The British Touring Car Championship makes a second trip to Thruxton this year for Rounds 16-18 after the recent action in Scotland.
We have had a mix of different circuit types so far this season, like the narrow complexes of Brands Hatch Indy and Knockhill. Or the wider and more speed-orientated Snetterton and Thruxton circuits.
For this weekend, we return to latter since the season-opener in May.
It is a fast circuit with a configuration of demanding corners one-after-another, albeit with no signature incline changes – unlike Knockhill.
There are some key talking points after surpassing the halfway point of the season.
Familiar tarmac, different expectations
When the BTCC raced onto this circuit approximately three months ago, it was a clean slate as no driver (in the opening race) were stricken with weight ballast.
This year’s title contenders have emerged well and clear, but the fight for the title remains up for grabs.
Thruxton will give a chance for the standings to close up, if the drivers make the most of the opportunity.
Sure, we will have to expect the typical intensity usually seen at the races held here but the purpose of this weekend is different for a variety of drivers.
Ash Sutton leads the standings 14 points over Tom Ingram.
Knockhill was an uphill climb of redemption for Ingram after Oulton Park, but his job will be to close the margin.
Likewise, Ash Sutton needs to maintain his top spot by not succumbing to mistakes such as moments of over-aggression which can induce an untimely spin.
The reigning champion works monstrously well under a lack of ballast due to his familiarity with the Infiniti package, but landing a decent amount of points will build the momentum he needs to a third title.
Speaking of which, Colin Turkington only just secured his first pole position and race win of the season yet he nestled himself into the all-competitive third spot in the standings. The 2020 vice-champion is not out of the title game yet… thanks to his notable Knockhill efforts.
Picking up where Team Dynamics left off
There are others to speak of too, such as how Dan Rowbottom and Gordon Shedden will seek redemption from one of their quieter weekends.
Despite the rear-wheel drive favorability of Knockhill, the duo performed to secure at least a points finish between them, at each race.
However, it was quiet in comparison to their Oulton Park antics where they were at the front and fighting for the win.
The standings are close together, so the team are not in desperate need to make up for lost opportunities since they simply lacked front-running pace.
A visit to Thruxton will be a chance to get right what could have been improved at the season opener, especially for Rowbottom who made a points-filled debut with the team that weekend.
Meanwhile Shedden will be looking not to replicate his crash from that first race.
‘Flash’ sits fourth in the standings, and Rowbottom in seventh, which means they will both take on weight ballast but not like the heavy front-runners.
The Team Dynamics duo will be a pair to watch.
Proctor with a chance to continue his momentum
Senna Proctor came back with BTC Racing and has performed swimmingly claiming his first pole position, three podiums, and his second career victory.
The 23-year-old left Knockhill on high spirits and will be keen to carry the positive momentum.
Even if you reckon his contact with Sutton at Oulton Park was on his fault, it doesn’t diminish how quickly he has adapted to the Civic Type R package.
Proctor will look to prove himself once again, not against what Dan Cammish managed to do in May, but how he can be opportune to climb up the standings despite missing the first three races.
This Sunday, he will show what he can do on his first Thruxton 2021 race mileage.
|Thruxton, 2021 Schedule||(BST)|
|Qualifying||2.45pm||Saturday 28 August|
|Race 1||11.40am||Sunday 29 August|
|Race 2||2.15pm||Sunday 29 August|
|Race 3||5.35pm||Sunday 29 August|