BTCC 2022: Tracking the moves of the silly season

From returnees, new names and debutants, Last Lap traces the 2022 driver market as the hybrid era sets into motion later this year.

The 65th season of Britain’s premier touring car championship is set to begin a new era of hybrid cars.

For 2022, a grid of 32 entries will take on the campaign in April at Donington Park.

However, various changes in the silly season will bridge the months until then, and so this article will trace all of the major moves and driver confirmations.

The full entry list will be published by TOCA in March.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing narrative which will be updated accordingly, alike last year’s timeline.

From latest to oldest:

14 March 2022 – Butel stays at EXCELR8 TPC for the 2022 season

The 25-year-old is retained for the 2022 season after showing signs of improving race pace in the previous season.

He only secured four points finishes, however he seemed to be further in-tune with the Hyundai i30 N package. His next target will simply be to land more points finishes if he wants to win the Jack Sears Trophy.

With such acclaimed teammates, Butel has the chance to improve once again in the debut hybrid era and taking his maiden podium will be a breakthrough moment for him.

28 March 2022 – Edwards continues at BTC Racing

11 March 2022 – Thompson set for BTCC comeback with Team HARD

The 2022 season is one of comebacks, and Bobby Thompson is the latest candidate.

The 25-year-old has almost three full seasons of BTCC experience, and returns to the outfit he debuted with in 2018.

One of the significant changes for him will be the new machinery, and like for everyone in the field, the hybrid boost deployment – replacing the success ballast.

Up until an incident at Croft which cut his season short by six races, Thompson secured the lower-end of the points threshold on a regular basis.

The Cupra Leon package has already been proven to thrive in that area as demonstrated by Jack Goff last year with 10 consecutive points finishes at the start of the season, including a second-placed spot at Brands Hatch.

It will be a crucial opportunity to bounce back into the BTCC with a competitive car which Team HARD are still learning.

4 March 2022 – Parfitt switches to Team HARD-run Infiniti for 2022

Rick Parfitt Jr. encountered a challenging maiden campaign in the BTCC last year, but the rockstar is set to race in a more familiar formula; rear-wheel drive.

The third and final Infiniti fulfilled by him will provoke another chance at his first points finishes and challenging for the Jack Sears Trophy.

His best finish in the EXCELR8 Hyundai i30N Fastback was 16th at Thruxton, the third race of the opening weekend.

Luck never revisited him throughout remainder of 2021, but the Infiniti Q50 has been proven a competitive car since entering the championship – primarily in the hands of Ash Sutton.

The 2017 British GT Champion is back for another chance to show his material in the ultra-competitive midfield climate.

28 February 2022 – Crees returns to the BTCC with PMR

Another comeback is in the form of Michael Crees, the man who won the Jack Sears Trophy when he last competed in 2020.

He was due to take on the 2021 season with BTC Racing, but his plan to race did not go as intended.

Having scored 13 strong points finishes and not a podium, his target will be racking up several of such accomplishments en route to a higher finish in the overall standings.

The Astra proved to be competitive last year with moments where it was not as competent as the other hatchbacks, and other scenes where it worked well such as at Donington and Silverstone.

Crees’ most recent BTCC experience in a front-wheel drive hatchback will assist his adjustment back into the paddock.

28 February 2022 – Gamble set for BTCC debut alongside Morgan at Ciceley Motorsport

George Gamble will make his debut after several campaigns in the BTCC’s supporter packages.

Morgan, unsurprisingly, will continue at the team. He showcased the power of change at the team last year when the former Mercedes-Benz A Class was replaced by the BMW 3 Series package.

As can be drawn from the closing rounds of 2021, there is still much to learn for Ciceley Motorsport if they are to utilise the package against another new BMW customer, MB Motorsport.

As a rookie in a hectic environment, Gamble will need to acclimatise with the BTCC in terms of what is required to secure upper-placed finishes, how to stay out of danger, and what the BMW 3 Series package is like – having never raced a saloon touring car.

As the team continue to familiarise themselves with a newer package, their expectations are set higher than before in promising machinery.

22 February 2022 – Butcher recommits with Toyota GAZOO Racing UK

Last year was the first time he drove the new Toyota Corolla GR Sport, and now it will be the first time he runs a consecutive BTCC campaign with the same team.

The 34-year-old pursued six podiums with three race wins amongst them, demonstrating his strong adaptability to his fifth car in his five years of experience.

It will be about adding to his strong track record having built momentum over the years, ultimately contending for the overall title as the 2019 Independents’ Champion.

The Corolla has proven to be a race-winning package, and Sutton’s turn of machinery – a front-wheel drive Motorbase-back Ford Focus ST – could open the chances for Butcher to take the overall title.

As with most successful title pursuits, strong points finishes will need to commence from the opening weekend at Donington in order to set about being consistent in equal fashion.

17 February 2022 – WSR keep Jelley and Turkington into hybrid era

The four-time champion with the third-most BTCC wins of all-time is set to challenge for the title once again.

Since 2017, Turkington has yet to finish any lower than second in the championship fight with the past two years despite the prominent success of Ash Sutton.

His form remains strong as ever, and will be set on bringing podiums and wins in the BMW 330e M Sport.

Both himself and Jelley were teammates back in 2008 and 2009 at West Surrey Racing, and the latter driver impressed when he returned to the team last year albeit with just two podiums to his name.

Unsurprisingly, his target remains the same – scoring more podiums and even a win with the last one dating to 2017, Race 3 at Oulton Park.

After 18 points finishes landed consecutively last year, racing at the sharp end of the grid will be the next best step for the Leicestershire driver.

15 February 2022 – Chilton confirmed at EXCELR8 after departing Ciceley Motorsport

The 2010 Independents Champion will return to a front-wheel drive package after taking his first year in a rear-wheel drive BMW.

Whilst his performances were not as sensational as what was expected, this deal gives him another opportunity to demonstrate his abilities which have come from his touring car experience.

The Hyundai has showcased its competitiveness during the course of the championship, so he can begin the hybrid era with confidence.

For 2022, it will be about recovering back to his fighting form pre-Ciceley Motorsport; a string of consistently high performances could enable him to challenge for the Independents Trophy once again.

7 February 2022 – Team Dynamics retain Shedden and Rowbottom as their third seat remains vacant

Unsurprisingly, Team Dynamics has continued into the new hybrid era with both of their drivers from 2021.

A third seat remains vacant at the team with open speculation as to who will drive in their third Honda Civic Type R.

Rowbottom dominated the Jack Sears Trophy and grasped his maiden race win amongst his three podium finishes. With showings of fair and fast race pace, his goals stretch out for more victories and an even further contention for the title after finishing ninth in the overall standings.

Shedden struggled to assert his title-winning intentions at the very team he earned them at – even though he finished sixth in the standings. His race pace was strong and consistent combined with moments which hindered progression in the championship fight such as getting involved with incidents.

Ash Sutton, who is the reigning champion, is the only other driver seeking out a fourth title.

3 February 2022 – Dan Lloyd joins EXCELR8 for 2022

Lloyd made a strong impression at PMR last year in the Vauxhall Astra.

Particularly in the latter part of his maiden full-time season, he showed the potential to fight at the sharp end of the grid.

He will have Tom Ingram at the team to acclimatise with his new car, elbeit a front-wheel drive hatchback like the Astra.

Of his four podium finishes last year, three of them were second-placed. With one victory from 2018 at Croft (Race 3), his eyes will be set on challenging for the podium in a package already proven to do so by Ingram.
Whilst Lloyd may not be able to replicate that on a consistent basis as Ingram may do so, his goal on consistent strong points finishes to stand out in the midfield.

20 January 2022 – Ingram extends contract deal by another year to the 2023 season

EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars’ main star Tom Ingram immediately accustomed himself to the Hyundai last year.

A podium on his first outing, then his first 2021 victory six races in, was part of a competitive campaign which saw him fight for the top places in the championship right until the finale.

With it being clear his ability to fight for the overall title was not just a stroke of luck in Speedworks’ Toyota Corolla, it is no surprise to see him extend his contract by another year.

He was tired of being “BTCC’s ‘nearly man’ too many times” and carries utmost motivation to challenge for the title in the new hybrid era.

31 December 2021 – Hill confirmed at MB Motorsport who switch for new BMW package

Mark Brundell’s team chose to part their professional relationship from Motorbase, instead to WSR.

Jake Hill had his most successful season last year and expressed promising abilities, such as when he challenged Aiden Moffat for the win at Croft.

The Ford Focus ST package, whilst strong under his control, lacked the pace at several venues such as Silverstone.

Ideally, these anomalies will be ironed out in the BMW 3 Series which has the longer wheelbase and rear-wheel drive drivetrain to give MB Motorsport an all-rounded car.

This will fall under WSR’s three constructor-backed entries, with two WSR seats left to be confirmed.

21 December 2021 – Reigning champion Sutton partners Cammish at NAPA Racing

One of the other major stories to break early, the youngest three-time champion will defend his crown at another team, in new machinery.

Ash Sutton will partner Dan Cammish, marking out high expectations yet several unknowns given his affiliation with the Infiniti Q50 package.

These two talents line up a promising representation for Ford and NAPA Racing.

20 December 2021 – Patterson set for debut as Moffat continues at Laser Tools Racing

A young karting star will debut into the BTCC driving a package already proven to fight at the front of the grid.

The 18-year-old will be the youngest driver for 2022 (known so far) and it will be a case of learning the discipline and the style of other drivers amongst a packed field.

His teammate, Aiden Moffat, showed promising attributes last year with strong, calculated, defensive driving and a record marking his most successful season to date; he scored 125 points more than the previous year following three podium appearances, including his second win.

He sets an example for Patterson to follow at Laser Tools Racing.

17 December 2021 – Motorbase retain driver-lineup for 2022

Motorbase Performance have retained their drivers for a second year in a row.

Whilst unsurprising for Sam Osborne given his family connections to Motorbase, he will pair up well with Ollie Jackson.

His 2021 campaign was not as successful as the year before when he secured his first two wins and a podium finish, only achieving the latter at MB Motorsport.

Jackson’s his familiarity with the Ford Focus ST package will give him another chance to stand out in the midfield en route to more podium finishes.

15 December 2021 – Dan Cammish set for BTCC comeback with NAPA Racing UK

A year out from the BTCC, excluding his BTC Racing cameo, Dan Cammish will make his BTCC comeback.

Having recently won his third Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship title, it is clear his fighting form has kept his motivation to re-enter the BTCC again.

The newest team has secured one of the quickest drivers after two of his three full-time seasons was spent contending for the overall title.

13 December 2021 – NAPA Racing enters partnership with Motorbase

The famous automotive parts brand which has found itself across American motorsport, such as in NASCAR and IndyCar, has now reached across the pond to the BTCC.

Their debut onto the grid will fulfill a commercially bright light onto the brand to expand their motorsport outreach, so to have backing from Motorbase adds confidence.

All that is needed are a pair of drivers who can put their Ford Focus STs at the sharp end of the grid.

25 November 2021 – Oliphant leaves West Surrey Racing

Tom Oliphant marked his temporary step back from racing with his split from the WSR outfit and a move to Australia.

He contributed to the recent success of WSR by assisting them to one Teams’ Championship and BMW to three Manufacturers’ Titles.

The 2015 Ginetta GT4 Champion looks to get behind the wheel from 2023 whether it is in the UK or in Australia.

His TOCA connections will remain as he oversees his PR and design company Next Level Motorsport.

2 November 2021 – Tom Chilton departs Ciceley Motorsport

The 2010 Independents’ Champion faced a tricky 2021 campaign as he switched to the rear-wheel drive championship-winning BMW package which Ciceley had just obtained.

His BTC Racing campaign during the season prior featured three podium spots and consistent points finishes.

Chilton’s efforts were commendable yet he drove his lowest championship points tally since 2009.

As a result of his 2021 campaign, he chose to depart the team. He was also jumped by Adam Morgan in the standings on 161 points.

Ciceley Motorsport will continue with the BMW package they debuted last year with two seats yet to be confirmed.

1 NAPA Racing UK (C) Ash Sutton 1 [Ford Focus ST]
2 Dan Cammish 9
3 Motorbase Performance (C) Sam Osborne 4 [Ford Focus ST]
4 Ollie Jackson 48
5 MB Motorsport powered by ROKiT (C) Jake Hill 24 [BMW 330e M Sport]
6 Team BMW (C) Colin Turkington 2 [BMW 330e M Sport]
7 Stephen Jelley 12
8 Toyota GAZOO Racing UK (C) Rory Butcher 6 [Toyota GR Sport Hybrid]
11 Laser Tools Racing Aiden Moffat 16 [Infiniti Q50]
12 Dexter Patterson 55
13 Upton Steel with Team HARD Rick Parfitt Jr. 62 [Infiniti Q50]
14 Team HARD Bobby Thompson 19 [Cupra León]
15 Jack Goff 31
16 Aron Taylor-Smith 40
18 Halfords Racing with Cataclean Daniel Rowbottom 32 [Honda Civic Type R]
19 Gordon Shedden 52
21 EXCELR8 Motorsport Tom Chilton 3 [Hyundai i30 N Performance Fastback]
22 Tom Ingram 80
23 Jack Butel 96
24 Dan Lloyd 123
25 BTC Racing TBA TBA [Honda Civic Type R]
29 Ciceley Motorsport Adam Morgan 33 [BMW 330e M Sport]
30 George Gamble 23
31 Power Maxed Racing Michael Crees 777 [Vauxhall Astra]