Saluting a driver who helped boost Britain's modern F1 influence
After a disappointing 2019 season in British Touring Cars, Mark Blundell has announced his decision to retire from racing in motorsport. Here, we look back at his early career and salute a driver who engaged in some epic title battles
The mid-1980s was a terrific time to be a teenaged motorsport fan in the UK.
The British Formula 3 Championship was bursting at the seams after an early-1980s slump in grid numbers. Underneath that on the UK ladder, Formula Ford 2000 had turned into a white-hot arena of talent after its first few years of being populated mainly by FF1600 graduates who hadn't quite been good enough for F3.
For 1985, FF1600 had been rationalised - and enriched - at its top level by the pruning of its four major national championships down to two, with two junior series sitting beneath. Add to that many circuits hosting their own single-venue FF1600 championships of varying quality, with the Champion of Brands arguably the pick of them all.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
British GT champion Gornall takes Audi seat after Blundell's BTCC exit
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