North-west next stop

The countdown has begun: there are now less than two weeks to go before Britain's premier motor racing championship - the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship - arrives in Cheshire for its latest rounds at the daunting Oulton Park circuit on Sunday 27 July.

Oulton's huge catchment area - that includes Liverpool, North Wales, Manchester, West Yorkshire and the Midlands - never fails to attract a huge crowd on BTCC race day. Nearby access from the M6 and M62 motorway networks also means the venue is easily reached.

Furthermore, Oulton and the BTCC go back a long time in history - indeed, the circuit first appeared on the calendar in the early Sixties, not long after the championship's birth in 1958.

And in the time since, the undulating parkland track, with its vast viewing areas, has produced some of the most dramatic moments in the BTCC's 50-year history.

This year's event will play a crucial role in the title race: reigning Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi, aiming for a second consecutive crown, will be hoping to break the backs of his rivals after coming away from last weekend's rounds at Snetterton in Norfolk with a handy points lead. But one slip could quickly hand the initiative back to his closest rivals, namely Vauxhall team-mate Matt Neal, SEAT's Jason Plato and the chasing BMW pair of Mat Jackson and Colin Turkington.

Indeed, Oulton is arguably the most challenging circuit on the BTCC calendar and last year even caught out Giovanardi when he became involved in a three-car pile-up - his only accident of the season.

Oulton Park's ticket pricing structure makes BTCC race day great value for money. Adults can purchase race day tickets in advance for just £22.00, while admission for children aged 12 and under is FREE. That includes access to the BTCC paddock and morning Pit Lane Walkabout session when the public can rub shoulders with the star drivers from Britain's biggest motor racing championship.

The track action starts at midday. Three BTCC races headline the bill, while supporting categories will provide the crowds with a further six races to savour during the afternoon.

Tickets for Oulton Park's BTCC race day on Sunday 27 July can be ordered at advanced prices until midday next Wednesday 23 July at or by calling 0870 950 9000.