British Touring Car Championship - 2016 Mid-Season Report
Currently sitting at the top of the leader board on 168 points, Sam has achieved more podiums than any other BTCC driver this year to date with one 1st, four 2nd and one 3rd place finish. Even when not on the podium the Yorkshireman has scored consistently in his Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport with championship points being gained in 14 of the 15 races held so far, missing out only in the opening round at Brands Hatch. Now in his second year with West Surrey Racing, Sam and his BMW 125i M Sport are clearly a good match and if things continue the way they started Sam could be challenging for the Drivers' Championship trophy come the end of the season.
Despite having only three podium finishes so far this year - two 1st and a 2nd - Rob's consistent point scoring has put him 2nd in the Drivers' Championship on 156 points, just 12 points behind team-mate Sam Tordoff. Rob has been driving for West Surrey Racing for many years now and the fruits of their long-term relationship appear to be getting better and better. Rob is one of only five drivers to have won more than one race so far this season, such is the close and competitive nature of the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. With both their drivers at the top of the championship standings, the WSR-prepared Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sports are currently the cars to beat.
Former BTCC champion Matt is currently 3rd in the standings on 153 points having secured five podium finishes so far this year - two 1st, two 2nd and one 3rd - and is the only driver to have scored championship points in all 15 races. This consistent point scoring has kept Matt in contention despite the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R not always running at the sharp end of the field. If the car can be improved in the second half of the season Matt is well placed to mount a serious challenge for the Drivers' Championship. Matt took the title in 2005, 2006 and 2011 and is keen to add another to his collection.
With two podium finishes under his belt - a 3rd and a 1st at Hampshire's Thruxton circuit - Motorbase Performance driver Andrew finds himself 4th in the Drivers' Championship with 131 points. Apart from taking no points from the 3rd race at Thruxton Andrew has scored points in every race so far this season. The 2013 BTCC champion moved to Motorbase Performance from MG 888 Racing for the 2016 season and, with a little more pace from his Ford Focus, could still challenge for another Drivers' Championship trophy this year.
Jack moved to Team IHG Rewards Club from MG 888 Racing for the 2016 season, driving their WSR-prepared BMW 125i M Sport and despite taking only one podium finish so far this year - a 3rd in the last race at Brands Hatch - is currently 5th in the championship standings on 130 points, just 1 point behind Andrew Jordan. Regularly a top ten finisher, Jack's consistent point scoring has kept him in contention and he is well placed to continue his championship campaign in the second half of the season. Jack's performance means West Surrey Racing have three drivers in the top five of the Drivers' Championship which is an impressive achievement.
Rounding out the top 6 in the Drivers' Championship on 123 points, Tom has taken 4 podium finishes so far this year in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis - one 1st, one 2nd and two 3rd - and were it not for four non-scoring races could be challenging for the lead in the championship standings. If Tom can score consistently in the second half of the season he could present a real threat to the current championship leaders.
Outside the top 6
Only five drivers have won more than one race so far this season yet only two of them - Rob Collard and Matt Neal - are in the top 6 in the standings. Mat Jackson, Adam Morgan and Colin Turkington have also won two races each and currently sit 8th, 10th and 11th in the championship. After a challenging start to the season that included their withdrawal from the Thruxton meeting, Silverline Subaru BMR Racing have shown real potential in the last two meetings with Colin Turkington and Jason Plato taking nine podium finishes between them form the last six races. BTCC rookie Ashley Sutton has also impressed with the MG Racing RCIB Insurance driver already taking one 1st and one 3rd place finish to help him on his way to 7th in the standings.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship resumes at Snetterton on July 30th/31st.
Published 13 July 2016