MOTOR racing fans from across the New Forest flocked to join one of the biggest crowds of the century at Hampshire’s Thruxton circuit for the fastest racing of the year in the televised Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
Andrew Jordan was the star of the show at the famous venue, taking victory in the first two races of the day in his BMW Pirtek Racing 330i M Sport.
BTC Racing’s Josh Cook also enjoyed the podium’s top step for winning race three after shattering some carbon fibre nudging Hampshire’s Rob Collard’s Vauxhall while braking for the chicane in the spectacular racing around Britain’s fastest track.
Another winner with the crowds was the revived inclusion of two classic Mini support races that were just as thrilling as the professional touring car aces in a full programme of support series’ action with qualifying ensuring the best-attended Saturday in 20 years, while grassy bankings were packed and grandstands at the chicanes sold out as racing got underway on Sunday.
In total there were 14 outstanding races, headlined by the BTCC but just as gripping with the contests from Formula 4, Ginettas and Minis as rain threatened but held off.
The state-of-the-art Thruxton Centre opened just a year ago was a hive of activity throughout the weekend with VIP tickets sold out.
Circuit director Bill Coombs said: “The thrills and spills of the BTCC were there for all to see, but the entire bill of racing provided such great entertainment. The Minis were a wonderful addition to the line-up and seeing so many of them slipstreaming and getting sideways was a real joy.”
In the first touring car race Sam Tordoff made a stunning start from pole, having set a new lap record of 1m15.511s on Saturday.
Jordan jumped Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish into second while defending champion and West Surrey Racing star Colin Turkington, Tordoff’s team-mate Rory Butcher and Sterling Insurance Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato led the chasing pack.
In the first race Jordan scored his second win of the season, leading Tordoff and Cammish to the flag.
It was a BMW one-two in the second race as Jordan led Turkington followed by Cammish while in their wake there were skirmishes and scrapes aplenty, with some retirements.
Collard produced a heart-in-mouth moment on the grass alongside Rory Butcher and Aidan Moffatt’s Mercedes got sideways at the final chicane, hampering Team Parker Racing’s Stephen Jelley in brilliant wheel-to-wheel action.
In the reverse grid final race Cook got the best launch and snatched the lead before the safety car was called into action following contact between Collard and the Mercedes of Adam Morgan.
Jordan’s strong weekend ended sourly when the BMW Pirtek star was tipped around by Stephen Jelley on the restart, but things were calmer near the front as Cook showed great pace to hold a comfortable lead ahead of Butcher who passed Sutton on lap five, keeping his cool through a second safety car period to move level with Turkington at the top of the championship.
The 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship resumes on June 15/16, heading north to Croft. But fans have another chance to witness top level touring car racing at Thruxton when the BTCC field makes a second visit to the circuit on 17th/18th August.
In the meantime, supporters can get their fill of automotive action at the Thruxton Motorsport Celebration on 1st/2nd June where there will be a mouth-watering array of sensational sportscars, flame-spitting saloons and evocative single-seaters.
The annual event, founded following the success of the 50th anniversary celebration, will feature on-track demonstrations in addition to stunning Battle of Britain flypasts as the past comes back to life at the fastest circuit in the country.