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Record Breaking Year: BTCC to host 7 Champions in 2014

The upcoming 2014 BTCC season was already shaping up to be something special, but now we are looking at special in the rear view mirror. This year will not only be one of the most exciting championships in recent years, but most importantly it is going to be a year that breaks all previous records. The capacity grid contains some highly talented drivers from a whole range of backgrounds. But if you look closely, you will see the appearance of a primordial beast; the champion. Fear will always be cast into the hearts of the other drivers to know that they will be sharing the same tarmac as a person who had conquered one of the most competitive series in world motorsport. Just imagine how they will be feeling when they realise that this year will not just be one former champion, not even 2 or 3.

Oh no, the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be contested by 7 former champions.

The competition in the BTCC is really hotting up... Photo Credit:

The competition in the BTCC is really hotting up… Photo Credit:

Let’s have a little look at these touring car titans terrifying the talented grid this year…

The Current Crop of Champions

The 2013 season already boasted 4 former champions in Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, Colin Turkington and Jason Plato. And of course, following the final race, Andrew Jordan was added to that list. Before any announcements for 2014 were made, this meant that there were 5 champions in the field…

  • Jason Plato – 2001 (Vauxhall) and 2010 (Chevrolet)
  • Matt Neal – 2005, 2006 and 2011 (Honda, Honda and would you look at that, Honda)
  • Colin Turkington – 2009 (BMW)
  • Gordon Shedden – 2012 (Honda)
  • Andrew Jordan – 2013 (Honda)

And for those keen eyed viewers of the British Touring Car Championship would notice that all 5 of these drivers were fighting for the top positions in most of the races last year. Honda vs MG vs BMW was a sight that became commonplace by the end of 2013. Every single one of these drivers more than proved their abilities and credibility as a champion; aggression, control and consistency throughout the season.

Return of The Champions

Aside from being a great live album by Queen and Paul Rodgers, 2014 truly represents the return of the champions to the BTCC. Not too long ago I wrote a celebration to the ‘Return of Alain Menu’ to the championship this year. Menu was a dominant figure in the 90s, arguably the greatest time the sport has ever had.

  • Alain Menu – 1997 (Renault Laguna; 281 points), 2000 (Ford Mondeo; 195 points)

Secondly we have Fabrizio Giovanardi, who is one of THE great drivers of tin top touring cars. Giovanardi shot to fame in Italy, Spain and then in the European Touring Car Championship. Once he conquered the side dishes, he thought it about time to take on the best touring car series in the world, and he did not disappoint. He is a true force to be reckoned with.

  • Fabrizio Giovanardi – 1992 (Italian Superturismo, class S2), 1997 (Spanish Touring Cars), 1998/1999 (Italian Superturismo), 2000-2002 (European Touring Car Championship) and 2007/2008 (Vauxhall, British Touring Car Championship).

Alain Menu returns with Team BMR in a Volkswagen Passat, and Giovanardi heads up the Airwaves Motorbase Ford challenge. In both cases, the teams are up and coming and are preparing to launch an attack on the teams at the top. Honda and MG, you may want to look out, you are being hunted.

Giovanardi will hope to be a breath of fresh air in the Airwaves Ford for 2014. Photo Credit:

Giovanardi will hope to be a breath of fresh air in the Airwaves Ford for 2014. Photo Credit:

Each of these drivers has every credential for victory and will not want to be anywhere else apart from on top. So that is 7 drivers all of whom have every chance of winning the championship this year. If people think F1 is exciting with its single driver domination race in, race out, maybe they should be introduced to the BTCC. This real close racing may just blow their mind clean from their head. Maybe stand back when you first show them the sport, it may get kinda messy.

But the most exciting thing is the nature of unpredictability. As I proved recently in my article on the ‘Underdogs of the BTCC 2014’, there are a whole host of other drivers who are ready to steal the glory away from these ‘old timer champions’. They will do anything they can to prove that they have what it takes to topple those at the top. The racing will be close, the battles will be epic and the results?

…only time will tell.

And Jason Plato is flying... literally. Photo Credit:

And Jason Plato is flying… literally. Photo Credit:

So that's what the underside of the car looks like... Photo Credit:

So that’s what the underside of the car looks like… Photo Credit:

Plato's pushing so hard he's on two wheels... Photo Credit:

Plato’s pushing so hard he’s on two wheels… Photo Credit:

Jason Plato knows more than anyone else that the BTCC is one of the most competitive motorsports in the world. When it goes wrong, it really goes wrong…

Well that did not go well... Photo Credit:

Well that did not go well… Photo Credit:

The only thing I know for sure; the 2014 BTCC season will be a year to remember

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Peace and Love!