Top five most successful and iconic NGTC era BTCC cars

The tenth and final year of racing under the Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) regulations has come to a close, with Ash Sutton crowned the champion.

But what were the five most successful cars throughout one of the best eras of the BTCC? 

With the Hybrid era drawing ever closer, the cars in this list will be the series’ most fondly remembered gladiators that were equipped with the 2Litre turbocharged direct injection setup that defined this iconic era of the British Touring Car Championship.

Everything from dominant hatchbacks, to record breaking estate cars were seen in this favourable period of the championship. Here are our five favourites.

1# Honda Civic Type R: 

When you see a Honda Civic Type R on the road today, your mind immediately takes you back to when Honda being at the front of the field was a common occurrence week in week out. With legendary drivers such as Matt Neal and 2013 champion Andrew Jordan having bought the outfit significant success throughout the early 2010s.

Credit: BTCC

Honda entered the BTCC for a second time as a manufacturer all the way back in 2004 with the Team Dynamics outfit, originally running the Integra platform, before switching to the Civic at the end of 2005 season after mixed success.

During the NGTC era, Honda were the team to beat in terms of the Manufacturers’ title. They won the prestigious title four times, more than any other team.

The Honda factory team running Civics championship years came in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015, with Matt Neal, Gordon Sheddon and Andrew Jordan claiming the drivers title in their respective Civics alongside.

However, Honda pulled the plug on their factory effort in the championship at the end of 2020, despite them issuing a following statement stating they pulled the team out with ‘significant regret’.

Credit: BTCC

The Civic Type R continued to see success in the UK’s highest level of racing in the hands of a now independently run Team Dynamics team, as well as BTC Racing who were able to win multiple events across 2020 and 2021 with Drivers Josh Cook and Senna Proctor with the new FK9 shaped Civic.

 

2# Infiniti Q50

Perhaps the most recognisable car to newer fans of the championship, The Infiniti Q50 has only been on the BTCC scene for the last two seasons. However, with both those seasons has come two drivers’ championships as well as two independent teams’ titles in the hands of Laser Tools Racing.

Credit: BTCC

Ash Sutton is the owner of the two drivers’ championships the Q50 has yielded, with young gun Aiden Moffat always keeping the three-time champion honest in his Infiniti.

Moffat managed to achieve his first ever pole position during the Croft weekend of this year’s season.

Credit: BTCC

Carl Boardley had his first year in the Infiniti this year as well, whilst not contesting at the front like his two teammates were able to, Boardley still put up a great fight for the Jack Sears Trophy.

 

3# BMW 330i M Sport

Entering the scene in 2019 replacing the factory supplied 125i M Sport for Team BMW, the 330i was guided home to the models first drivers’ championship by the infamous Colin Turkington in its first year and has been a consistent front runner in the hands of the West Surrey Racing team for its short tenure.

Credit: BTCC

West Surrey Racing are one of the most recognisable and synonymous teams associated with the BTCC.

WSR got their first ever race win when they were working alongside the Ford factory effort all the way back in 1998 with driver Will Hoy at a wet Silverstone.

The 330i M Sport has been in the hands of Colin Turkington, Tom Oliphant and Stephan Jelley during 2021, and has produced some of the best results for all three drivers.

Credit: BTCC

Colin Turkington was reigning champion Ash Sutton’s closest title rival leading right up until the last race of the 2021 season, and if Laser Tools or their Infiniti ever had an issue, WSR and the lighting fast 330i were always there to take advantage.

The 2019 season saw Turkington take his record-equaling 4th drivers’ championship title, and greatly attributing to Team BMW’s then 4 straight manufacturers title streak alongside teammates Andrew Jordan and Tom Oliphant.

2020 saw a similar story, but with just a two-car entry and a significant livery change. Turkington and Oliphant drove home to a dominant 5th manufactures title in a year contorted with restrictions and uncertainty.

And finally, in the 2021 season. The team bought home their record-breaking 6th consecutive Manufactures title in the hands of Turkington, Oliphant and Jelley.

 

4# Subaru Levorg 

Whilst only having a four year stay in the championship, the Subaru Levorg made a huge impact on the BTCC, being Ash Sutton’s maiden drivers title winning car. As well as the first estate chassis to enter the championship since the iconic Volvo 850 debuted all the way back in 1994.

Credit: BTCC

Subaru entered the BTCC with two Levorg’s back in 2016 and, to nobody’s surprise, showed genuine pace in the first year of competition with three-time champion Colin Turkington and BTCC legend Jason Plato behind the wheel.

2017 was the season that Subaru and Team BMR saw their first title success, however with Ash Sutton replacing Turkington as well as James Cole being added to the line up.

Credit: BTCC

2018 and 2019 saw no driver title success, however the deal with Subaru to continue running the Levorg leading into the final years of the NGTC regulations was not extended and Subaru bowed out of the sport at the end of 2019.

The Levorg has to make this list due to the nature of it being the first estate car in over 20 years, and giving the now legendary Ash Sutton his first drivers title.

5# Ford Focus ST  

The Focus ST has to be one of the BTCC’s most recognisable names when it comes to NGTC era cars. With drivers such as Jason Plato and Tom Chilton having driven the earlier model.

The first variant of the ST came in 2009, way before the NGTC rules were put in place. However, the car adjusted brilliantly and won its first race in the 2011 season in the hands of Tom Chilton at Knockhill.

The Focus was in its third generation by that point and has only seen improvements in the years it has been active. While Ford have not had a factory team since they pulled out of the sport in 2001, the independent teams have made the Focus the success it is today.

Credit: BTCC

Teams like MB Motorsport have continued with the platform to this day, with four Focus ST’s on the grid in 2021.

Credit: BTCC

One of the BTCC’s most memorable liveries also broke the surface on a Focus ST, the iconic Shredded Wheat yellow Focus that challenged the 2017 season is one of the championships most recognisable cars during the NGTC era.

Time will tell if the Focus platform will continue its legacy into the Hybrid era, by NGTC standards, it’s one of the most recognisable shapes in the BTCC.