Wow!! What a day...
The 2014 edition of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship was officially launched yesterday and this year promises to be a classic and amazing season.
Despite the weather having an off day with various showers making things interesting on track, it was a packed day where the fans got up close to this years runners and riders to see who is where and what liveries have been announced.
Mat Jackson was confirmed in a last minute deal at Airwaves Racing, joining the confirmed lineup of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Jack Clarke. Various liveries were revealed whilst several cars didnt go out in testing. Lea Wood is waiting on parts as is the Welch Motorsport duo of Dan Welch and Ollie Jackson whilst Robb Holland and Jack Goff didnt go out. Andy Jordan, Gordon Shedden and Alain Menu were the top three quickest drivers with Jordan setting a time of 1:11.087. Morgan, Tordoff and Neal were 4th, 5th and 6th. Aron Smith, Colin Turkington, Rob Collard and Tom Ingram rounded out the top ten.
For ourselves, well we had a great chat with Robb Holland in the Rotek Racing garage with the stunning Oakley sponsored, fan chosen livery of the Audi S3 being worked upon. Robb explained that the car is due to test at Rockingham on Thursday to have its shakedown in preparation for the opening weekend at Brands Hatch and that he is currently looking for somewhere to live in the UK.
Robb is currently commuting between the UK and Germany with racing and testing commitments for the upcoming BTCC and VLN series where he will pilot the Audi TTR-S. It was also interesting to find out the operating budget of running an NGTC car in its first season and a few secrets about the S3... But I would like to say thank you to Robb for taking the time to speak to myself, Nik and Aaron.
Happily, I can say a few family traditions related to the BTCC took place at Media Day. These include Nik's mandatory picture with 2013 BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan who always has time to stop for a picture ever since our first visit to the BTCC back in 2011 at the Media Day held at Silverstone.
Another tradition is holding up the honour of being staunch Tony Gilham supporters and I can happily report that during a busy day of testing we were able to catchup with Tony, working hard on timing at TeamBMR, his lovely wife Sammi (Yes, I got my Sammi Hug!!), his mum Deb who was running back and forth on catering duties and stopped to chat with us and we caught up with Sammi's father Gary who this season is working as Team Manager at Laser Tools Racing who are running Aiden Moffat.
I also want to say thank to Team BMR Grid Girls Samantha Gilham and Gemma Newman for posing for me yesterday for a photo thats becoming quite popular!!
Now as for my son Aaron, his never ending talent of popping in and out of garages snapping away on his camera has not dulled one bit. Aaron was on form as he took lots of pics of drivers, teams at work and cars in action. He managed to grab a chat with new Team BMR signing Aron Smith who was very happy with his time in the VW Passat CC yesterday and is looking forward to challenging near the front this season.
I also have to say it was great to meet up with some fellow BTCC fans from Facebook and Twitter. I caught up with one of my many BTCC Brothers in Arms Baz "Broadsword" Taylor, who introduced me to the lovely Sam Clark whilst we stood in the Goddards Chicane Grandstand trying to compare the cars with the loudest "pop" as they accelerated up the Start/Finish straight.
The eBay BMW's won with Dave Newsham coming second by the way...
I also met the amazing Steffan Bowen yesterday in his epic St Patricks Day headgear for the first time and I was lucky enough to meet Matt Auger who writes for the brilliant Touringcars.net website, where we shared a passionate conversation about the situation in the World Touring Car Championship with current entrants and possible TBA entrants.
I'd like to say thank you also to the guys at Laser Tools Racing who were very welcoming during the various downpours and offering us a nice warm Cuppa as well! You've got yourself some new supporters guys!!
Now there is one thing I must mention...
One other tradition for us is to run a fantasy BTCC League over on the website www.fantasydrivers.com. Once again, my lovely partner Nik has setup a league on the site in preparation for the upcoming 2014 season. So with her kind permission, I can happily say that anyone is invited to have a go to setup a team and take on the Guru at running a BTCC Fantasy team. I still revel in winning the old TOCA Talk League in 2012 and Niks League last year...
If you wish to take part feel free to message me on Facebook with your name & email address where you will then be sent an invite to the league via email with the joining details. I also know that there is a league being setup in the facebook group BTCC Fans Group which I'll be participating in too.
But I can say we had a great day enjoying the launch of the 2014 BTCC and that in the coming days I will be presenting a preview of the upcoming season and my thoughts on the runners and riders.
Finally, I've added a few pics from Media Day as well.