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
Judder-judder-judder. The left-rear suspension of this BMW M2 Competition, a passenger wagon made available for the day by the British Racing Drivers’ Club, literally has nothing more to give. British Touring Car Championship mega-talent Ash Sutton is at the wheel, beaming and laughing amid armfuls of opposite lock.
The addition of a middle-aged Autosport man (85kg-plus at last weigh-in) alongside him means he’s carrying even more ballast than the regulation maximum 75kg success weight he usually has aboard his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50, and even rear-wheel-drive sorcerer Sutton can’t override the basic laws of physics and road-car design. We wave goodbye to any chance of ever seeing the inside of Silverstone’s Luffield turn again, and that left-rear only grips up again once we’re in a straight line and heading down towards Woodcote.
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
Donington Park BTCC: Turkington dominates for his 60th win
Podcast: Previewing the BTCC's Brands Hatch showdown