The 2016 Dunlop MSA reaches its finale this weekend at , with an unprecedented eight drivers in cars from four manufacturers still in with a chance of taking the big prize.
Coming to the end of a frantic season a record 12 different drivers have triumphed in the 27 races held so far. And it is the West Surrey Racing BMW of Sam Tordoff that holds the advantage going into the final three 15-lap races around the Kent venue’s 2.4-mile GP circuit.
Tordoff has won only twice, but has also recorded consistent points-scoring finishes, which is why he goes into the final meeting with an 11 point advantage over the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R of reigning champion Gordon Shedden. And with up to 67 points on offer at Brands Hatch, it’s all still to play for – though the 27-year-old will never have a better opportunity of becoming the BTCC’s youngest champion in recent memory.
Scotsman Shedden has four 2016 victories to his credit but has also suffered in several races, mechanical issues and getting caught up in other people’s accidents blunting his title challenge. He will need to hope his luck holds if he is to repeat last year’s memorable finale when he came from the back of the grid to deprive Jason Plato of the title.
Shedden also faces just as big a challenge from his own team-mate Matt Neal – written off by some last season, the longest-serving driver in the series and a three-time champion has come back strongly this year with three race wins. Sitting just three points behind Shedden, Neal cannot be discounted in the title fight.
Also having a much stronger year is the second West Surrey BMW of Rob Collard, currently 17 points off the lead having taken two wins and led the points several times during the season. He does have a habit of getting caught up in incidents and will need this not to happen if he is to be a contender.
Coming strong late in the season are the Motorbase Ford Focus pairing of Matt Jackson and 2013 champion Andy Jordan, 21 and 31 points respectively off the lead. Jackson is tied with Shedden with the most race wins this season, four, and could yet spring a surprise to take his first title.
Definite outsiders are the Team BMR Subaru entries of Colin Turkington and Jason Plato. Some 37 and 58 points respectively off the lead, they would need an unprecedented turn of fortune to contend for the title, but this has still been an impressive opening season for the distinctive Subaru Levorg estates, with four wins racked up between the two former champions.
And away from the title fight, every other driver on the 31-car grid will be looking to finish their season on a high and hopefully secure their place in Britain’s biggest motorsport series for 2017. Some, such as the Triple Eight Racing MG6 entries of Ashley Sutton and Josh Cook, the Speedworks Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram, the Mercedes of Adam Morgan, are definite contenders for race wins and taking vital points away from the title battle.
Qualifying is on Saturday afternoon, with the first race due off the grid at 11.32 on Sunday. Check back to The Executivecondominium for all the news from both days.
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