The countdown has begun for motor sport fans all across the south of Britain: there are now less than three weeks to go before Britain's premier motor racing series - the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship - arrives at the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit in Kent on Sunday 21 September for its final, title-deciding rounds of 2008.
After 27 races shown on ITV, the Brands Hatch crowds will see either Italian Fabrizio Giovanardi or Briton Jason Plato crowned as Champion of the UK's most watched championship.
Vauxhall ace Giovanardi (pictured leading, right) is the red hot favourite after further extending his lead over SEAT superstar Plato at Silverstone on Sunday. But, with the drivers' nerves on edge, Finals Day has a reputation for throwing up last-minute surprises and, with three races still to be run, the experienced Giovanardi will be taking nothing for granted. Plato - if unable to steal the title - will at least hope to end the season with more race wins than any of his rivals. He has eight victories so far this season compared to Giovanardi's five.
And the event will have great historical significance - it was at Brands Hatch in 1958 that the BTCC's first-ever race was run and, later, also where the inaugural title was decided. It is therefore fitting that in this, the BTCC's 50th anniversary season, the championship should be settled on the very same track - Brands' exciting Indy circuit.
In addition to Giovanardi's and Plato's battle to become outright Champion, there will be two more prestigious BTCC titles up for grabs. Rival BMW drivers Colin Turkington and Mat Jackson and Adam Jones, in his SEAT, can all still win the Independent Drivers' crown. Adding to the pressure, Turkington and Jackson are hoping to lead their respective squads - Team RAC or BMW Dealer Team UK - to Independent Teams' honours as well.
Also on the BTCC grid and hoping for plenty of local support from the packed spectator banks and grandstands will be the Wrotham-based Motorbase team which, with its pair of BMWs, has emerged as a potent force in its third season of competing at the highest level. Drivers Steven Kane and Robert Collard have achieved second-place finishes in recent rounds and team principal David Bartrum would clearly love nothing more than to celebrate a maiden race win in the BTCC on home ground...
Brands Hatch's BTCC Finals Day on 21 September offers truly exceptional value for money entertainment for the visiting public. In addition to the BTCC's final three races of the year, five supporting championships - Ginetta Juniors, Porsche Carreras, Formula Renault single-seaters, Renault Clios and SEAT Cupras - will also be on the track, adding seven more races to the schedule. The Ginetta, Porsche, Formula Renault and SEAT title outcomes all still hang in the balance.
Admission for children aged 12 and under is FREE, while adult race day tickets cost just £22.00 if booked via Brands Hatch's website brandshatch.co.uk
All prices include access to the hugely popular Pit Lane Walkabout session at lunchtime when the public - including children - are invited to cross the track to meet the BTCC stars for autographs, photos and plenty of give-aways.