The BTCC returns to the home of Motorsport this weekend, with Shedden, Plato, Neal and Turkington all in the championship hunt. With only two rounds and six races left, a poor weekend at Silverstone could see one of the Honda or BMR pair fall out of championship contention.
Shedden arrives at Silverstone on 286 points, just 6 ahead of Volkswagen rival Jason Plato, and after his two race wins and pole position at Silverstone last year, a repeat performance for JP this year could see the championship pendulum swing once again back towards Team BMR. Further back, Matt Neal heads Turkington by another 6 points, 259 to 253 in another all Honda/VW battle for third in the championship.
With Motorbase and Mat Jackson making waves in the championship since their return at Snetteron in August, 2014’s race three winner will surely be right in the mix come Sunday afternoon. There can be no doubt that Jackson would be right up in the championship fight if Motorbase had been on the grid back in March.
Elsewhere down the grid, without a race win since mid 2014, Andrew Jordan will be hoping to break his mini drought in an MG which went extremely well at Silverstone last season, and the return of Andy Priaulx will add an extra dimension as the championship’s top four battle for supremacy in the second of the BTCC’s Northamptonshire double header.
With the penultimate round of the BTCC drawing closer, here are three questions we’d like to see answers for at Silverstone this weekend.
Will Neal or Turkington run out of time
With only six races (or less) left until the 2015 BTCC champion is crowned, poor results this weekend could see Neal or Turkington drop off the pace. Whilst Silverstone should suit the longer wheelbase VW, the shorter wheelbase Civic alongside Neal’s less than stellar record at Silverstone could spell cause for concern over at Honda Racing. Whilst performing to exceptional standards at most circuits on the calendar, Silverstone has become somewhat of a bogey circuit for Neal, with only three top ten finishes in the last nine races. Turkington’s transition from rear to front wheel drive has been admirable, but does he have enough FWD experience to beat Plato (who’s always gone well round here) this weekend?
Can Andrew Jordan get off the mark?
Silverstone has always been good to MG, with Triple Eight winning 4 out of 6 races at the circuit since 2013, Jordan will be hoping for more of the same in 2015. Without a win since Croft last season, his remarkable consistency has propelled him to fifth place in the table, and whilst his title chances look slim, podiums and a win or two aren’t out of the question. The MG 6 has the pace to win, as demonstrated by Goff at Snetterton, but a lack of relative pace compared to the front running Honda’s and VW’s could suggest that the vehicle is coming to the end of it’s BTCC lifetime. Strong performances from Jordan and Goff at Silverstone would be a fitting send off for a car which, in the last two seasons at least, took to the BTCC like a duck to water.
The young guns are coming, but for how long can the old guard hold them off?
If there was one thing we can remember Rockingham (and indeed the last few rounds for) it’s the emergence of the next era of BTCC stars. Ingram, Cook, Morgan, Moffat and to some extents Goff, are all loudly knocking on the door of the BTCC elite, and it can only be a matter of time before Goff and Morgan are joined in the elite winners circle. With Morgan putting in another extremely strong showing in 2015, more competitive cars for Goff, Ingram and Cook could see 2016 be another breakthrough season for the BTCC’s future stars.
We’ll be back with our full BTCC prediction on Saturday morning.
Image thanks to thecheckeredflag.co.uk