Ash Sutton is a record-equalling four-time British Touring Car Champion, clinching the crown with two wins around the legendary Brands Hatch GP circuit last weekend.
The 29-year-old achieved a record-matching six pole positions and 12 race wins during the campaign, becoming the first driver to claim the title in both rear-wheel and front-wheel-drive machinery.
The only driver to previously score six pole positions in a season was James Thompson in 2003 and the sole racer to take 12 race wins was Alain Menu back in 1997. Sutton’s four crowns now match Andy Rouse and Colin Turkington.
Sutton was chased home all the way by runner-up and outgoing champion Tom Ingram, as the Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 man finished second in both of the opening two races.
"It feels phenomenal, I don’t know what to say, I genuinely don’t know what to say," said Sutton. "The car has been absolutely mega, I can’t thank NAPA Racing UK enough and everyone that’s involved. Four-time BTCC champion… come on!"
"It's such a relief I’ll be honest, as much as we had a huge points gap, Tom [Ingram] was right, it has been all ours to lose. One bad race and it could have all suddenly swung round... People have spoken about records and that’s great. We always want to keep fighting! But the special bit is being the first driver to claim it in both a front-wheel-drive and a rear-wheel-drive. That was what we were ultimately chasing because I don't plan to end on four."
BMW ended its 2023 campaign on a high as Jake Hill won the final encounter for Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport, although the Bavarian marque just fell short in its quest to win an eighth successive manufacturers’ title.
That honour went to the NAPA Racing UK/Ford outfit, as did the Teams’ title, whilst Josh Cook and his One Motorsport with Starline Racing squad took Independent Drivers’ and Teams’ laurels.
The Jack Sears Trophy – which has been a five-way scrap throughout the year – was eventually won by CarStore Power Maxed Racing’s Andrew Watson in his rookie BTCC season.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns next April with the opening rounds of the 2024 season taking place at Donington Park.
Sutton seals the deal with race one success
NAPA Racing UK’s Sutton took a lights-to-flag victory in the opening contest, as he moved into an unassailable lead in the race for the title.
It was a fitting victory for the undisputed star of the 2023 BTCC season, and equally fitting that he was followed home by his main championship challenger – Ingram.
The Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 man kept Sutton honest throughout the race and had one final attack at victory following a late safety car period, but it remained unchanged until the finish as wild celebrations ensued in the NAPA Racing UK garage.