BTCC 2021: The driver market simplified – as a timeline

The arrivals, transfers and debutants of the 2021 BTCC driver market are plentiful but challenging to track – here is a timeline of it all.

This year will mark the 64th annual running of the BTCC, and 11 years since the Next Generation Touring Car technical specifications were announced.

This article, to be updated as we get closer to the full 29-car grid, will detail a timeline of driver announcements including team transfers, new arrivals, and full-time runners.

For all other BTCC news and features, check out Last Lap’s British Touring Car Championship archive.

So don’t forget to bookmark this page!

From latest to oldest:

19th March 2021 – Nic Hamilton stays at Team Hard for another year

The final piece of the jigsaw fell into place when the fourth seat at Team HARD Racing was confirmed.

It was unsurprising to see they retained Hamilton but now he escapes the shadow of aged machinery such as his VW CC from last year.

The new Cupra Leon package gives him a chance to score more than the one point (from last year) in his three-year BTCC career.

And the car will enable him to mix amongst more on-track battles, especially with 28 other drivers on the grid fighting for a spot in the top-15 points finish threshold.

18th March 2021 – Dan Rowbottom secures multi-year deal at Team Dynamics

The 32-year-old from Kidderminster joins as part of a new sponsorship deal between one of his partners and the team – specifically between Halfords and Catalean.

He replaces now-former BTCC veteran Matt Neal as he secures his first full-season drive in the BTCC in his second season.

He will take the wheel behind one of the team’s two Honda Civic Type R FK8s, a more up-to-date package compared to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class in 2019.

He only managed to score four points finishes with the Race 3 at Thruxton getting him two points; that is five points in total.

He partners none other than ‘Flash’ himself so will have a tough time to mark up against his teammate’s performances after a year out, but will be keen to prove himself in what he describes as a “dream come true”.

11th March 2021 – Dan Lloyd returns and partners Plato at PMR

He won his first and only BTCC win during the third race at Croft, but begun his touring car career when he won the Renault Clio Cup UK Winter Cup in 2009.

Most notably, the 29-year-old has a useful amount of experience not only from his 21 rounds of the BTCC back in 2018, but the fact that he has pursued six touring car championships in the past five years.

Not to mention his partnership with such a successful driver as Jason Plato means that he will look for all the advice and tricks of the trade from the man who is seeking his 100th BTCC victory.

5th March 2021 – Gordon Shedden returns home with Team Dynamics

The departure of Cammish suspected to be down to a breakdown in salary negotiations and that Team Dynamics wanted to field a third car but such a move was blocked.

‘Flash’ returns to a team which backed all the Hondas in which he claimed his 48 race wins, plus has three overall championship titles on his BTCC record.

The brother-in-law to Rory Butcher (see further down) may have the career record to make up for Cammish’s departure, but we await to see if he still has what it takes for the full season campaign.

2nd March 2021 – Dan Cammish leaves Team Dynamics

With hopefully the only paragraph of this sort on this page, Dan Cammish has unexpectedly left the squad with whom he made his BTCC debut in 2018.

He claimed an impressive six podiums and two wins in that year, only to be followed by two years of shear title contention after two third places in the drivers’ standings tells half the story.

The first Team Dynamics driver will be announced on Friday 5 March, and the second seat will be unveiled in the following weeks.

23rd February 2021 – Rick Parfitt Jr. completes EXCELR8 driver line-up

The only driver in British GT history to have won a GT3 and a GT4 championship fulfills the fourth and final spot in EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars’ line-up.

Having been under surgery in 2020 for Crohn’s disease, the 46-year-old has used the past 12 months to recover and train for the 2021 championship.

He will not only race to win amongst a packed grid, but in charitable intentions for Crohn’s and Colitis UK – and that completes the four drivers at EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars.

17th February 2021 – Stephen Jelley returns to WSR

In the usual seven day intervals, anticipating an announcement for the third Team BMW seat was not too much of a surprise, but hearing Jelley has returned to the team he drove for 12 years ago makes it special.

For the past three years, he has pulled his weight along in the WSR-run BMW 1 Series and memorably scored a win at Oulton Park in 2019 and now Dick Bennetts has recognised the potential that the 38-year-old still has.

The confirmed trio of Stephen, Colin and Tom totals a 60 BTCC win and 168 podium tally, adding onto WSR’s 14 outright BTCC titles – 13 were claimed in the past seven seasons.

10th February 2021 – Tom Oliphant retained at WSR and Team BMW

A week after his four-time champion team-mate Turkington was confirmed, Oliphant finds himself alongside him once again.

The 30-year-old will aim for more than his one and only (though maiden) BTCC win at Brands Hatch last year, but his efforts went towards defending rivals off Turkington’s title pursuit with the eventual championship victor, Ash Sutton.

It allowed the team to secure a fifth Manufacturer’s title, but a third year in the 330i M Sport package puts Oliphant in a more confident position to his fourth BTCC season.

4th February 2021 – Motorbase line-up with Neate and Osborne

On the same day, it is confirmed that Osborne has swapped teams with Ollie Jackson but will now take up the new season with a new hatchback – an upgrade from the FK2 Type R.

Neate made a return to the BTCC last year but ran a challenging campaign after a five-year absence from the series.

A year under his belt gave him time to soak up a contemporary BTCC environment, and a consecutive run with the same team would allow him to start hauling in points-finishes as did his former teammates Butcher and Jackson.

4th February 2021 – Ollie Jackson joins MB Motorsport

Ever since the Motorbase ownership news, a switcharound was made with Ollie Jackson from Motorbase to MB Motorsport, albeit with a familiar Ford Focus ST package underneath him.

He proved himself a multiple race winner last year, and will be keen to add more onto that list.

3rd February 2021 – Colin Turkington remains at Team BMW

The 2020 vice-champion of the BTCC returns with Team BMW and the West Surrey Racing franchise for the fifth year.

His focal objective for this year is clear – regain the championship crown and make it a fifth addition to his BTCC drivers’ championship tally.

27th January 2021 – Butcher and Smelt confirmed for Toyota

With the line-up now jumping up to a pair of Toyota Corollas, plus the departure of Ingram, meant that a new lineup was due – particularly a regular and a returnee.

Rory Butcher drove a positive 2020 season in the Ford Focus ST but now endures a move to a manufacturer-backed programme.

Sam Smelt returns eager to assert a genuine and positive second year in the BTCC.

22nd January 2021 – Jason Plato returns to the BTCC with PMR

The most successful BTCC racer returns to the championship after being unable to do so in light of the 2020 pandemic circumstances and PMR not contesting a full-season campaign.

His return will prove interesting as he reminisced how much he missed the BTCC having never been away for such a long time.

His returning efforts at Thruxton will allow him to engage back into the BTCC rhythm – especially if he wants that 100th race win.

20th January 2021 – Tom Ingram joins EXCELR8 for a ‘multi-year deal’

After seven years spent at the Speedworks Motorsport team, Ingram has chosen to part ways and claim the fourth spot at EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars.

Needless to say, he has proven competent in the BTCC environment after bringing the Corolla up and amongst the past two overall championship title fights.

He can quite possibly do the same with the relatively new Hyundai i30 N Fastback Performance.

15th January 2021 – Chris Smiley stays at EXCELR8 for a second year

Smiley debuted the Hyundai in a strong manner when he secured a podium at the opening Donnington round last year, and now enters his second season with an unchanged package.

A now four-car line-up for the team will put the car further in fighting spirit against fellow hatchback rivals Honda (Civic) and Toyota (Corolla).

14th January 2021 – Jade Edwards secures BTC Racing full-time seat

She was the first female to compete in the BTCC since 2007, when she raced PMR’s Vauxhall Astra at Silverstone.

Edwards’ past and promising Ginetta and Clio Cup experience made it for a debut to fulfill her childhood dreams – now she is at a more competitive team, with a full 30-round season awaiting her.

12th January 2021 – Tom Chilton transfers to Ciceley Motorsport

The 35-year-old made the most of his new Honda Civic Type R FK8 office, with a best finish of second plus fourth spot in the Independents’ championship concludes a positive 2020 campaign.

In what will be his ninth BTCC team since he debuted in 2002, he stands a better chance in an already-proven BMW package by West Surrey Racing.

31st December 2020 – Cook and Crees stay at BTC Racing

On New Year’s Day, it was announced that Josh Cook and Michael Crees would stay at the BTC Racing squad.

The pair drove well and competitively, with Cook claiming victories and Crees securing the Jack Sears Trophy.

24th December 2020 – Laser Tools Racing trio lineup confirmed

Unsurprisingly, Sutton kept his seat after a championship-winning season and 20 (out of a possible 27) podiums.

He nurtured the new Q50 to victories that saw him clash with four-time champion Colin Turkington, plus secure his second in his BTCC career – perhaps another would be possible?

The three-car lineup of Sutton, Moffat, and Carl Boardley will give the team more presence in the constructors’ when they fight against multiple car line-ups of other teams.

21st December 2020 – Áron Taylor-Smith returns to the BTCC

The Northern-Irishman debuted back in 2011 and ran six seasons.

He said how he missed the BTCC after seeing the action and drama that last season provoked, thus he returns but in the new Cupra package.

18th December 2020 – Jack Butel goes to EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars

Butel ran a strong rookie season, even if he only secured one points finish.

This would be put down to Ciceley Motorsport’s former Mercedes-Benz A Class package which was uncompetitive, but the 24-year-old asserted his ability at the crowded BTCC starts and battles which he took part in.

The move to a competitive team plus three other teammates could prove useful in his second year.

18th December 2020 – Glynn Geddie secures a full-time seat

The Scotsman made a return to the BTCC after 18 months absent.

An aging VW CC package did not provoke a competitive return but did make his way to secure a one point finish during Race 3 of last year’s Snetterton weekend.

With a year contracted to his name, and a new car, he can show his full strength in a full 30-round season.

14th December 2020 – Jack Goff remains at Team HARD for two years

Jack Goff drove the now-retired Volkswagen Passat CC for two consecutive years, and another in 2014.

Admittingly, the tiresome machinery held him back thus claimed few points finishes in 2020, a contrast when he took his fourth BTCC win at the season prior.

With the new Cupra waiting to make its first steps into the championship, perhaps he can build a notable tally of points finishes and perhaps more than that.

13th November 2020 – Jake Hill stays with MB Motorsport

The BRDC star made the first move on the board days before the Brands Hatch season finale, securing a seat at MB Motorsport Accelerated by Blue Square.

He made three front-row starts during the 2020 campaign marking it his most successful since he debuted seven years ago.

The Honda Civic Type R FK2 model had been put through its paces and retired from the BTCC on a high with three podium finishes in the hands of Hill.

C = Constructor
Team BMW (C) Colin Turkington 2 [BMW 330i M Sport]
Tom Oliphant 15
Stephen Jelley 12
Toyota GAZOO Racing UK (C) Rory Butcher 6 [Toyota Corolla]
Sam Smelt 23
Team Dynamics Gordon Shedden 52 [Honda Civic Type R]
Daniel Rowbottom 61
Laser Tools Racing Ash Sutton 1 [Infiniti Q50]
Aiden Moffat 16
Carl Boardley 41
Team HARD Jack Goff 31 [Cupra Leon]
Áron Taylor-Smith 40
Glynn Geddie 88
Nic Hamilton 28
Ciceley Motorsport Tom Chilton 3 [BMW 330i M Sport]
Adam Morgan 33
Motorbase Performance Sam Osborne 4 [Ford Focus ST]
Andy Neate 44
MB Motorsport Jake Hill 24
Ollie Jackson 48
BTC Racing Jade Edwards 9 [Honda Civic Type R FK8]
Josh Cook 66
Michael Crees 777
Power Maxed Racing Jason Plato 11 [Vauxhall Astra]
Dan Lloyd 123
EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars Rick Parfitt Jr. 13 [Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance]
Chris Smiley 22
Jack Butel 32
Tom Ingram 80