Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship anticipates a host of talking points at the third venue this season.
A couple of weeks have passed since the action at Snetterton, but we have merely begun an exciting season and there is plenty to be excited for Brands Hatch.
To recap, the driver’s standings are currently headed by reigning champion Ash Sutton at 80 points, followed by Tom Ingram who is two points behind, and Colin Turkington at 75 points.
Recall the action from Snetterton:
- BTCC Snetterton: Turkington inherits pole from disqualified Shedden
- BTCC Snetterton: Turkington dominates at opening race of the day
- BTCC Snetterton: Sutton climbs to hard-fought victory in Race 2
- BTCC Snetterton: Ingram secures first win at new EXCELR8 TBC outfit
As one of the most favoured venues on the BTCC calendar, the Indy variant of Brands Hatch is a short but sweet lap having to contend with a twisty, narrow circuit which features both ascents and descents.
The last time we came here was to see who would be crowned as the 2020 BTCC champion, which turned out to be Ash Sutton asserting his abilities over title rival Colin Turkington.
Needless to say, it was the perfect final piece of BTCC action to conclude 2020 – and the circuit enforced most of the close-quartered racing.
If we have learnt anything so far, it is that Ash Sutton has already but in a fighting effort to pursue a consecutive championship (a third in total) following his strong results so far.
And it was not even just the results, but seeing him pull off his classic climbs up the grid just like he did at Snetterton from 12th to first place puts him as one driver to look out for. A momentum of points will be key at a track which can get physical between the drivers.
Team Dynamics will be another name to look out for with historically successful results here.
Gordon Shedden had a tough pill to swallow at Snetterton when a rear wing angle that was found to be one degree out of regulation which turned his pole position to a start at the back.
Indeed the Scot finished on the podium during Race 3, but he will be as hungry as ever to pursue a victory and fight at the front of the grid in his comeback season.
Shedden has a record of at least one victory at Brands (including GP and Indy) every year from 2013 to 2017, which was his last year in the BTCC. The three-time champion had annual podium finishes at the venue since 2010 – naturally he will be looking for a maiden 2021 win.
His returnee teammate Dan Rowbottom told Last Lap in an interview about how much he enjoys Brands Hatch, even on a calendar full of thrilling circuits.
Despite leaving Snetterton as a race winner in the ‘Jack Sears Trophy’ category, his target is not just to take that crown by the end of the year but secure at least a podium and an overall victory.
In his last Renault Clio Cup season in 2018, he claimed three podiums and a victory (across both variants, four races) marking some positive memories that he will certainly seek to revisit in his competitive Honda Civic Type R FK8 package.
Another driver to watch will be Tom Ingram after a streak of three podiums and a race victory in just six races so far this season.
Already acquainting with his Hyundai is a positive start to the season after changing teams, machinery, and finding himself three teammates to perform against – but this hasn’t stopped his chances as of yet.
He will head into Race 1 as the second-most heaviest car in terms of weight ballast and will need to put up a fight against Ash Sutton if he is not only to continue the points streak, but will scout out at least another podium in this upcoming weekend.
And maybe he will beat his own reigning qualifying lap record of 47.990s, though the extra weight won’t fall into his favour.
We are undoubtedly set for an exhilarating weekend of wheel-to-wheel BTCC racing at one of the calendar’s most favoured venues.
This Indy variant is going to provide some of the most tense racing in the season so far and will highlight the current title protagonists.
Yes, it is too quick to fixate on the exact drivers in the present title fight. But it won’t hurt to enjoy all-familiar title rivals fight wheel-to-wheel once again at an iconic venue.
Brands Hatch Indy Schedule
|Sat. 26 June||3.10pm||Qualifying|
|Sun. 27 June||11.30am||Race 1|
|Sun. 27 June||2.40pm||Race 2|
|Sun. 27 June||5.30pm||Race 3|
Who do you think will come out with the championship lead? Are we going to have any new winners this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!