Dunlop BTCC held its official launch event at Donington Park today (Tuesday)Five champions and a total of 11 manufacturers represented on the grid for this year's tin-top series, backed by Autocar, What Car? and PistonheadsReigning Dunlop British Touring Car Championship title-holder Colin Turkington will face opposition from 31 rivals in this year’s series, which gets underway at Brands Hatch on 4/5 April.
Turkington, who stormed to the crown in a rear-wheel-drive eBay Motors BMW 125i M Sport last year, has switched to Team BMR to race a front-wheel-drive Volkswagen CC this term.
He’ll go up against four former champions in the shape of Jason Plato – who has joined Turkington at Team BMR – Andrew Jordan, Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden.
Jordan has switched from Honda and his family-run Eurotech team to take Plato’s seat at Triple Eight Racing, which tends to the works MG 6 machines. The second MG will be driven by Jack Goff.
Neal and Shedden remain with Honda Yuasa Racing, but will compete in the brand-new Civic Type R instead of the estate-bodied Civic Tourer they used in the previous campaign.
The build of the Civic Type R racer, which will hit the track before the road-going production model reaches the UK showrooms, has only been completed in the last week and subsequently the car has undergone limited testing.
Other big news includes the return of Andy Priaulx, the three-time world touring car champion who has returned to the BTCC after a 13-year absence and joined WSR to race a BMW 125i M Sport. He’ll compete alongside Rob Collard and Sam Tordoff in a three-car assault.
Infiniti is lending official support to the new Support Our Paras Racing team, which will field Richard Hawken and Derek Palmer in a brace of Infiniti Q50s.* The squad joins Honda and MG as official manufacturer-backed entries. The WSR BMWs will also challenge for honours within what’s known as the Manufacturer/Constructor Championship.
A total of 12 models from 11 marques will be represented on the grid, with independent teams entering cars from Audi, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Proton, Toyota and Volkswagen.
29 entries will complete the full BTCC campaign, with Nicolas Hamilton joining the championship at Croft in June and two Ford Focus entries from Motorbase Performance scheduled to arrive at Snetterton in August.
2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship
1 Colin Turkington (Team BMR Volkswagen CC)
6 Robert Collard (Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport)
7 Sam Tordoff (Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport)
11 Simon Belcher (Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis)
12 Andy Wilmot (Welch Motorsport Proton Gen-2)
13 Daniel Welch (Welch Motorsport Proton Gen-2)
14 Alex Martin (Dextra Racing Ford Focus)
16 Aiden Moffat (Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class)
17 Dave Newsham (Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze)
21 Mike Bushell (AmD Tuning.com Ford Focus)
22 Derek Palmer (Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing Q50)
23 Kieran Gallagher (RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis)
25 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Type R)
28 Nic Hamilton (AmD Tuning.com Audi S3)
30 Martin Depper (Eurotech Racing Honda Civic)
31 Jack Goff (MG 888 Racing 6GT)
33 Adam Morgan (WIX Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class)
39 Warren Scott (Team BMR Volkswagen CC)?
40 Aron Smith (Team BMR Volkswagen CC)
52 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Type R)
54 Hunter Abbott (Exocet AlcoSense Audi A4)
55 Jeff Smith (Eurotech Racing Honda Civic)
66 Josh Cook (Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze)
77 Andrew Jordan (MG 888 Racing 6GT)
80 Tom Ingram (Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis)
84 Richard Hawken (Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing Q50)
95 Stewart Lines (Houseman Racing Toyota Avensis)
99 Jason Plato (Team BMR Volkswagen CC)
101 Rob Austin (Exocet AlcoSense Audi A4)
111 Andy Priaulx (Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i M Sport)
4 Mat Jackson (Motorbase Performance Ford Focus)*
44 James Cole (Motorbase Performance Ford Focus)*
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