on one of the best engineers in the business to help run four VW CCs for a strong line-up that includes Kent youngsters Jake Hill and Mike Bushell. At AmDtuning, boss Shaun Hollamby has taken on the ex-Triple Eight MGs to run alongside the two Audi S3s, with the MG drivers to be announced shortly. It's an ambitious plan, and it will be fascinating to see how it develops.

For the answer to all of these questions and more, book your place on the spectator banks on 7/8 April when the BTCC is back at Brands Hatch!

Tickets for the BTCC at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April available from £28, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.