Are we looking at a British Touring Car Championship GOAT?
That’s the question that series watchers are asking when it comes to reigning champion Ash Sutton. The greatest of all time? Well, three titles in just six seasons sure is a stunning return for the 28-year-old, and now he bids for a record-equalling fourth not only with a new team and car but also having switched from rear-wheel to front-wheel drive. That’s a tall order in itself, without also factoring in the biggest BTCC technical shake-up in a generation as hybrid power comes to Britain’s top motorsport series. It’s a giant season all round for the BTCC.
The 2022 action will begin on 24 April at Donington Park, the first of 10 rounds. Three bump-and-grind races in a day featuring the cream of Britain’s best tin-top talent remains a huge crowd-pleaser, either in the metal at the circuits or remotely via ITV4’s excellent live TV coverage.
Ahead of the red lights going out, we called on ITV4’s co-commentator, 1992 BTCC champion Tim Harvey, to guide us through the major talking points – and there are plenty of them, too, following a winter of surprise driver and team switches.
In rude health
A grid of 30 cars carrying the colours of a bountiful mix of sponsors is a sure sign that the BTCC has emerged from the pandemic in fine fettle.
“If you look at the number of genuine commercial sponsors, it has never looked better,” says Harvey, who admits that he was worried what effect Covid would ravage on the series. “I was sceptical to say the least. To attract commercial partners when you can’t offer any tickets to events or hospitality, purely relying on the TV and specialist press media coverage, was tough.”