It’s almost crunch time. This weekend at Silverstone marks the penultimate weekend of the 2019 BTCC season and after three races at Knockhill which dramatically closed up the title fight, all eyes will be on the championship trio at Silverstone. Colin Turkington, Andrew Jordan and Dan Cammish are separated by just 11 points at the top of the standings, making a Silverstone a crucial race meeting for all three drivers. There’s simply so much at stake heading into qualifying on Saturday, and with Josh Cook just 30 points off the lead in 4th place there’s still a chance of the BTC Racing driver having a say in this title fight, too. I’ve got all the biggest pre-Silverstone talking points covered in my Weekend Preview.
Silverstone Form For The Championship Challengers?
Despite seeing his title lead slashed at Knockhill, Andrew Jordan’s DNF in race three means that Colin Turkington arrives at Silverstone with a ten-point cushion over his WSR teammate. Ten points isn’t a great amount, but it’s a gap nonetheless and it’s one which Turkington will be aggressively trying to open up this weekend. Turkington finished 8th, 8th and 3rd last year at Silverstone and 4th, 3rd and 22nd in 2017. There’s no doubt that he’ll have to race more aggressively this season if he wants to secure his fourth BTCC title and the way he carved his way through from 27th to 19th in race two at Knockhill showed that he’s more than capable of getting his elbows out. Turkington will no doubt be in an around the top ten all weekend, and staying out of trouble is a must on Sunday.
Silverstone hasn’t been kind to Andrew Jordan over the last two seasons with his 2018 results reading DNF, 22nd, 9th and his 2017 results a DNF, 27th, 8th. A repeat of either of his last two Silverstone weekends this weekend will seriously hamper his title challenge, and he’ll be looking to out-qualify and outscore Turkington right from the outset. Silverstone is a new track for the BMW 3 Series, and it’s going to be vital that WSR get the car set up well over Saturday’s two practice sessions. The momentum is with Jordan after closing the gap at Knockhill, but he needs to keep the ball rolling at Silverstone and drive aggressively without getting involved in incidents down at Maggots and Aintree in the chaotic opening laps.
10th, 15th, and 8th at Silverstone in 2018 mean that Cammish has plenty to improve on this out time but given the dramatic progress he has made in his second BTCC season, out of the top three, it’s Cammish who I’m expecting to have the strongest weekend. Silverstone should suit the Honda Civic well, and sitting just one point behind Andrew Jordan in 3rd allows Cammish to adopt the mindset of the hunter with everything to gain and nothing to lose. Supreme since May, Cammish’s immediate target will be out-qualifying the WSR pair on Saturday. With less ballast in the car around the high-speed Silverstone, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that happen. The requirement of Cammish is to simply keep doing what he’s been doing for the majority of the season, as that fantastic consistency and those regular trips to the podium have allowed him to rise from 15th to 3rd in the championship standings. He needs another strong weekend to keep this battle going into Brands Hatch GP.
Motorbase Performance Back On Track?
Three tough rounds at Oulton Park, Snetterton and Thruxton eliminated Tom Chilton and Motorbase Performance from the title fight. However, after a run of just four points finishes in nine races over the midseason, Chilton showed some positive signs of recovery at Knockhill by finishing 7th, 5th and 7th. In truth, there were times at Knockhill where it looked like a podium was on, but three top-ten finishes are a positive result for a team looking to bounce back up the table.
Motorbase will be confident because at Silverstone in 2018 they took a one-two finish as Sam Tordoff led home Chilton in the first race of the day before Tordoff followed up with a 3rd place in race two. The Ford Focus is fast around the Northamptonshire circuit, and with Chilton’s 10th place in the standings allowing him to qualify with minimal ballast in the car, both driver and team will be eyeing at least the podium if not the top step at some point on Sunday. Chilton sits just seven points behind Plato in the championship standings and will be eyeing the Vauxhall driver’s position come the end of the weekend.
The Motorbase lineup will be without Nicolas Hamilton this weekend after the team announced that the ROKIT-backed driver will sit out the remainder of the 2019 season. Hamilton, who’s future for the rest of the season was seemingly secured pre-Knockhill with a cash injection from ROKIT will play no further part in the 2019 campaign and is aiming to return to the BTCC in 2020.
Adam Morgan On A Charge
One of the most dramatic turnarounds in fortunes in recent rounds has been that of Adam Morgan who looks to have found a new lease of life behind the wheel of the Mercedes A-Class. After a podium at the Brands Hatch Indy opening weekend, Morgan’s season turned into one of struggle and he wouldn’t finish on the podium again until Thruxton in August. An engineering lineup change pre-Thruxton has been credited for the turnaround in results, and the turnaround since then has been dramatic as Morgan has finished on the podium three times in six races and inside the top ten in each.
Morgan sits 12th in the championship standings, far too back to have any impact on the title race but close enough to still be targeting the top ten at the end of the season. He finished 6th, 2nd and 17th last season at Silverstone and his position outside the championship’s top ten means that a strong grid slot in qualifying will most certainly be the target with no weight in the car. The Mercedes A-Class is fast around the Silverstone National Circuit as it’s proven in the hands of both Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffatt last year. I wouldn’t rule Morgan out for victory this weekend, and he’ll be hunting down a 16-point gap between himself and 10th place in the championship table.
Tom Ingram To Continue His Silverstone Hot Streak?
Three race victories in 2016, 2017 and 2018 make Silverstone something of a favourite track for Tom Ingram and the Toyota Corolla driver will be targeting victory at Silverstone for the fourth year in a row. 2019 has been a learning year for Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport as they have bedded in the Toyota Corolla as a single-car outfit. Race victories have come at Donington Park and Snetterton but it has been Ingram’s remarkable consistency that has driven him to 6th place in the championship table.
There is real speed in the Corolla, and Ingram demonstrated that with a pole position at Snetterton at the start of August. With strong form at Silverstone going back to 2016, Ingram will be hoping to add a third trophy to his 2019 trophy cabinet this weekend. A 33-point gap to Rory Butcher in 5th in the championship is most-likely too much to overhaul in the remaining six races, but Ingram and Speedworks will be keen to put as much development work into the Corolla as possible before they aim for a title challenge in 2020.
Sam Tordoff To Sit Out The Remainder Of The 2019 Season
Following the tragic news from the Tordoff family pre-Knockhill about the death of their baby Arlo George, Sam Tordoff has announced that he will not return to the BTCC in 2019. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the Tordoff family on behalf of thehairpincorner.com.
Saturday 28th September
Sunday 29th September
Race One: 12:00
Race Two: 14:35
Race Three: 17:20