The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returns to action this weekend (29/30 July) with the tight and technical demands of Snetterton awaiting the 31-car grid.
Following the annual summer break, the series is set to return with a vengeance as the title battle further intensifies.
Reigning champion Gordon Shedden enters the weekend as the championship leader, the first time in his career he has done so at the halfway marker. Last year the Halfords Yuasa Racing driver found himself languishing at the bottom of the top ten however a string of resurgent performances thrust him back into contention.
With two wins to his name, Shedden has been a force to be reckoned with this year and is currently on course to claim a record-equalling fourth crown. If previous years are to be taken into account, the Honda Civic racer is set to only get stronger as the season progresses.
Hot on the Scotsman’s heels are the Team BMW duo of Rob Collard and Colin Turkington. Both have tasted success this season and will likely flourish around a circuit that in the past has been well-suited to the BMW 1-Series M-Sport.
One man that all eyes will be fixed on is Team BMR’s Ashley Sutton. Early struggles had left the former Clio Cup champion out of the top ten but a string of eye-catching performances and two wins have thrust him into the title conversation.
Tom Ingram is another two-time winner and keen to bounce back from recent woes as he looks to improve upon his fifth place in the points. Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan have also triumphed and sit seventh and eighth.
Rob Austin, Mat Jackson and Adam Morgan round out the top ten after 15 races, with plenty of top name chasing them down too.
Front-running pace from the likes of Jack Goff, Tom Chilton, Josh Cook and Jason Plato is to be expected too in rounds 16, 17 and 18.
Seven weeks on from the accident that left three drivers hospitalised at Croft, Aron Taylor-Smith will race for MG. Jeff Smith and Luke Davenport however will not due both continuing their recoveries.
Smith’s son, Brett, makes his debut at the Norfolk circuit whilst Motorbase Performance will run just two cars for this event. Stewart Lines is also back in the BTCC as he gets back behind the wheel of the Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus.
With the competition stiffer than ever this year and picking a winner becoming more and more difficult, the plot is expected to thicken further at Snetterton as the BTCC blasts back into life.