There have been six different winners in the British Touring Car Championship from the six races held so far this season, and there is a strong likelihood that there will be a fresh face at the top of the rostrum at Thruxton on 8 May.
Consistency is what wins the British Touring Car Championship. however. That might sound like stating the bleeding obvious, but it is crucial in the BTCC. People tend to think of the bumper-crunching BTCC with cars firing off the road in all directions, but that is far from the case, and certainly not for those who go for the title.
Just checking back over the last four seasons – since the championship switched to a 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points system – it is clear that to win the title, finishes are essential. There are extra points for leading laps, setting pole in the timed qualifying session and setting the fastest laps too.
In 2012, Gordon Shedden took the championship trophy in his Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R with a points tally of 408. Average that out over the 10 meetings, and that means he scored an average of 40.8 points per weekend. That means, in effect, he would have to finish in an average of fourth place across the 30 rounds – which is a terribly hard thing to do.
It is the same average for Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R driver Andrew Jordan, who claimed 397 points on his way to the top in 2013. That is also a fourth place average.
Even more impressive is Colin Turkington, who prevailed in his WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport in 2015. His average means that he would have had to finish in third place across the 30 rounds. In 2015, it was Shedden’s title again with an average finishing position of fifth place.
So far this season, Matt Neal is atop the standings in his Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R, and he has an average finishing position of fourth place. Of course, that is going to change over the course of the next 27 races. There are many demands in the BTCC, from the soft tyres that drivers have to use in one of the three races across a weekend meeting, to the large lumps of success ballast that are bolted into the passenger footwell of the most prolific winning cars.
Add to that the competitive nature of the championship and then it is pretty clear that it is extremely tough to conquer the BTCC. It doesn’t come easy.