It's Ford Capri versus Rover SD1 at Brands Hatch during 1982
Former motorbike racer Stuart Graham effectively turned his hand to cars
Rickard Rydell leads the field at Brands Hatch in 1995, the height of the Super Touring era
Inaugural champion Jack Sears in his Austin Westminster in 1958
Tommy Sopwith collects the winner's plaudits in 1958. Note Autocar banner, top left
Jack Sears and Gawaine Baillie scrap in their 3.4 Jaguars at Snetterton
Jim Clark in a Ford Galaxie at Brands Hatch in 1963
John Whitmore leads Jackie Stewart at a packed Brands Hatch in 1964
Jim Clark gets crossed up in his Lotus Cortina at Snetterton in 1966
Vic Elford races to third place at Brands Hatch in his Porsche 911 in 1967
Big power ruled the late 1960s. Frank Gardner leads in his Ford Falcon
David Hobbs leads Brian Muir in Ford Falcons at Silverstone in 1968
Frank Gardner was champion in this Ford Escort twincam in 1968
Gerry Marshall bunny hops his Triumph Dolomite in pursuit of a Ford Capri
Richard Lloyd heads Bernard Unett at Silverstone in 1977
Gerry Marshall at speed in a Ford Capri at Brands Hatch in 1978
Autocar sponsored the Gordon Spice Racing Ford Capris of Spice and Andy Rouse
Rex Greenslade's mighty Rover SD1 at speed in 1980
Richard Longman leads the way in his Ford Escort at Silverstone in 1984
The mid-1980s Ford Escort was never a major success in the BTCC
Chris Hodgetts and Toyota won the title twice in the class-based era
BMW stalwart Frank Sytner was overall BTCC title winner in 1988
Andy Rouse (left) was one of the stars of the Ford Sierra Cosworth era
Vauxhall's near-standard Astra flourished during the class-based BTCC era
Robb Gravett dominated the 1990 championship in his Trakstar Sierra Cosworth
Tim Harvey (BMW M3) leads John Cleland (Vauxhall Cavalier) in 1991
Will Hoy leads team-mate Ray Bellm in their Listerine BMW M3s in 1991
Contentious clash between Steve Soper and John Cleland in 1992 handed title to Soper's team-mate, Tim Harvey
Renault used the 19 when it joined the BTCC in 1993, but soon switched to the new Laguna
Paul Radisich scored Ford's 200th BTCC race win during the 1993 season
Toyota team-mates Will Hoy and Julian Bailey came to blows at Silverstone in 1993
The Volvo 850 Estate generated headlines in 1994, but wasn't a race winner
Steve Soper, here in a BMW, was one of the BTCC's quickest-ever drivers
Gabriele Tarquini destroyed his Alfa Romeo in this monster shunt at Knockhill in 1995
John Cleland took the venerable Vauxhall Cavalier to the spoils in 1995
Audi brought four-wheel drive to the BTCC and scooped the 1996 crown
Vauxhall switched to the less-successful Vectra for the 1996 season
Yvan Muller and Rickard Rydell do battle during the 1997 season
Alain Menu was one of the most consistent frontrunners in the Super Touring era
Matt Neal made his name as a privateer in this Nissan Primera in the late 1990s
Rickard Rydell and Anthony Reid duke it out at the televised Brands Hatch race in 1998
Swiss ace Alain Menu collected his second BTCC title with Ford in 2000
Vauxhall, Peugeot and MG (in the sand) fought in the early 2000s
A fresh-faced Jason Plato took the 2001 crown in his works Vauxhall Astra
Honda joined the fray to take on Vauxhall and MG in the 2003 season
Yvan Muller and Jason Plato – one of the BTCC's classic rivalries
Fabrizio Giovanardi claimed back-to-back titles with Vauxhall in 2007 and 2008
Colin Turkington fends off Yvan Muller en route to the 2009 championship
Factory Honda team-mates Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden during 2012
2012 champ Gordon Shedden monsters the kerbs in his Honda Civic
Andrew Jordan celebrates his popular success at Brands Hatch in 2013
Colin Turkington takes the BTCC crown in 2014
Since it began in the late 1950s, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has thrilled legions of fans with its closely fought action in cars that resemble those driven on the road – cosmetically at least.
Known as the British Saloon Car Championship from its launch in 1958, the Jaguars, Rileys and Austins that competed in the early days were extremely close to showroom specification, but it wasn’t long before specialist racing teams began to extract more power and better road-holding from their cars.
In the 1960s, the era of all-rounder drivers, it wasn’t unknown for the likes of Jim Clark and Graham Hill to compete in touring car events during their off-weekends from Formula 1 duty.
The series began to take on a familiar shape in the 1970s, when it was possible for a privateer team to get their hands on a Ford Capri and compete at the front of the grid.
Into the 1980s, the BTCC took on a more cosmopolitan air as foreign manufacturers saw the value of proving the potential of their latest vehicles on the track. This was especially true of the increasingly competitive Japanese marques such as Toyota and Mazda, both champions during this varied era.
The end of the decade was all about the spectacular, fire-breathing Ford Sierra Cosworths, and the championship enjoyed a significant upswing in popularity as television coverage brought it to a wider audience.
One challenge for fans was that the BTCC used a complex class-based format that often meant the drivers fighting tooth-and-nail for race wins were not necessarily those lifting the title at the end of the year.
The 1990s brought a simplified rule structure and new technical regulations that set the template for touring car racing around the globe. Manufacturers embraced the new-look BTCC, as did spectators, as a host of superstar names were tempted to race in the domestic series.
Although the Super Touring formula eventually faded, new rules were devised that kept costs under tighter control and enabled privateer entrants to compete on a level playing field with factory-backed teams.
That was evident in 2013, when the privately run Honda Civic of Andrew Jordan claimed the BTCC crown.
In last year's championship, a dominant Colin Turkington secured victory in his BMW M135i, bringing him his second BTCC crown having also won the title in 2009.
For 2015 there are plenty of changes to the field. Infiniti has now entered the championship, lending its support to a new not-for-profit team Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing, Andrew Jordan has moved to MG and will race with Jack Goff, and Andy Prialux is returning to the sport in a WSR BMW.
Nicolas Hamilton also enters the sport, racing in an Audi S3, while Honda's new Civic Type R will also see action on the track. All in all, the 2015 BTCC grid has secured 32 entries, with Jason Plato setting the fastest time in testing ahead of the first round at Brands Hatch this weekend.
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