After nine meetings and 27 races covering the length and breadth of the UK, the climax to a thrilling Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship takes place this weekend at Brands Hatch.
Scotland’s Gordon Shedden, two-time champion Jason Plato and triple title winner Matt Neal go into the finale with 31 points separating them at the top of the drivers’ championship, with 67 left to play for on Sunday, October 21.
ITV4 will have comprehensive coverage of the final meeting of the 2012 season, featuring rounds 28, 29 and 30 of the BTCC as well as a variety of exciting support races on a bumper afternoon a top-class British motorsport.
Rob Collard, Matt Neal and Jason Plato were the winning drivers at this circuit when the season kicked off here in April, and further success for Neal or Plato could be crucial in their quest to win the drivers’ championship.
But its Fife’s Gordon Shedden who is currently on course to lift the title for the first time in his career, and also become the first Scottish winner of Britain’s premier motor racing championship since John Cleland in 1995.
The factory Honda Yuasa Racing Team ace will go into the event – which starts with timed practice and the crucial half-hour qualifying session on Saturday – holding a 15-point advantage over nearest challenger Plato at the top of the table.
However, with 67 points still up for grabs – 20 for a win plus assorted bonuses – Plato, who won both his previous titles in 2001 and 2010 at Brands Hatch, is the man in form.
The Oxford-based racer , who yesterday turned 45, won twice at Silverstone just over a week ago in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 as Shedden, team-mate Matt Neal and Pirtek Racing’s Jordan all struggled in their Honda Civics.
Neal, who won the title for a third time 12 months ago (below), is not giving up on a fourth title – a feat achieved only once since the BTCC’s first-ever race, at Brands Hatch in 1958, by Andy Rouse (1975, 1983, ’84 & ’85).BTCC 2011 – Round 30 – Neal claims third BTCC title Pictures: ITV Sport
He bumped to third in the standings by Plato at Silverstone having led the championship for much of the season, is 31 points adrift of Shedden.
Mathematically, Andrew Jordan has an extreme outside chance of claiming the title in his Pirtek Honda. The 23-year-old is 61 points behind leader Shedden.
But were he to somehow miraculously lift the title, which would require the three chief championship contenders to fail to score a single point and for him to win all three races, he would become one of the youngest champions in the BTCC’s 54-year history.
A 24-car grid featuring nine different car manufacturers is expected to contest the climax to what’s been another thrilling BTCC season at Brands Hatch.
Who will end up claiming the prestigious British Touring Car Championship trophy on Sunday afternoon?
Adding to the thrills and spills will be no fewer 11 more races for the supporting Ginetta GT Supercup, Ginetta Junior, Renault Clio Cup and Porsche Carrera Cup categories.
Both Ginetta crowns as well as the Clio title will all be decided at Brands Hatch.
Formula Renault BARC single-seaters also get their ‘winter series’ under way with a guest slot on this weekend’s action-packed bill.
Details of how to follow the final 2012 BTCC meeting on ITV below:
ITV will broadcast more than eight hours of live coverage from the finale to a pulsating British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch.
The live action begins on Saturday afternoon on ITV.com with the crucial qualifying session to determine the grid line-up for race one.
On Sunday, Steve Rider will anchor all the action from a busy day of live motorsport from the Kent circuit on ITV4, with Louise Goodman conducting interviews with the key drivers and team personel, as well as pit-lane updates and grid-walks.
Multiple BTCC race winner Paul O’Neill will continue to provide his insights into the world of British Touring Cars from a driver’s perspective with his regular reports and interviews.
BTCC and Porsche Carrera Cup race commentary will come from Toby Moody and Tim Harvey, with Richard John Neil and Simon Hill calling the other support races.
ITV4’s live coverage will also be available in high-definition on ITV4 HD, and simulcast on ITV.com.
Extended highlights of the final three BTCC races will be shown on Tuesday afternoon on ITV4, and repeated on Wednesday morning on ITV1.
Saturday 20th October British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying, Brands Hatch GP Session Start: 2.55pm LIVE – 2.50pm-3.30pm – ITV.com – WATCH LIVE . Sunday 21st October British Touring Car Championship – Rounds 28-30, Brands Hatch GP LIVE – 10.30am-6.30pm – ITV4 / ITV4 HD – WATCH LIVE LIVE RACES 11:30 – Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 12:10 – Ginetta Junior Championship – Race 2 13:10 – Formula Renault BARC Winter Series – Race 2 14:00 – Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 14:35 – AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup – Race 2 15:15 – Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain – Race 2 15:55 – Ginetta GT Supercup – Race 2 16:45 – Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 Tuesday 23rd October British Touring Car Championship – Rounds 28-30, Brands Hatch Highlights – 4.25pm-5.55pm – ITV4 Wednesday 24th October British Touring Car Championship – Rounds 28-30, Brands Hatch Highlights – 3.00am-4.15am (Thu) – ITV1