The next round of the BTCC is at Thruxton in Hampshire at the end of this month, but in the meantime here is some more behind the scenes eye candy from the opening Brands Hatch round. BTCC pit garages are highly professional, spotless places: check out the Vauxhall pits. From what I've seen Auto Glym is obviously the number one product around here, as despite all the panel bashing and gravel collected during the races all the teams are constantly polishing their cars.
There's never much time between the races to fix damage or make changes, so it's always frantic in the garages. Here Jonathan Adam's car is being prepped for the second race of the day. It's not as bad as a few years ago in the World Touring cars though, where there was a ridiculously small amount of time between the two races because of TV scheduling: something like 15 minutes! No chance if your car suffered any kind of damage.
Crowd favourite Jason Plato delivered the result he needed in round one, with a win in the third race. Check out the YouTube clip posted a few days ago on Speedhunters for the proof of his car control. As was commented on, looks like he'd fit in well at a drifting round!
Drivers always have that way of describing racing lines with their hands. I've also always noticed how their air-steering wheels are always a lot smaller than regular road drivers doing the same thing! Here BMW driver and race two winner Rob Collard acts out driving the Brands Indy track to teen Porsche Supercup driver George Richardson.
The decrease in Team Dynamics sponsorship seems to have affected the amount of Lycra they can buy their grid girls. Luckily it wasn't that cold at Brands…
The wheels on the Focus are far smaller than the rest of the TC pack, as well as being well outboard and having heavy toe-in. Nice big wheel arches and small wheels – they've obviously been following Speedhunters!
The Focus has a pretty simple but impressive-looking push-button control panel on the dash, next to the huge sequential gear lever. The car seems to feature the original plastic central console – I wondered if the drinks holders were still there…
The thousand-yard stare of those about to rock. Civic driver Pinkney sits on the grid waiting for the green light.
This is what it's about: Independent team Motorbase have been looking for that elusive first win for a couple of years now, and then they go and get a brace of podiums and almost two wins (before the penalty in the final race).
Trophies are not the only thing Motorbase have no shortage of: they'd brought two gangs of grid girls with them from each of their primary sponsors. It was just showing off, to be honest.
The support races are pretty strong for the BTCC this year. Along with the usual single-seater fare, there's are the Clios (where the races are more like demolition derbies), the Porsche Supercup and two Ginetta model races. The G50 is pretty impressive up close: great lines and a proper traditional GT feel to it. And boy did they shift. A lot of bang for not many bucks.
The 911s always look and sound great: even the Cup cars pack a punch. With their heavy rear-ends they always look a handful on the smaller tracks, and the Brands Indy loop gives them no respite.
…And then you get it wrong. This is the kind of custom job you just don't want. The front end looked as bad.
There were fewer car clubs at the Brands meeting than I'm used to seeing. When the SEATs were in the championship there was always a big line-up of marque fanatics lined up in the parking areas. But although there isn't yet the massed ranks on the banks this year, spotting this Carrera GT certainly attracted my attention.
As usual there were plenty of big racing names around the paddock, either just there for the action or working with teams. Audi sportscar magician Allan McNish was tucked away in the support paddock: he's mentoring a driver in the Formula Renault championship.