Locals Neal, Jordan, Austin & Jackson chasing Plato & MG
The famous East Midlands circuit of Donington Park will host the region’s biggest motor racing event of the year this weekend (14/15 April) when the stars of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship arrive for the latest three races of their action-packed season.For tens of thousands of fans from its huge surrounding catchment area – including the cities of Birmingham, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham – the picturesque parkland circuit’s spectacular swoops have conjured up some of the BTCC’s most memorable and controversial moments down the years.Tickets for Donington’s big BTCC race day (Sun 15 April) remain priced at just £25 if booked in advance from the official donington-park.co.uk website or the hotline 0844 873 7343 while admission for accompanied children aged 15 and under is FREE for the whole weekend. All admission includes access to the teams’ paddock and a specially organised pit lane autograph session with the BTCC’s star drivers.And after the sensation of the opening three races at Brands Hatch, Kent the timing for Britain’s premier motor racing championship to make its annual visit to Donington could not be better.Worcestershire’s Matt Neal and Rob Austin, Staffordshire’s Andrew Jordan and Warwickshire’s Mat Jackson were all big points scorers at Brands Hatch and will surely be out for glory at their home circuit on the first weekend after Easter. Indeed, reigning Champion Neal from Droitwich Spa got the defence of his crown off to a flying start with a victory in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team’s brand new Civic racer.Lichfield’s Jordan was twice on the podium with a pair of second places in his Pirtek Racing Civic while Pershore’s Austin and Henley-in-Arden’s Jackson were never far away from the top three places in their Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 and Redstone Racing Ford Focus respectively.But out-scoring them all on the day and giving the iconic MG name a winning return to the BTCC was double Champion Jason Plato in his new MG KX Momentum Racing team’s MG6. It is Plato who will arrive at Donington holding a slender points advantage over Neal and then Jordan with Austin in fifth and Jackson eighth. Significantly in fourth is eBay Motors BMW ace Robert Collard who also won at Brands – his first victory since Donington in 2009.Furthermore Donington is also a ‘home event’ for the BTCC’s two privateer Toyota teams, Dynojet and Speedworks Motorsport – the Avensis model they both race originated from the manufacturer’s successful plant in nearby Burnaston, Derbyshire. Proton, Vauxhall and VW are also represented on the grid meaning no fewer than nine different car makes for enthusiasts to cheer.In addition to three bumper-to-bumper BTCC races, a high-profile supporting bill from the Ginetta GT Supercup, Ginetta Junior, Porsche Carrera Cup and Renault Clio Cup categories will add to the value-for-money entertainment during the weekend. On the Clio Cup grid will be Nicolas Hamilton – brother of British Formula 1 hero Lewis Hamilton.