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BTCC 2021 Season


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#1 JHSingo

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 12:56

It only feels like it has been a few weeks since this year's season was concluded, but thanks in part to what a strange year it has been, it's time to start looking ahead to what 2021 might bring!

 

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2020 summary:

 

Fears that Covid would have a disastrous financial effect on the quality of this year's grid thankfully proved to be unfounded. Sure, the season had to be compressed slightly from the usual ten rounds to nine, and there were a couple of late changes to the grid, but 2020 was another classic year for the series. Usual protagonists Colin Turkington, Ash Sutton, Tom Ingram and Dan Cammish once again were in the thick of the fight for the championship, which was typically unpredictable right till the very final round. Sutton claimed a deserved (and perhaps overdue) second title after a couple of tricky years in the ageing Subaru Levorg.

 

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What's new/different for 2021:

 

Well, hopefully this season will see the return of fans at the track - but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see (and keep our fingers crossed) about that! The calendar returns to its usual ten round format, with Brands Hatch GP moving back to its traditional spot of the final round of the season, whilst the series will visit Thruxton for two rounds - once in May, and then again in August.

 

3/4 April     Brands Hatch (Indy)
17/18 April     Donington Park (National)
8/9 May     Thruxton
15/16 May     Oulton Park (Island)
12/13 June     Croft
31 July/1 August     Snetterton (300)
14/15 August     Knockhill
28/29 August     Thruxton
25/26 September     Silverstone (National)
9/10 October     Brands Hatch (Grand Prix)

 

There's a few changes in regulations too. Success ballast is set to increase to 75kg from 60kg for race winners - the argument being that cars are now better at carrying the maximum weight than they were in previous seasons. I suppose you can cynically claim this is an attempt to stop Turkington or Sutton from running away with things? :lol:

 

A new qualifying system that was trialed at Snetterton this year will also be used at three rounds - Donington, Snetterton and Silverstone. Replacing the usual 30-minute session at these events only, drivers will have a marginally reduced window of 25 minutes to record their lap times. Following a short five-minute break, the fastest ten competitors will then progress to a ten-minute pole position ‘Top Ten Showdown’ session to determine the top ten places on the grid.

 

Finally, there's a return of the Option tyre for this season at selected rounds as well. This wasn't used in the 2020 season - but return at Oulton Park, Croft, Snetterton, and Knockhill. Across the four events, the ‘Option’ tyre must be used at least once during race one, race two and race three. These changes are perhaps not universally popular, but they add more variables into the mixture at least! http://www.btcc.net/...c-rule-changes/

 

Who's running what for the new season?

 

It wouldn't be a new BTCC season without several changes of cars for teams, or additions of new ones.

 

It's fair to say that Team HARD had a rather torrid 2020, through a combination of mechanical issues and accident damage, but the team returns with three brand new Cupra Leons for the new season. Jack Goff and Glynn Geddie have been confirmed as two of the drivers. It's easy to forget just how good Jack Goff was in the Eurotech Honda a few years ago, so hopefully a switch to a newer car will mean he's back towards of the front of the grid for the new campaign.

 

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WSR/BMW have already confirmed their intention to increase to a three car team again. Andrew Jordan was supposed to have driven for the team this season, but was forced to pull out just before the first round of the year. Who will join BMW is therefore one of the most interesting talking points of the winter. One particularly tasty rumour was that it could be Ash Sutton joining the team - however, this seems fairly unlikely. The favoured candidate appears to be Stephen Jelley, who has previously driven for WSR back in the RAC days. https://www.motorspo...-talk-/4913606/

 

There's another competitive drive potentially available too. It was speculated several times throughout this season that the 2020 season could have been Matt Neal's last as a driver - something that he has confirmed. There's been no official announcement yet, but should Neal indeed step down from driving duties, it'll be very interesting to see who gets the seat. Perhaps old friend of the team, Gordon Shedden, may return? Or will someone like Josh Cook finally get the big break he deserves? Dan Cammish is already confirmed for another season.

 

One series veteran may be retiring, but another will be returning. Covid forced Power Maxed Racing - and Jason Plato in particular - to abandon their plans for this season. But he is set to return to the grid next year in the Vauxhall Astra. Mat Jackson was scheduled to be his team mate this year, and that will hopefully still be the case in 2021. It'd be great to see Mat back in the series again.

 

Elsewhere on the grid, Cicely Motorsport is switching from the fairly old Mercedes A Classes to the much newer BMW 330i. Adam Morgan will drive one car, with his team mate to be confirmed. Excelr8 Motorsport and Trade Price Car have joined forces, and will field four Hyundai i30s - Jack Butel the only confirmed driver so far - whilst MB Motorsport will return, likely with a new car, with Jake Hill already confirmed as one of the drivers. Phew! Expect plenty more news over the next few months.

 

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Discussion points to tide us over:

  • Are you in favour of the increase in ballast, and re-introduction of the Option tyres?
  • Who's your dark horse pick for the title, or who starts as favourite?
  • Will Matt Neal retire, and who will be his replacement?
  • Will Toyota and Speedworks increase to a two car team?
  • Are there any additions to the grid that you'd like to see?
  • And anything else! :D

So, I think that just about covers everything so far. Let's hope we'll have another great season of racing in 2021 - I look forward to enjoying it with you all!

 



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#2 PayasYouRace

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 15:14

Am I right in saying Team Hard’s SEAT Leons are the first in the series since the days of Plato and the S2000 diesels?

One thing I’m sure we can expect is plenty of excitement and close racing from start to finish, front to back. But it’s a bit early for me to be properly thinking about the championship.

I’m hoping one of the FWD front runners can get it though. Cammish, Ingram, Butcher or similar.

#3 Kev00

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 17:30

I think this will be Ingram’s year. That Toyota was just getting better and better last year and I think Ingram has what it takes.

I don’t agree with changes to the ballast and tyres. Last year was the best racing I can remember and had the best combination of having a close competitive field but still having the best drivers fighting each other at the front of the field. I don’t see why it should change.

Also really hope Neal and Plato are on the grid next year.

#4 BRG

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 17:45

I hope that HARD and Ciceley aren't really going to compete in largely matt black cars?  With the horirbly sombre WSR/BMW livery it will make the grid look like a funeral procession. 

 

Bring back the Shredded Wheat livery !!!



#5 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 23:08

Wonder who will be the 1st to reach 100 wins....Plato in BTCC or Hamilton in F1?

That is the interest for me.... :drunk:  



#6 F1matt

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 11:45

Discussion points to tide us over:

  • Are you in favour of the increase in ballast, and re-introduction of the Option tyres? 

In regards to the ballast I am open minded, it will open things up and hopefully prevent the "obvious" drivers getting into the top six all the time, it will certainly get more drivers on the podium over a season. As for the option tyre I thought it had been quietly ditched....

  • Who's your dark horse pick for the title, or who starts as favourite?

I am hoping for a new name on the trophy, possibly Dan Cammish or Tom Ingram. 

 

  • Will Matt Neal retire, and who will be his replacement?

Yes I think he will call it a day, he was possibly hoping for a swansong with fans but I can't see fans back for the early rounds so I think he will step down, he is a team player. I would like to see Josh Cook in the 2nd Honda. The person I least want to see is Gordon Sheddon, let's stick with the younger drivers. 

  • Will Toyota and Speedworks increase to a two car team?

No. I can't see anyone having an increased budget in 2021. Not after the year we have just had. 

  • Are there any additions to the grid that you'd like to see?

I would be happy with the size of the grid we have had this year tbh. 

  • And anything else!  :D

A couple of random things; I don't think Plato will come back full time and I seen a Subaru Levorg on the M62 on Friday, the first I have ever seen away from the track!



#7 BRG

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 12:08

 I seen a Subaru Levorg on the M62 on Friday, the first I have ever seen away from the track!

Lucky boy!  One of just 590 on the roads of the UK!  Prof that not winning on Sunday means not selling on Monday.

 

Not sure that Neal will go, not if Plato is returning.  Although Matt isn't the force he was, he can still be quick on his day and I would rather see him on the grid than the likes of Neate etc.  I hopeJordan finds his way back and Shedden too.  We need the best drivers.  

 

Option tyre?  Boo!!!



#8 JHSingo

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 11:52

If you're looking for something to watch on a rainy Wednesday, this chat between Jason Plato and Matt Neal is definitely worth your time. I will say that Jason looks to have aged considerably more than Matt has though. :lol:

 



#9 Kev00

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 13:37

I need to watch these two but I watched the Plato interview last night and it was bloody hilarious. Great storyteller. I could listen to Plato for hours. Will catch up on these videos later.

#10 messy

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 13:46

Despite myself, I rather like Jason Plato and enjoyed his book too. Will definitely watch these, cheers.

#11 F1matt

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Posted 24 December 2020 - 11:25

Team Hard and laser tools are combining to run 3 Infinity’s next season for Ash Sutton, Aidan Moffat and Carl Boardley, I wonder if this is a split from BMR or are they still involved somehow?



#12 Kev00

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Posted 24 December 2020 - 14:57

Have absolutely no idea what’s going on there. Laser tools will run 3 Infinity’s and HARD will run 4 Cupra’s but they are all working together for reason.

#13 midgrid

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Posted 24 December 2020 - 17:09

Hopefully this will result in Team HARD unsticking themselves from the back of the grid.

#14 BRG

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Posted 24 December 2020 - 17:09

Team Hard and laser tools are combining to run 3 Infinity’s next season for Ash Sutton, Aidan Moffat and Carl Boardley, 

So no threat to Ash from his team mates then.



#15 JHSingo

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Posted 24 December 2020 - 19:10

That ends the "Sutton t BMW" rumour that existed for a while, then. Although in some ways I prefer that. I always enjoy seeing drivers from different teams and cars battle it out more than I do when it's just one "super team" that's in contention.



#16 king_crud

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Posted 25 December 2020 - 13:23

I'm looking forward to 2021. I did self flagellation in 2020 and denied myself sports that i enjoyed at the year just felt off and my head wasn't screwed on as a result.

Therefore for 2021 I'm getting back into BTCC, pretending 2020 never happened. Hopefully spectators can attend at some point, will take my 5 yo son to the final Brands Hatch round

#17 Kev00

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 01:29

The news seems to be that Ingram is out of Speedworks and Toyota, with Butcher possibly replacing him. Ingram set time drive a Hyundai for Excelr8.

#18 PayasYouRace

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 07:40

Where’s that news coming from?

If true, it seems odd. Ingram and Speedworks seemed to work well and I wonder who precipitated the split. Did the team want someone else or did Tom want to move on?

#19 Kev00

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 08:08

There’s a guy on Reddit who’s pretty spot on with news in the paddock. He was saying there were issues between Ginsters and Toyota.

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#20 Disgrace

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 08:13

Manufacturers gonna manufacture.



#21 PayasYouRace

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 08:15

There’s a guy on Reddit who’s pretty spot on with news in the paddock. He was saying there were issues between Ginsters and Toyota.

Was Ginsters with Ingram then? I don’t see the connection.



#22 Disgrace

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 08:19

Was Ginsters with Ingram then? I don’t see the connection.

 

The grapevine seems to think that the row was over livery. Toyota wanting something corporate, Ginsters claiming they've paid for it already. The news is now official. Big shame, but I'd be working overtime as a team owner to get Ingram into one of my seats.



#23 PayasYouRace

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 08:48

That would be typical wouldn’t it. When did manufacturers forget that it’s not all about them?



#24 blackhand2010

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 09:01

Damn shame for Tingram, however if he does move to Excelr8, at least he'll have team mates for reference, and if he's able to take Ginsters with him, it could give him and the team enough resources to develop the car.

 

Be interesting to see whether Plato returns; one of the major factors for him not returning last season was the risk posed by the virus, and that's not exactly gone away...



#25 F1matt

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 09:03

If Rory Butcher goes to Toyota a seat in the very competitive Focus maybe available to Tom Ingram who brings sponsorship money with him. 



#26 pacificquay

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 09:16

Worth also remember Toyota is expanding to two cars



#27 M66R

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 12:14

Wow, did not see that coming. Due to the long duration of the relationship I had assumed there was a family connection or something.

#28 BRG

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 12:19

 I'd be working overtime as a team owner to get Ingram into one of my seats.

And to get that Ginster's sponsorship as well.  Race teams can consume their weight in pasties during a race day!

 

That would be typical wouldn’t it. When did manufacturers forget that it’s not all about them?

I don't think manufacturers ever understood that in the first place.  But it seems like a huge shot in the foot by Toyota to lose a potential championship winning driver.  i guess they think they can snap their fingers and get someone else just as good.  They're wrong of course...



#29 Disgrace

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 13:38

Tough gig for the replacement, even if it's someone as jolly and likeable as Butcher. Presumably no team member wanted to lose Ingram.



#30 DS27

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 16:55

Gutted - I also thought of Speedworks as effectively Ingram's team with some kind of family connection.



#31 JHSingo

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 21:45

That's definitely surprising to hear - some teams and drivers are together for so long, you struggle to imagine them parting. It was a bit like that when Mat Jackson left Motorbase. Speedworks has been the only team Ingram's ever driven for since he entered the championship, so it'll definitely be odd seeing him elsewhere next year. Although at least it sounds like he's got another drive that will soon be confirmed.

 

Worth also remember Toyota is expanding to two cars

 

That would be great to see, but has this been officially announced anywhere so far?


Edited by JHSingo, 30 December 2020 - 21:45.


#32 PayasYouRace

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 23:30

Worth also remember Toyota is expanding to two cars

Maybe not now they’ve driven their driver and sponsor away.



#33 midgrid

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 23:46

If Rory Butcher goes to Toyota a seat in the very competitive Focus maybe available to Tom Ingram who brings sponsorship money with him.


Ginsters would be a good follow-up to Shredded Wheat!

#34 pacificquay

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 07:54

Maybe not now they’ve driven their driver and sponsor away.

It’s in the autosport article about it, saying they’ll be running in the Toyota Gazoo works colours, which presumably brings in other funding.

 

Butcher is at least as good as Ingram in any case, and has the benefit of not having a silly nickname.

 

Ingram’s sponsorship will get him a decent alternative drive.



#35 PayasYouRace

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 08:46

It’s in the autosport article about it, saying they’ll be running in the Toyota Gazoo works colours, which presumably brings in other funding.

 

Butcher is at least as good as Ingram in any case, and has the benefit of not having a silly nickname.

 

Ingram’s sponsorship will get him a decent alternative drive.

Yeah that’s what they said, so fair one. Still, this is why I can never root for full manufacturer teams anymore. They’ve just forced their driver and sponsor out because the only brand Toyota want to promote is Toyota. Let’s just get ready for another generic red white and black livery.

What’s the silly nickname?

 

Ingram will probably to well in the Hyundai. And Butcher is good enough to lead the Toyota team. So I expect decent racing this season. Just left with a bad taste in my mouth by this whole thing.



#36 pacificquay

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 09:15

Yeah that’s what they said, so fair one. Still, this is why I can never root for full manufacturer teams anymore. They’ve just forced their driver and sponsor out because the only brand Toyota want to promote is Toyota. Let’s just get ready for another generic red white and black livery.

What’s the silly nickname?

 

Ingram will probably to well in the Hyundai. And Butcher is good enough to lead the Toyota team. So I expect decent racing this season. Just left with a bad taste in my mouth by this whole thing.

I slightly understand the bad taste although both the team and driver seem to be perfectly content about it.

 

The silly nickname is “Tingram” pronounced as a single word, which some commentators and even a few posters on this forum use. It’s like nails down a blackboard to me.



#37 BRG

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 11:59

They’ve just forced their driver and sponsor out because the only brand Toyota want to promote is Toyota. Let’s just get ready for another generic red white and black livery.

It seems to have become a Toyota habit of late.  In rallying they first fell out with their driver Ott Tanak who had just won the WRC for them and then fell out with their team principal Tommi Makkinen who had built up the team to WRC success.  And of course they knew better than everyone else in F1 which is why they never delivered on their massive budget and slunk off with their tail between their legs.  And then there was the outright deliberate turbo cheating in rallying back in the 1990s.  Not a company to be trusted or admired.


Edited by BRG, 31 December 2020 - 12:00.


#38 PayasYouRace

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 13:15

It seems to have become a Toyota habit of late.  In rallying they first fell out with their driver Ott Tanak who had just won the WRC for them and then fell out with their team principal Tommi Makkinen who had built up the team to WRC success.  And of course they knew better than everyone else in F1 which is why they never delivered on their massive budget and slunk off with their tail between their legs.  And then there was the outright deliberate turbo cheating in rallying back in the 1990s.  Not a company to be trusted or admired.

I’ll add that they recently started pulling licences for video games and sims. For example Forza 7 only has a handful of Toyotas, most of which are NASCAR Cup cars.

 

However, I have worked for a Toyota subsidiary and it was a superb place to work. I left there for other reasons, but I’d have been happy to stay there if I could. It’s the way all major manufacturers treat motorsport.



#39 Disgrace

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Posted 31 December 2020 - 22:22

Well, has this issue occurred at another manufacturer on the current or recent grids? Drivers get dropped all the time for a lack of sponsorship. But for too much?

 

I wonder if this might plant a seed of doubt at Speedworks as to whether they've made the right choice of manufacturer, whilst BMW and Honda pose no such issues for WSR or Dynamics.



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#40 pacificquay

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 09:42

So AMD has taken over Motorbase, and marked it with the least socially distanced picture imagineable in the circumstances!

https://www.autospor...rival-btcc-team



#41 F1matt

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 10:54

Does that mean they will run 4 Ford Focuses? Guessing Ollie Jackson, Rory Butcher, Sam Osborne, and Jake Hill? I wonder if that will be the end of the old shape Civic!



#42 pacificquay

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 14:24

Butcher is off to Toyota, but yes the article says the plan is to use all Focuses and call time on the older spec Honda 



#43 pacificquay

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 13:06

Interesting exchange on twitter where West Surrey Racing posts about its three entries being lodged for this year.

 

Someone replied, tagging Andrew Jordan in asking if there would be a comeback for him, to which he replied "Not with Weasel Racing, no."



#44 BRG

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 13:34

Ouch!!  So no love lost there clearly.  So who will be in the third WSR car?  Not Sutton or Jordan.  Maybe Andy Neate?   :eek:   

 

Or the F1 retiree Sir Lewis Hamilton comes to join his brother in BTCC, taking a swipe at former team Mercedes by driving a BMW? 

 

No?  Didn't think so. 



#45 blackhand2010

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 13:48

Stephen Jelley is the likeliest, and most underwhelming candidate.



#46 M66R

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 13:55

Second Toyota officially announced and Tom Chilton in the second Cicely BMW

#47 Burtros

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 16:48

Any news where Ingram is likely to end up?

And on the second Honda seat, is Neal staying on?

#48 Disgrace

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 17:46

Somewhat odd that he started making noises like "hmm... perhaps I'll retire at the end of the year" then nothing since. Methinks he is doing a Kanaan and hoping to retire in front of the fans rather than go out "like this".



#49 DS27

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 18:08

 

Or the F1 retiree Sir Lewis Hamilton comes to join his brother in BTCC, taking a swipe at former team Mercedes by driving a BMW? 

 

No?  Didn't think so. 

 

 

And yet it would make both series so much more fun to watch.



#50 PayasYouRace

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 18:13

Yeah, maybe the hold up is that Lewis and Toto are thrashing out the details of a works A-Class in the BTCC, leaving Russell to leave lead the charge in F1.

 

Hey, a man can dream.