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The Gravett(y) of the Situation: Is the BTCC on for 8 Champions?

Why is this man smiling? Maybe he has got a secret to tell...

Why is this man smiling? Maybe he has got a secret to tell…

Not too long ago I found myself telling you all the exciting news that the BTCC was to host 7 former champions for the 2014 season. Never before has the championship been graced with such a presence. With the electric combination of champions and eager newcomers, the 2014 season is set to be one of the most fiercely contested in history.

There is only one problem. I may have given you incorrect information. I come to you all now in confession of my sins. I hope you are able to forgive me, given the erm… Gravett-y of the situation.

That’s right, the BTCC grid for 2014 may now be seeing not 7, but 8 former champions taking to the field.

Robb Gravett in his 1990 Ford Sierra

Robb Gravett in his 1990 Ford Sierra

Robb Gravett, winner of the 1990 British Touring Car Championship, has announced  that he is most definitely considering a return to the field this year. Sadly nothing yet has been confirmed, but he has stated that he has indeed been approached.

So who is this Gravett fellow and why is his return so exciting?

Well I am glad you asked.

Robb Gravett shot to Touring Car fame in the late 80s when he launched an attack on the ever-successful Andy Rouse and his Kaliber/ICS Ford Sierra team. At this time, the championship still operated as a class system, where often the overall championship winner across the year would have been finishing around 12th in each race. Confusing right? No wonder they changed it. In 1989, Robb Gravett co-founded the TrakStar team alongside broadcaster Mike Smith; by the end of the year he finished second in class behind Andy Rouse. The overall title that year went to a young John Cleland in a Class C Vauxhall.

When 1990 came along, Gravett was aiming for the top, but his early title attempts were crippled by a severe lack of sponsorship for his Ford Sierra. Thankfully however, as the year progressed and he had proven his success, the sponsors came and he went on to take the 1990 crown. When I first got into the BTCC, it was the videos from these years that were always my favourite. I have always and will forever be a diehard fan of Andy Rouse. Anyone who had the skill to beat Andy Rouse in the late 80s was a serious talent. To beat the ultimate driver, you must also be pretty special.

When the BTCC became a single class 2 litre series, Gravett continued on with Peugeot in 1992 and 1993. His success may have started to fade, but his determination didn’t. Gravett returned as an independent in 1994 up until 1998, before retiring from the BTCC altogether. In 1997, he won the Independents championship in a Rock-It Cargo Honda Accord.

In the late 90s, Gravett competed in the Independents Championship in his Honda Accord

In the late 90s, Gravett competed in the Independents Championship in his Honda Accord

Now obviously, as a former champion he doesn’t want to be given a car that cannot challenge at the top end of the field. No one really wants that now do they? But he has admitted that the offer he has received has come from one of the top teams.

Although he didn’t say outright which team had given him said offer, I believe the truth can reveal itself through some careful detective work. Looking through the confirmed teams and drivers for the 2014 championship, you will notice that most teams are now full. There are however two teams that appear to have spaces. One of these is the Speedworks team which is entering a Toyota Avensis, and the other is the Airwaves/Crabbies/Motorbase team that are entering Fords.

Of the two of these, the Speedworks team are a great up and coming team, but I don’t believe that they will be challenging at the top this year. The Airwaves Fords however showed great promise at the end of 2013, and have already confirmed Giovanardi (2007/2008 champion) alongside Jack Clarke. If we work on the ever increasing success of the Ford team in 2013, and the fact they have already hired one champion, it would seem clear that they will be aiming for ultimate success this year.

What better way to do that than to hire a man who has previously conquered the championship (also in a Ford, if you remember)?

Robb Gravett represents the golden age of Touring Cars. Hard, fast, aggressive and determined, I can see him returning to glory once more.

So with Gravett back, now we just need Andy Rouse back and my life will be complete. Anybody got his number?

8 champions. 1 grid. 1 championship.

Let the games begin!

Keep Driving People!

Follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69

Peace and Love!

One comment

  1. Christine Glynn says:

    Enjoyed that

    March 15th, 2014 at 2:42 am