As if the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship wasn’t frenetic enough, six of the series’ leading lights are going to get a new experience in Ipswich this weekend.
Autocar’s sister publication Motorsport News has invited some of the top BTCC men to Foxhall Heath stadium to take part in a pukka Hot Rod race.
MN has borrowed six top cars and the BTCC men are set to go head to head in a 10-lap shootout. The race will take place before the Thunder 500 event on Saturday in front of thousands of spectators and is part of Motorsport News’s 60th birthday celebrations.
Regular Audi A4 racer Rob Austin, BMW 125i M Sport battler Rob Collard, Toyota Avensis charger Tom Ingram, factory MG6 man Andrew Jordan, Mercedes-Benz A-Class star Aiden Moffat and Volkswagen CC ace Aron Smith have all taken up the challenge.
National Hot Rod racing takes place at a variety of venues up and down the country throughout the year. The cars are spaceframed and are powered by a 2.0-litre engine (most use a Vauxhall unit, although some are fitted with a Ford Duratec engine).
They race throughout the season for points and then the leading points scorers contest the 75-lap World Final at Ipswich’s quarter-mile oval at the end of June in order to find a champion.
Because the circuits are so tight and only have two right-handers, it is easy for the leading cars to defend. That means most overtaking moves have to happen the long way round – on the demanding outside line.
Jordan, the 2013 BTCC champion, is always up for a challenge. As the Motorsport News track tester, he has sampled a whole range of machines. He also recently took part in the World Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill. However, switching to Hot Rods will be something new for him.
“I love how there is no nonsense in this type of racing,” said Jordan, who used to spectate regularly at Hot Rod meetings.
“Yes the racing is very hard but in a good way," he added. "You don’t often see people in Hot Rods just driving into each other. It seems to be a subtle nibble here and there – some BTCC drivers could learn the difference between a hard but fair move and a stupid one by watching National Hot Rods.
“Rob Collard and Aiden Moffat will be the ones to beat with their backgrounds [both started out racing on short ovals], but either way, it should be great to compete in and a great spectacle to watch. You never know - if I like the racing and car then a National Hot Rod may be the next car I build…”