After 24 races in packed into 4 months, the 2020 BTCC season comes to a head in one week’s time at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit with five drivers still in the hunt for the title.
Here we go through the contenders and I rate their chances of taking the crown next Sunday.
Contender 1 – Rory Butcher – Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST Mk. IV
Rory Butcher and Motorbase have had a good season, especially given that this is the first season for the Focus ST Mk. IV, however Butcher’s chances of taking his first BTCC title are less than slim.
Had luck been on Butcher’s side throughout the season he may have been higher up on this list, but two punctures in three races at Brands Hatch GP and a horror crash at Silverstone put paid to any realistic title aspirations.
With a maximum of 67 points available and currently 63 points behind the championship leader, Butcher will likely fall out of title contention after race 1.
Championship chances – 0.5/10
Contender 2 – Tom Ingram – Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters Toyota Corolla
Tom Ingram has been typically swashbuckling throughout 2020 and since his double victory at Thruxton he has been there or thereabouts in the championship standings.
However, two non-points finishes at Silverstone have put him on the back foot leaving him with a 34 point deficit to make up at Brands Hatch.
The Corolla should be well suited to the Indy layout and could very well find himself in the midst of a fraught title battle at the final race of the year.
Championship chances – 6/10
Contender 3 – Dan Cammish – Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R
The 2020 season started perfectly for Dan Cammish, taking victory to rid some of the demons from the final race of 2019 in which his title hopes were lost after brake failure at Brands Hatch.
However his season unravelled after a double non-points score at Brands Hatch GP and a five race streak without getting onto the podium.
Despite this, Cammish’s consistency has been key to his challenge and sits just 25 points behind the championship leader and has a good chance to take his first title.
Championship chances – 7.5/10
Contender 4 – Ash Sutton – Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50
Ash Sutton’s season has been characterised by peaks and troughs, particularly when comparing his qualifying and race performances.
And although the high point of his season was the double victory at Knockhill, he hasn’t won since, with his qualifying particularly affecting his chances on Sundays.
The Infiniti is also rather unpredictable with it’s race performance with Sutton able to charge through the field with ease on some weekends and other weekends finding the car just isn’t quite where he needs it to be to unleash the massive pace both he and the car have.
Should the Infiniti turn up at Brands in a competitive manner, a second title in four seasons may well be on the cards.
Championship chances – 9/10
Contender 5 – Colin Turkington – Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport
Surely the 4-time champion, in arguably the best car, is favourite, especially with the 9-point lead he holds coming into the weekend?
Yes, yes he is.
It’s an unsurprising tag for Turkington who not only has the benefits listed above but is someone who knows the BMW 330i will be competitive in any weather and, most importantly, he’s been in this position before.
He’s come into the final weekend in championship contention five times before, winning four (in ’09, ’14, ’18, ’19) and finishing runner up to Sutton in 2017 and that experience will be key at a cold Brands Hatch in the middle of November.
Barring any mechanical issues or rogue team mates Turkington should find himself on the grid for race three with the title in his grasp.
Championship chances – 9.5/10
Unsurprisingly I have put Turkington as my favourite with Sutton in close contention and I fully expect the both of them to battle it out until the final lap of the final race.
Cammish and Ingram have a good chance but will require mis-steps from the leaders and although you might get one of them to underperform, for both to have a bad weekend does seem unlikely and Butcher is just too far behind to have a realistic chance.
But as we all know, BTCC finales are rarely simple and pretty much anything could happen come next Sunday.