BTCC greats gearing up ...

for anniversary celebrations at Silverstone

Past, present and future Champions and drivers from the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) were at Silverstone today to help launch the Northamptonshire circuit’s plans to celebrate the 50th, 60th and 80th Anniversaries  of  the  BTCC,  Silverstone  and  British  Racing  Drivers’  Club  (BRDC)  respectively,  at  this year’s  round  of  the  2008  HiQ  MSA  British  Touring  Car  Championship  on  the  last  weekend  in  August (30/31  August). 

In  addition  to  celebrating  the  three  special  anniversaries,  Silverstone  is  also  looking forward to the BTCC’s return to the Home of British Motor Racing. To launch the anniversary celebrations Silverstone invited a number of past and present BTCC drivers to meet  at  the  historic  circuit,  itself  celebrating  60  years  since  hosting  the  first-ever  British  Grand  Prix  in 1948. BTCC drivers Mat Jackson, Colin Turkington, Matt Neal, Jason Plato, Tim Harvey, David Brodie, Andy Rouse and Jack Sears (l to r) BTCC cars SEAT Leon TDi, BMW 320si E90, Audi Quattro A4 Super Tourer, Ford Escort, Ford Mustang, Austin Westminster A105 and a Riley 1.5 (l to r) BTCC  legends  Sir  Jack  Sears  –  winner  of  the  inaugural  British  Saloon  Car  Championship,  as  it  was known back then, in 1958; Andy Rouse –  winner of a record 60 races and four BTCC titles (1975, and 1983-1985); Dave Brodie –  a former BRDC Director who won his first ever BTCC race at Silverstone in 1963;  and  Tim  Harvey  –  1992  BTCC  Champion  and  Director  of  the  BRDC  Superstars  initiative,  joined current drivers Jason Plato, Matt Neal and Colin Turkington at the BRDC Clubhouse to talk about great British Touring Car moments of the past, and Silverstone’s round of the Championship on 30/31 August.

Current BTCC driver Mat Jackson, a BRDC Superstar and one of the UK’s most talented young drivers, also attended the event, and was proud of his association with the BRDC. Many of the BRDC’s Members have  a  long-established  association  with  BTCC,  including  Jason  Plato  and  Matt  Neal  who  are  both winners of the Club’s prestigious Silver Award. A range of winning BTCC competition cars, spanning the five decades of the series, were also on display. An Austin Westminster A105 and Riley 1.5 from the late 50s, a Mustang and Escort representing Ford’s participation through the 60s, 70s and 80s, an Audi Quattro A4 from the 90s, and the current SEAT Leon TDi and BMW 320si E90 all featured in a photo call alongside the distinguished driver line-up.

Speaking at the launch, Jack Sears commented, “It means a great deal to me that the BTCC is coming back to Silverstone. Seeing the first Grand Prix and Saloon Cars race, and then racing here myself for the first time in 1950, has always made Silverstone special to me. To be here 50 years later, and to see the enthusiasm of the current BTCC drivers gives me great pleasure.” Andy Rouse, the UK’s most successful BTCC driver of all time, added, “Silverstone is the Home of British Motor  Racing  and  I  have  many  happy  memories  of  racing  here  in  the  BTCC,  especially  on  Grand  Prix day. It is only right that Silverstone hosts a touring car race. There has been some great action here over the years and I’m sure that will continue.” SEAT  Sport  UK  driver,  Jason  Plato,  commented,  “I  think  it’s  really  important  that  BTCC  comes  to  the Home of British Motor Racing, the epicentre of all things motor sport in the UK. It’s a great venue and one we should definitely be at.” BRDC Superstar Mat Jackson, added, “The 50th and 60th anniversaries of the BTCC and Silverstone are fantastic  landmarks.  It  would  be  a  great  privilege  to  take  the  win  here  and  hopefully  head  away  with  a result that would go down in history.”

Fans will once again be able to enjoy the wheel-to-wheel action of the highly-charged domestic series at the UK’s premier motorsport venue, after Silverstone’s absence from the calendar in 2007. Silverstone will showcase  what  promises  to  be  a  nail-biting  penultimate  racing  weekend  in  the  BTCC  calendar  and  to celebrate the series’ golden jubilee there are a number of anniversary activities planned to take place over the two-day event. British drivers Matt Neal, BRDC Superstar Mat Jackson, Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Tom Onlsow- Cole are all currently locked in battle at the top of the drivers’ leaderboard and will be desperate to clinch the  title  from  defending  champion,  Italian  Fabrizio  Giovanardi. 

With  only  three  rounds  to  go  before  the penultimate event at Silverstone, you can guarantee that everyone in this exhilarating series will be going all out to claim valuable points and wrap up the championship ahead of the final race of the season. Spectators will be able to watch the drama unfold over an action-packed weekend featuring not only the three BTCC races on Silverstone's tight 1.6 mile National Circuit, but a superb line-up of support races, including the Porsche Carrera Cup, Renault Clio Cup, Formula Renault UK Championship, SEAT Cupra Championship and Ginetta Junior Championship, providing fans with a full day of top class entertainment. It is a weekend not to be missed by motor racing fans as the tin-top action is fast and furious, with plenty of thrills and spills to wow the crowds.

Away from the track race-goers will also enjoy free access to the centre of the circuit and BTCC paddock, while   a   spectacular   Red   Devils   parachute   display,   driver   autograph   sessions   and   FREE   family entertainment,  including  fairground  rides  –  in  addition  to  taster  experiences  such  as  the  Caterham Autotest  (Saturday  and  Sunday)  and  helicopter  pleasure  rides  (Saturday  and  Sunday)  –  will  add  to  the festival atmosphere and ensure there’s plenty to keep younger fans entertained.

Richard  Phillips,  Managing  Director  of Silverstone Circuits Limited, looks ahead to the race weekend in August, “The British Touring Car Championship is the premier domestic racing series in the UK and we are  delighted  to  see  it  back  where  it  belongs  at  the  Home  of  British  Motor  Racing,  especially  for  2008 when the series, Silverstone as a circuit, and the BRDC are all celebrating such prestigious anniversaries. “The  BTCC  is  a  fantastic  British  Championship  and  we  are  looking  forward  to  hosting  the  penultimate round. We’re expecting a good turn out from the fans and would encourage them to book their tickets in advance, taking advantage of race day prices of only £23 - which includes a grandstand seat.”

Tickets  for  the  Silverstone  round  of  the  HiQ  MSA  British  Touring  Car  Championship,  taking  place  on 30/31 August, have been priced at an attractive £15 for the Saturday and £23 for the Sunday, if booked in advance (£15 and £30 respectively on the day). Meanwhile, Weekend Tickets offer great value at £27, in advance,  for  both  days.  Children  aged  15  years  and  under,  accompanied  by  an  adult,  go  free,  while parking,  roving  grandstand  seating,  Paddock  access  and  centre  transfer  are  all  also  included  in  these special prices. To book tickets, or for further information, visit silverstone.co.uk or call 08704 588 260.