Hill believes he can beat Sutton to BTCC title

British Touring Car Championship star Jake Hill believes that the 2021 title is very much on after taking his first win of the season last weekend at Croft.

Hill believes he can beat Sutton to BTCC title

Apart from his victory in race two, Hill drove his Motorbase-run MB Motorsport Ford Focus to second place in the opener and seventh in the reversed-grid finale to move up to the runner-up spot in the championship.

Hill narrowed his deficit to championship leader Ash Sutton from 39 points to 29, and the Ford’s biggest Achilles’ heel will not be a factor over the remaining three rounds.

The Motorbase/MB squad has struggled to make the fourth-generation Focus ST work on the soft-compound Goodyear, which has been used at four events this season but will not reappear for the rest of 2021.

“With the soft tyres and 75kg of success ballast, that’s never a great mix for this car,” Hill told Autosport about his seventh position in the final race at Croft.

“There’s no lying that we struggle on the soft compared to the others, so to hold onto seventh and bring home a bag of points was a good result.

“Now I think we’re in good shape – there are other people who like the soft a lot more than we do, but now it’s gone.”

Jake Hill, MB Motorsport Ford Focus ST

Jake Hill, MB Motorsport Ford Focus ST

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Furthermore, after this weekend’s Silverstone round, the season finishes at two of Hill’s best circuits: Donington Park and his home venue, Brands Hatch’s Grand Prix layout.

And Hill’s Ford has become recognised in the BTCC as the best-performing car on success ballast.

“I know we’re quick enough to challenge for the championship – look how we went with 66kg of ballast [for second in race one at Croft] in race two.

“There’s no reason why we can’t win it: the car’s performing well, I’m driving well, and collectively we’re in a very good place.”

Read Also:

Meanwhile, the driver Hill deposed from the runner-up spot in the points, Tom Ingram, is also buoyant on the eve of the Silverstone round.

Ingram scored two fourths at Croft and has dropped to fifth in the standings in his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N, but crucially his distance to Sutton has widened only by seven points – from 30 to 37 – and he will start the Silverstone round on just 39kg of ballast, compared to 66kg at recent events.

While Hill’s Ford has handled ballast well, Ingram’s Hyundai has struggled with weight, and qualified way down in 21st at Croft.

“All things considered, going from second to fifth in the points is a blessing in disguise,” Ingram told Autosport.

“Now we’ve got a chance of a strong weekend, because our problem is that we’ve not been able to bounce back [from starting an event on heavy ballast].

“After our Oulton Park weekend [where Ingram scored just eight points] we should have fallen back to sixth in the championship, but we stayed second and kept the 66kg, and every weekend we’ve not been able to have a good first and second race.”

Ingram, who won five races at Silverstone between 2016-19 during his years at the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota team, believes his championship challenge can restart at the venue this weekend.

“Yes, 100%,” he said. “I think we’re in the best place we’ve been in all year [with the ballast].

“We’ve seen the points gap get hardly any bigger, but now we’re carrying fifth-place ballast instead of second.”

shares
comments

Related video

BTCC teams fined for Croft tyre mix-up
Previous article

BTCC teams fined for Croft tyre mix-up

Next article

Silverstone BTCC: Butcher’s Toyota dominates free practice

Silverstone BTCC: Butcher’s Toyota dominates free practice
How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test Plus

How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test

Expectations were high for the start of the British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid power era, and despite nerves and problems to solve prior to its debut the new rules gained widespread approval. Here’s how the first test at Donington Park was passed and the thorough examinations that are to follow

BTCC
Apr 28, 2022
The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions Plus

The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton and Porsche Carrera Cup GB victor Dan Cammish form a potent line-up at the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing team as the series adopts hybrid power. With Sutton bringing the key components of his title-winning Laser Tools Racing set-up, and Cammish eager to prove a point on his return, their dynamic is set to be one of the season's major talking points

BTCC
Apr 21, 2022
The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on Plus

The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on

Veteran team manager Marvin Humphries and former Tech-Speed team boss has worked not only with stars of the British Touring Car Championship, but legends including Gil de Ferran, Hans Stuck and Tom Sneva in a long and varied career that has spanned five decades across tin-tops, single-seaters and sportscars

BTCC
Feb 4, 2022
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Plus

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021