Wins for Goff, Proctor and Ingram on opening 2018 BTCC weekend
Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram tops the early Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship table after claiming victory in the final race at Brands Hatch today (8 April).
Pole-sitter Jack Goff won the season-opener with a lights-to-flag performance, before Senna Proctor took the spoils in one of the most incredible races in the series’ illustrious 60-year history.
WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Goff produced a stellar display in race one as he fended off Team BMW’s Colin Turkington in a near race-long duel.
Turkington’s biggest chance to seal the win came on lap 14 of 27 as he pulled side-by-side with Goff’s Civic Type R through Clearways. The Honda driver hung on, however, and he was able to fend off Turkington’s advances for the remainder of the race.
BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan completed the rostrum positions, and with it scoring the 100th podium for West Surrey Racing in the BTCC.
Race two will live long in the memory for the thousands who witnessed it at the famous Kent circuit and the many more watching the action live on ITV4.
The contest commenced in wet conditions, but the rain had already stopped prior to lights out, and nearly a third of the field decided to gamble on Dunlop SportMaxx dry tyres.
The first half of the race went the way of the Dunlop BluResponse wet runners and Ingram’s Toyota in particular. Jordan had blasted his BMW past Goff off the line in order to take the lead early on, before the trio enjoyed a fantastic battle for the next ten laps.
Reigning champion Ash Sutton joined the party as he claimed third from a fading Jordan, but the headline story was going on behind as Team HARD’s Mike Bushell became the first driver to set a fastest lap on dry tyres.
Conditions changed dramatically and on lap 22 of 27 the leaders had Aiden Moffat’s Laser Tools Racing Mercedes and Proctor’s Vauxhall Astra all over the back of them. The cars on wet tyres simply couldn’t hang on, with a clear dry line having emerged around the 1.2-mile circuit, so both Moffat and Proctor stormed past the early leaders across the start/finish line.
Jake Hill’s Team HARD-run VW and Ollie Jackson’s AmD-run Audi were also flying and quickly nipped into third and fourth respectively, whilst series returnee Tom Boardman moved into fifth.
The action was far from over, however, as new leader Moffat ran wide through Druids and then contact was made between him and Proctor on the run down to Graham Hill Bend. Moffat’s Mercedes hit the barrier as Proctor inherited the lead, with Hill, Jackson and Boardman following him through.
The crowd were on their feet as the quite staggering encounter drew to a close and it was Proctor who took the chequered flag from Hill and Jackson – providing an all-new BTCC podium. Proctor also became the 18th race-winner in the hugely impressive 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship line-up as the PMR squad also grabbed their first ever victory.
To underline the incredible final positions, the lead trio of Proctor, Hill and Jackson had started the race in 27th, 25th and 12th respectively.
Race three was a tamer affair as Ingram eventually got the better of pole man Rob Austin.
Austin made a stellar getaway off the line in the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulietta as he initially defended from the likes of Jackson’s AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi and Moffat’s Laser Tools Racing Mercedes.
Ingram’s first lap was even better. The Toyota star surged from 11th on the grid up to sixth, and he was also past Mike Bushell’s VW for fifth shortly after.
Jackson began to fade and Ingram was into second by the end of lap seven, before he began hunting down DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing’s Austin.
Ingram made his move for the lead stick on lap 13 as he scythed past Austin on the run to Paddock Hill Bend, and the Speedworks star would never look back – taking his first win of the season and with it the early championship lead.
Adam Morgan in the Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes made fantastic progress throughout the bout and he eventually got by Austin on the penultimate tour to grab second, although the HMS Racing squad would still take a memorable maiden podium with its new car.
BMW hold a slender lead in the Manufacturers’ standings, whilst WIX Racing with Eurotech top the Teams’ order. Ingram and Speedworks also have the early advantage in the Independents’ tables, whilst Honda debutant Dan Cammish claimed Jack Sears Trophy honours.
The BTCC returns in three weeks’ time at Donington Park (28/29 April).
Jack Goff said: “That was the perfect start to the season for WIX Racing with Eurotech and all our amazing sponsors – we’ve all been working flat-out behind-the-scenes over the winter, and if we can end the season in the same position I’ll be well happy! It was extremely greasy out there – the last corner in particular was like an ice-skating rink! Colin had better traction out of Clearways being rear-wheel drive and we had a little rub on one occasion, but he’s a very fair driver and we came out fighting. It’s such a competitive field out there, so to emerge on top of the pile when everyone is on zero ballast means a lot to us.”
Senna Proctor said: “I don’t really know what to say – I didn’t have a speech prepared after the way race one went! I’m over the moon – I’ve winded myself jumping up and down celebrating. This is unbelievable, and all credit to the boys at Power Maxed TAG Racing and all of our sponsors – they’re the reason I’m stood here today. I went round on the green flag lap and said to my engineer, ‘there are a few dry patches forming’, so he replied, ‘let’s put slicks on then’. I said, ‘we’re not going to win the race on wets but we just might on slicks, so let’s give it a go’ – and look what we’ve done! When Aiden went a little bit wide on the brakes at Druids, I was able to seize the opportunity. I’m still waiting to wake up from this dream – it’s amazing. Now I just need to resist drinking this champagne on the podium!”
Tom Ingram said: “Fantastic! What a great end to the weekend. There was a lot of pressure on us coming into this weekend, with people expecting us to qualify on pole and win the first race, but we had a bit of an uphill battle. We genuinely really struggled with pace in free practice and qualifying; the car didn’t feel fantastic, but my engineer Spencer and Christian (Dick, Team Principal) did one hell of a job to give me one hell of a race car today and it was really enjoyable out there. We’ve really found the sweet spot with the Avensis. It was fun being able to just throw it down the inside of people into Clearways – the car was so stable on the brakes. I can’t say enough good things about this team and all our awesome sponsors.”
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 1 – Brands Hatch Indy
1 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech 25 laps
2 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.547s
3 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +2.481s
4 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +3.577s
5 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +11.290s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +12.263s
7 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +14.578s
8 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +15.087s
9 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +15.612s
10 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +15.715s
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 2 – Brands Hatch Indy
1 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing 27 laps
2 Jake HILL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +0.568s
3 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +1.761s
4 Tom BOARDMAN (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +2.393s
5 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +3.348s
6 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +9.395s
7 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +16.386s
8 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +17.145s
9 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +17.770s
10 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +22.213s
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 3 – Brands Hatch Indy
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport 27 laps
2 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +3.237s
3 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +4.202s
4 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +8.939s
5 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +10.376s
6 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +10.500s
7 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +10.992s
8 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +11.913s
9 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +12.068s
10 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +12.503s
James Nash received a verbal warning for an incident involving Senna Proctor
Chris Smiley had 0.6s added to his race time for gaining an unfair advantage in an incident involving James Cole
Tom Boardman received a verbal warning for an incident involving Matt Neal
Senna Proctor received a verbal warning for an incident involving Aiden Moffat
Mike Bushell received an official reprimand and his licence was endorsed with two points for an incident involving Aiden Moffat
Ash Sutton received a verbal warning for an incident involving James Nash
Senna Proctor received an official reprimand and his licence was endorsed with two points incident involving James Nash
Stephen Jelley received an official reprimand and his licence was endorsed with two points for an incident involving Tom Chilton
Jack Goff received a verbal warning for an incident involving Ollie Jackson