EVENT | BTCC 2014 @ Knockhill

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I’ll be honest, I never followed any kind of motorsports, not even Formula 1. However I must say, as an Autolifer, I’ve always enjoyed being around cars regardless and going to car events, be it at static meets, cruises, track days or drift days. A few weeks ago a friend invited me to go to Knockhill racing circuit to watch the BTCC, and I said why not? I had the chance to occasionally watch some BTCC races on TV and frankly I didn’t fall in love with it. Although it’s fast cars, so I just went and I don’t regret it at all. It’s probably like when people compare films to books: the book is always more detailed. So obviously was watching the BTCC in real life. It was fantastic. The sound of those 2 litre turbo charged 300hp engines was remarkable: not too raspy but still very loud, especially if you were standing on the side of the exhaust, as the BTCC cars seem to all have side exhausts.

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After two weeks of “disgusting” weather, we were really lucky to have a day with no rain at all. That made everyone’s day better. The place was really crowded: I had been to Knockhill only once previously, for a trackday, and there were only a few cars here and there. That day the paddock area looked like another place from my previous visit. It took us 1 hour to leave the circuit as there were loads of cars parked. But it was worth it. Between the events, we had a walk around and couldn’t help noticing other interesting cars, moving about or just visitors’ cars parked. It was such a beautiful atmosphere. Anyway the BTCC was the main event of the day, but other races also took place like the Renault UK Clio Cup, two different Ginetta championships, and the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.

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The Carrera Cup was, unlike the BTCC, nothing new to me, but still the 911 is one of my favourite race cars ever. They’re much faster on paper than the BTCC cars obviously but I must admit that on that track, they didn’t really look like they were. The Ginetta’s were also pretty quick but for some reason I never liked them. I’m sure though that if someone asked me to go for a drive around the track with one of those, it’d be an unforgettable experience as they’re still race cars and obviously I wouldn’t say no!

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One of the factors that makes BTCC so special is all the action that goes on during the whole of the race: cars at times got really close, and that also happened while going around the “Duffus Dip”, which is the first turn of the track. A blind corner that only if you know the track really well can be gone round at full speed. I’m surprised there were really one or two incidents during the day considering how close and how fast the BTCC cars get. The “Butchers” corner on the other hand was the bit where the drivers could show their driving-on-2-wheels skill. Almost all car would hit the curb at high speed and for us spectators that was an awesome show!

The results of the three BTCC races by the end of the day were:

Race 1:

1.    Matt NEAL (Honda Yuasa Racing): 27 Laps
2.    Rob AUSTIN (Exocet Racing): +0.230
3.    Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +2.049

Race 2:

1.    Mat JACKSON (Airwaves Racing): 25 Laps
2.    Jason PLATO (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save): +1.637
3.    Rob AUSTIN (Exocet Racing): +2.362

Race 3:
1.    Rob COLLARD (eBay Motors): 24 Laps
2.    Dave NEWSHAM (AmDTuning.com): +6.083
3.    Colin TURKINGTON (eBay Motors): +6.294

In conclusion all I can say is, even if you’re not a crazy fan of the BTCC, it’s worth the price of the ticket, and your day off work and let’s not forget that it’s one of the main motorsports championships in the UK.

Words & Photos: Angelo Di Massimo

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