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Epic 8-way BTCC title battle to be settled at Brands next weekend

Thursday, September 22 2016

The UK's biggest car racing series is set to have its most exciting finish in years at Brands Hatch next weekend (1/2 October) when the Kent circuit hosts the final three rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).

The BTCC features the UK's top racing drivers competing in highly-modified hatchback and saloon cars and is renowned for extremely close and often brutal racing, which attracts huge crowds. The 2016 season has already produced a record 12 different winners and now an unprecedented eight drivers will head to Brands Hatch with a shot of the title. The top five are within 21 points - the same as a race win - and there are 67 on offer next weekend.

The championship standings are currently led by Sam Tordoff from Sunbury-on-Thames-based WSR, which runs a trio of BMW 1-Series cars, but team-mate Rob Collard is also within reach and neither have won the title before. The pair are under immediate threat from reigning champion Gordon Shedden, who won in dramatic style at Brands Hatch last year, plus his Honda team-mate and triple champion Matt Neal.

Local team goes for glory

Also in strong contention is Wrotham's Motorbase team, based just three miles from the circuit. Their highest-placed driver Mat Jackson is just 21 points off the title lead, whilst former champion Andrew Jordan is only ten behind his team-mate. The squad's Ford Focus dominated at Brands Hatch last year and a repeat could seal their first championship.

Motorbase team boss Dave Bartrum said: "It's fantastic to have both drivers in with a chance for the overall title. We've got two great drivers in Andrew and Mat and the proof of that is our position in the standings. 

"There's no pressure on us at this stage heading into the final - whatever we do, we're still relying on the results of the others. As we all know though, it's the BTCC so anything can happen! It's great for Motorbase to be in the title fight in our own back yard as well. Brands Hatch is our local circuit, being a stone's throw away makes it a great weekend and hopefully we'll have plenty of local support."

The octet is completed by Subaru's double champion pairing Colin Turkington and Jason Plato. The team's four Levorgs only made their track debut one day before the season-opener at Brands Hatch in April, so title success would be a fairytale ending for the squad. Both drivers won their titles at the Kent circuit, and Plato almost stole last year's championship from Shedden there in a nail-biting finale. 

Spectators invited to join championship celebrations

The points are so close that the title is sure to go right down to the wire, and the new champion will be crowned on the pit straight after the final race of the day on main raceday Sunday. The track will be open to all spectators for the ceremony, and there's also a chance to meet all of the BTCC drivers during a free pitwalk and autograph session on raceday morning.

In addition to the eight contenders, a further 23 drivers will be contesting the three races, and the list includes Tunbridge Wells-based Jake Hill, who is aiming for his first podium finish after several impressive performances for Strood's Team HARD. West Drayton's Matt Simpson is set for third position in the rookie standings at a circuit where he has excelled in other categories.

In addition to the three BTCC races, there are titles to be settled in the supporting categories. Former BTCC driver Mike Bushell from Tunbridge Wells is favourite to win his second Renault UK Clio Cup championship, whilst London's Jamie Orton will be aiming to consolidate third place in the Ginetta GT4 Challenge standings and there's a six-way fight for the British F4 title for Formula 1 hopefuls. Additional action on the weekend's 15-race programme includes the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and Ginetta Juniors.

BTCC title contenders
1. Sam Tordoff, 278pts
2. Gordon Shedden, 267pts (-11)
3. Matt Neal, 265pts (-13)
4. Robert Collard, 261pts (-78)
5. Mat Jackson, 257pts  (-21)
6. Andrew Jordan, 247pts  (-31)
7. Colin Turkington, 241pts  (-37)
8. Jason Plato, 220pts (-58)

Tickets for the BTCC finale at Brands Hatch on 1/2 October are available in advance from £27, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.