Following months of anticipation and pre-season testing, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has officially launched for 2018.
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of one of the most much-loved and prolific touring car categories in the world, the forthcoming campaign is set to be another blockbuster affair.
Four manufacturer-backed teams are joined by a host of Independent-run squads, further cementing the strength in depth of the series.
Ashley Sutton enters the year as the man to beat, donning the mantel of defending champion after producing a stunning campaign in 2017 to lift the title in just his second season. Running the famed number one on the side of his Subaru Levorg, Sutton will seek to become a double champion, but will have a whole host of competitors to take on.
Former champions Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan will all be keen to add to their impressive CV's. Elsehwere, the likes of Tom Ingram, Jack Goff, Sam Tordoff, Tom Chilton and Rob Austin lead the long list of former race winners (17 in total) that will all be looking to be amongst the championship fight.
In addition to the 30 races that will take place across ten weekend's at some of the countries top circuits, a special 60-mile race will take place in the third encounter at Snetterton in late July.
Titled the 'Diamond Double' race, all cars will run on a base weight and double points will be on offer, further adding to the drama of the 2018 championship battle.
Alan Gow, BTCC Series Director, said: “Our capacity line-up for the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with a remarkable record 17 race-winners, yet again underlines the championship’s strength and depth.
“Last year saw the incredible rise-and-rise of eventual champion Ash Sutton, and he is just one of an ever-growing number of emerging talents in the BTCC. The mix of young guns taking on the established stars has been one of the fascinating stories in recent years, and that looks set to continue in 2018.
“Once again, we expect to see battles throughout the field with the Manufacturers’, Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy providing as much entertainment as the fight for the overall Drivers’ title.
“Whilst firmly focussing on the future we are also immensely proud of the BTCC’s illustrious 60-year history, which we will be celebrating throughout 2018. We are delighted to have confirmed the ‘Diamond Double’ race at Snetterton as part of these diamond jubilee celebrations, and look forward to a number of other 60th anniversary activities during the year.
“This is a truly phenomenal period for the BTCC. The continued and unrivalled support from Dunlop, ITV, IHG and our host of loyal partners remains the envy of comparable motor sport series’ around the world.
"Add to this our incredible fanbase, the media interest that you see here today and of course the unparalleled excitement provided on-track… the BTCC remains the greatest show in British motorsport.”
For the complete entry list, click here.
The opening rounds of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship take place on April 7/8 at Brands Hatch.