Snetterton is the second longest track in the United Kingdom
(Photo from: www.snetterton.co.uk)
After the six week summer break the British Touring Car Championship returns this weekend as it heads to Snetterton in Norfolk, which will host the sixth event of the season and rounds 16, 17 and 18.
Like many circuits around the United Kingdom, Snetterton is an old RAF airfield with the original circuit consisting of two long straights connected by two fast 90 degree bends and a challenging stadium section.
However in 2005 MotorSport Vision (MSV) the owners of the circuit as well as other circuits such as Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, outlaid plans to redevelop Snetterton. In 2010 work began to expand the circuit, including adding a hairpin and a new infield section. By 2011 the expansion was complete, making Snetterton the second largest circuit in the UK at 2.97 miles.
Over the summer there have been various news stories including drivers changes and circuit changes.
The first piece of news originates at the very beginning of the summer break with Honda suggesting that they could switch to rear wheel drive in 2017, amid completion from the Subaru Levorg. Honda will be able to do this as they are releasing a four wheel drive version of the Honda Civic in the UK later this year, with the car already racing in China. Althugh four wheel drive is banned under current BTCC regulations, cars can be modified to be front or rear wheel drive only, like the Subaru.
The second news stories regard driver changes with the first being that Michael Caine will replace Chris Smiley at Team HARD for the remainder of the season, with Smiley stepping back to the Renault Clio Cup. The deal came together after Smiley ran into sponsorship problems and will be racing with the Jamsport team with the aid of Team HARD.
The other driver that has had to stand down is Eurotech’s Daniel Lloyd after having his own sponsorship issues. The news means that he will be unable to compete for the remainder of the season. It comes as a blow for Lloyd who was performing well in the Honda Civic Type-R most noticeably a front row start at both Oulton Park and Croft. Eurotech has reverted back to a two car team.
The final major piece of news heading into this weekend’s is to do with the Snetterton circuit which has seen a corner named in honour of the late Justin Wilson who sadly passed away last year after a crash at Pocono. The first hairpin, formerly named Montreal, will be now known as “Wilson hairpin”. MSV’s owner Jonathan Palmer’s relationship with Wilson dates back to early in his career having won the inaugural Formula Palmer Audi championship.
After such a long break, it will be a welcome sight to see the British Touring Car Championship back in action, and it will be fascinating to see which teams have improved and which ones have faulted during the summer break. Come Sunday, all will be clear.