The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship descends on Thruxton this weekend (6/7 May) for rounds seven, eight and nine surrounded by even more intrigue and excitement.
In what has been a blockbuster start to the 2017 season, five different winners have been crowned so far and Independent hotshot Tom Ingram leads the standings in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
Now, the fastest circuit on the calendar where average speeds exceed 110mph provides the latest challenge for the capacity 32-car field, is likely to throw up more surprises.
Ingram heads to the Hampshire-based circuit holding a 14-point advantage over his nearest challenger Colin Turkington. As the only double-winner of 2017, the Speedworks racer has been in inspired form.
This time last year he set a brand new qualifying lap record to take pole position and went on to score an impressive podium. Although that may be a tough ask this year, the 23-year-old is likely to be a threat all weekend.
Team BMW’s Turkington has gone under the radar so far this year but inherited a win at Donington Park to elevate himself to second in the points. Settling into life back at West Surrey Racing with ease, the double champion has triumphed at Thruxton before in the BMW.
Adam Morgan took a trio of podiums including a win last year and has been in superlative form this year. The Mercedes A-Class has proved to be one of the cars to have around the flowing Thruxton curves. Fellow Mercedes racer and the newest race winner in the series, Aiden Moffat, will also be confident of more success too.
One car that has certainly established itself around Thruxton in recent years is the Honda. In the past seven years Team Dynamics’ Halfords Yuasa Racing squad have taken an impressive 50% strike rate – with the spoils being shared between Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal.
Despite carrying variant amounts of success ballast, both triple champions are in prime position to emerge with a big haul of points, especially given the Type R’s strengths come to the fore. The same will be expected from Eurotech Racing duo Jack Goff and Jeff Smith who are also in Type R’s.
The Honda was the car to have at the TOCA test in late April with Eurotech and Halfords Yuasa Racing occupying the top four spots and dipping under the current lap record time.
Local hopes can be pinned on Josh Cook and Rob Collard whilst Handy Motorsport will make the short trip from Swindon to continue their quest for a maiden BTCC victory with Rob Austin.
Others to keep a keen eye include Thruxton maestro Andrew Jordan in the Pirtek Racing BMW, Motorbase Performance’s trio of Ford Focus’ and Team BMR’s quartet of Subau Levorg’s – all of which have endured a rollercoaster start to the season with Ashley Sutton shining the brightest.
Down the years the triple-header at Thruxton has been one of the marque events of the BTCC season and going on the evidence provided at the opening two events so far, that status could well continue.
This weekend will also see the support and fundraising efforts for British F4 teenager Billy Monger continues at Thruxton. For more information, click here.
To view the event timetable for both days, click here.