BTCC at Brands Hatch GP

In an incredibly final weekend, Gordon Shedden took another championship win at Brands Hatch, taking his total to three now. It was Colin Turkington and Mat Jackson who took the race wins, but they were only a few of the stars of the weekend.

Race One

Best Start

Compared to most BTCC races, there wasn’t much change on the opening lap of race one at Brands Hatch. There were a few drivers at the top of the field moving up and down a few places, but the real change came from further back.

Tom Ingram was disqualified from qualifying, so was forced to start at the back of the grid, putting him in the perfect place to move forward. Ingram made up eight places on the opening lap.
The next best starter was Mat Jackson, who moved forwards four places.

Highest Rookie

Going for the Jack Sears trophy win, Ashley Sutton was back on form after a handful of difficult rounds. The rookie finished ninth, over thirteen seconds faster than the next rookie, Michael Epps, who finished twelfth.

Best Climber

Ingram had already shown he had pace during qualifying, and the eight places in the opening lap were only the beginning of the Speedworks’ driver climb through the field.

After starting at the back of the grid, Ingram finished fourteenth, seventeen places higher than he’d started.

The next best climber was Jeff Smith, who improved ten places from his P29 starting position.

Most Improved on Last Round

Josh Cook was excluded from the first race at Silverstone, making him, unsurprisingly, the most improved on last round when he finished third in the first round at Brands Hatch.

The most improved driver who did manage to finish the Silverstone round was Gordon Shedden. Shedden was the last finisher at Silverstone, finishing a lap down on the race winner. That gave him a twenty third place finish, which wouldn’t have been much good for his championship campaign at Brands Hatch. The Honda driver finished fifth at Brands Hatch, an eighteen place improvement.

Race Two

Best Start

Like race one, there was few place changes on the opening lap. As always, the drivers at the back of the field made up the most places in lap one. Andy Jordan started from the back of the field, and made up six laps on his first tour of the Brands Hatch GP circuit. Warren Scott started a little higher on the grid, twenty sixth, but also made up six places on lap one.

Highest Rookie

Still battling for the Jack Sears trophy, Michael Epps was the best finishing rookie in the second race at Brands Hatch. The MG driver finished sixteenth overall, three places ahead of the next best rookie, Matt Simpson.

Ashley Sutton retired from the race.

Best Climber

After his early retirement from race one, Jordan lined up on the back row of the grid. His impressive recovery drive may have started in the opening lap, but it didn’t stop there. Jordan moved up eighteen places over the seventeen laps, finishing inside the points.

The next best climbers were Hunter Abbott, who started just ahead of Jordan and made up thirteen places through the race, and Aron Smith, who started twenty seventh and also made up thirteen places.

Most Improved on Last Round

Unusually, the person who improved the most on their Silverstone Race 2 performance didn’t retire from the Silverstone round. Jake Hill did have a difficult race though, finishing twenty seventh of twenty nine finishers. His P12 finish at Brands Hatch was an improvement of fifteen places.

The next most improved driver was Jeff Smith, who finished twenty first at Silverstone. He improved fourteen places for the Brands Hatch round, finishing just ahead of Hill in eleventh at Brands Hatch.

Race Three

Best Start

There were few drivers significantly improving their position on the opening lap. As always, the biggest improvers were those at the back of the grid.

Rob Austin started from the penultimate row of the grid, and made up seven places on the opening lap. Ashley Sutton, who started alongside him, was the next best starter, making up six places.

Highest Rookie

Matt Simpson was the took the rookie win in the final round of the 2016 British Touring Car Championship. The Speedworks driver finished eighteenth, three places ahead of the next best rookie, Kelvin Fletcher.

All the rookies managed to finish the race, but most seemed to have a tough time.

Best Climber

Again, most drivers didn’t manage to climb too higher than their starting positions over the eighteen laps in the final race of the championship, if at all. Austin made up the most places, finishing fifteen places higher than his P27 starting position.

The next best climber was Jack Goff, who improved by seven places throughout the race.

Most Improved on Last Round

Once again, the driver with the most improved performance on the final race at Silverstone didn’t actually finish the Silverstone race. Tom Ingram was the third retiree at the penultimate round of the championship, making his sixth place at Brands Hatch an improvement of twenty two places.

Few people who actually finished the Silverstone race made big improvements. The biggest came from Adam Morgan, who finished twenty third at Silverstone. His P4 in the final race of the championship was an improvement of nineteen places.

Image credit: Caroline Rhea

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