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2019 BTCC kicks off at Brands Hatch next weekend

Friday, March 29 2019

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship(BTCC) kicks off at Brands Hatch on Sunday 7 April with a top-notch field which includes former Grand Prix star Mark Blundell and Nic Hamilton, brother of five-time F1 World Champion Lewis.

Blundell and Hamilton will take to the track in a 30-strong field of saloon cars, featuring the best drivers in domestic motor racing such as reigning champion Colin Turkington behind an all-new BMW 3 Series, plus household names Matt Neal and Jason Plato.

The championship is as good as ever, with major backing from five motor manufacturers, as BMW is joined by Vauxhall, Honda, Subaru, and Toyota which has returned to the grid in an official capacity for the first time since 1995. Ford, MG, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are also represented on the grid by independent teams.

Blundell joins BTCC for his first professional appearance in touring car racing at 52-years-young in an Audi S3. The Le Mans 24 Hours and IndyCar race-winner's entry in the Trade Price Racing machine marks the beginning of his first competitive motorsport campaign in six years.

Blundell said:"I'm 52 years old, I'm officially the oldest guy on the grid with the least amount of experience in a touring car, so a great combination! I'm going to give it my all, I've got no issues about the age, but I'm also going to be realistic.

"Once a racer, always a racer. Hopefully at the end of the weekend I'll still be there smiling because I've had a huge amount of fun driving a racing car which has always ultimately been my passion and first love. I don't think there's anything you can do to replicate that buzz."

Hamilton returns to the BTCC full-time after previously contesting a handful of rounds in 2015, with the local ROKiT racing with Motorbase squad, based in nearby Wrotham. Hamilton's outing in a Ford Focus RS will be his first in a BTCC machine at the Kent circuit after previously appearing on the support bill in a Renault Clio.

Hamilton said:"It's going to be very nerve-wracking. I'm relatively inexperienced in comparison to my competitors. I'm also the only disabled athlete on the grid, so I'm basically like a Paralympian in the Olympics. But it's nothing that I'm not used to, I was pretty much born on the back foot, so I'm super, super excited.

"This championship is the pinnacle of British motorsport, there's 30 cars separated by one second so I don't have any expectations, I just want to get in my car and drive it. That's what I've worked so hard for."

The BTCC will entertain crowds on the Sunday with three headline races, whilst a full support programme ensures there is plenty to entertain visitors throughout the day.