With the British Touring Car Championship approaching the grid almost complete after a long winter break of driver swapping and rookies joining, the championship ready for what promises to be a fascinating 2017 season.
BTCC Driver Line Up 2017
The Front Runners
Team Dynamics will once again run with champions Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden who are both going for their fourth title in 2017. They will start off as favorites for this year’s title with the experience and speed in the team. Competitors Subaru will be without two times champion Colin Turkington this year after an announcement that he would not be continuing with the team. This came as a big surprise and leaves Turkington without a drive at the current time. Instead, the young prospect Ash Sutton will be moving from MG to BMR to race alongside Jason Plato and James Cole. Sutton will be looking to win consistently and push for the title after an impressive season in 2016. The fourth car has no driver yet as team boss Warren Scott is still to decide whether he will race.
West Surrey Racing have only announced one driver: Andrew Jordan who is taking his Pirtek sponsorship to the BMW team after a difficult season last year. With Tordoff no longer racing there are two spaces left. Rob Collard, who is without a drive, could fill one of them, as well as the possible the return of Turkington after his Subaru adventure.
Those are the three teams who will be in the title race from the start but the grid is very strong this year so there are lots of other teams and drivers ready to challenge them. Firstly, young drivers Aiden Moffat, Adam Morgan, and Tom Ingram will all be continuing with their respected teams of Laser Tools, Ciceley Racing and Speedworks and should all be fighting for wins and podiums. With drivers Cook and Sutton departing from MG, they have an all new line up in the form of Aron Taylor Smith and Daniel Lloyd.
Power Maxed Racing released one of the biggest stories of the winter with the news that they would be bringing back Vauxhall as a manufacturer. Not only that but a return for a long standing BTCC fan favourite Tom Chilton will also be returning to the series since leaving in 2011 teaming up with Senna Proctor. Proctor has impressed in Clio’s and will be one to watch on the grid. Eurotech are also returning in the Honda Civic with Jeff Smith and Jack Goff. Goff will be hoping for a better year this season than this last with WSR. Mat Jackson will once again be returning with the Motorbase Performance team, looking for his first title and will be driving alongside Luke Davenport and Martin Depper. They both join the team after the team introduced a third car.
Handy Motorsport will return with fan favourite Rob Austin. Team Parker Racing will aslo have another returning driver in Stephen Jelley who has not been in the series since 2009. Team Hard will be running three cars and drivers Jake Hill, Mike Epps and Will Burns. Matt Simpson continues in Simpson Racing and Dave Newsham and Chris Smiley will be hoping for success in BTC Norlin. AMD Tuning will return to the grid with Ollie Jackson and rookie Ant Whorton Eales, with the latter performing brilliantly in Clio’s and will therefore be looking to impress.
The BTCC grid gets stronger with every season. However, with drivers such as Sam Tordoff not racing, fans will hope that Turkington and Collard can return to spice up the racing for 2017.