The making of the BTCC's newest superstar
Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out
Judder-judder-judder. The left-rear suspension of this BMW M2 Competition, a passenger wagon made available for the day by the British Racing Drivers’ Club, literally has nothing more to give. British Touring Car Championship mega-talent Ash Sutton is at the wheel, beaming and laughing amid armfuls of opposite lock.
The addition of a middle-aged Autosport man (85kg-plus at last weigh-in) alongside him means he’s carrying even more ballast than the regulation maximum 75kg success weight he usually has aboard his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50, and even rear-wheel-drive sorcerer Sutton can’t override the basic laws of physics and road-car design. We wave goodbye to any chance of ever seeing the inside of Silverstone’s Luffield turn again, and that left-rear only grips up again once we’re in a straight line and heading down towards Woodcote.
A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Motorsport.com picks out the best performers.
Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities
OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too
It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s been a lot of fat to chew elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action.
After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes.
The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp…
Donington Park BTCC: Turkington dominates for his 60th win
Brands Hatch BTCC: Proctor leads Honda 1-2-3-4, Sutton heads title contenders