News and views on motorsports

Saturday, March 17, 2007

BTCC 2007

More than any other tin top championship, I'm really looking forward to this year's British Touring Car Championship. The entry list has been confirmed and just look at the variety on offer.

Whereas last weekend's Aussie V8 at the good old Adelaide circuit was a pretty decent affair, it really is a battle between two makes. And likewise in the WTCC, you have basically 4 makes of cars battling it out. And really it boils down to the Beemers vs the SEATs.

The BTCC is boasting a grid of 27 cars comprised of 21 Super 2000 spec cars and just 6 of the outgoing BTC machines. You've got Hondas, BMWs, SEATs, Vauxhalls, Alfas, Toyotas (or as they insist on calling it, Lexus) and MGs, some running different models of the same make. Sounds like a Super Touring series of yesteryears doesn't it? Some bemoan the lack of proper works entries. Only the SEATs and Vauxhalls are run by the factory. But I don't think this is a bad thing. And as Team Dynamics proved last year, its possible to beat the works teams.

However, Matt Neal's going to have a hard year ahead I think. His new Civic Type R is a new car thats never before run on Super 2000 in any other championship. Despite what some folks think, its mainly a private entry. Run by his dad of all people. If he does win some races this year, I would be surprised. As it is they have missed the first testing session of the season which leads many to believe that the car will not be fully prepared come the first race in April. BMW fans will be happy for it buys them a year of bragging rights. Next year should be far different.

I'm always going to have my eye on the Japan only Toyota Altezza, having once owned one. They call it a Lexus IS200 but no Lexus ever ran with the 2 litre Yamaha developed 3SGE engine. The interesting thing of course is that the Toyotas (oh alright, Lexus if you insist) is, like the BMW, a rear drive machine which means that they too will enjoy the latest weight advantages. Unless Alan Gow takes that away. I just hope they develop that car properly and I wish that it was Team Dynamics who're running them. Forget bloody Lexus giving any hand. They're too busy trying to sell luxury.

Fabrizio Giovanardi was fastest in the first official test in the Vauxhall. But if they thought they'd seen the last of the Honda Integras, they are sadly mistaken for Mike Jordan was close to them in testing taking second fastest time. Thankfully for the Vauxhalls, the BTCC spec car will not be competing for main honours this year. Only the Super 2000s will be eligible to take the overall title.

Since the Honda Civics are unlikely to be competitive, I'd back the BMWs for honours. For I simply cannot abide the bloody Vauxhalls and barely can stand the SEATs. Here's to a great year.

No comments: