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Brands Hatch set for a BTCC Easter thriller

Friday, March 27 2015

Brands Hatch will host the opening round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) next Easter weekend (4/5 April), bringing all of the drama, excitement and controversy associated with the country's biggest car racing series to the Kent venue.
 
The BTCC is renowned for no-holds-barred action from drivers unafraid to make contact as they barge their way to the chequered flag. Picking a winner is near-impossible, with huge changes at the front of the 29-car grid set to throw the form book away.
 
Reigning champion Colin Turkington has joined forces with outspoken rival Jason Plato at Team BMR and the pair will be fighting for the title in a pair of Volkswagen CCs. Last October the two clashed whilst disputing the lead at Paddock Hill bend and more fireworks are expected between them as they battle for supremacy.
 
Turkington's former team, WSR, has signed triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx to defend the team's title in their BMW 1-Series, whilst 2013 champion Andrew Jordan joins MG. Meanwhile Honda pairing Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden will race the brand new Civic Type R as they attempt to regain former glories.
 
Local interest comes from Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell from Tunbridge Wells, who will be contesting his rookie BTCC season in an AmDtuning Ford Focus, whilst Dartford's Alex Martin will make his championship debut in another Focus run by Dextra Racing. RCIB Insurance Racing, run by Dartford's Tony Gilham less than a mile from the Brands Hatch gates, will field Kieran Gallagher in a Toyota Avensis.
 
Spectators can watch three BTCC races on Easter Sunday and meet the drivers at a free pitwalk and autograph session just after 9am. There will also be a host of supporting contests, including the Renault Clio Cup, featuring the racing return of James Hunt's son Freddie, plus 16-year-old Jack Mitchell from Wrotham, the reigning Ginetta Junior champion.
 
This year's Ginetta Junior entry includes fast female Esmee Hawkey from Chislehurst, competing in her first full season in cars. Further up the scale, several local racers will appear on the 30-car Porsche Carrera Cup grid, including Surrey's Tom Sharp, London's Francis Galashan, and Essex pair Peter Parsons and Chris Dockerill.
 
Entertainment this Easter will also include a funfair, free childen's adventure playground, classic Ford display, go-karting and live music on Saturday evening.
 
Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship are available from £26 in advance, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.