BTCC // SERIES HEADS TO SCOTLANDThis weekend will see Britain’s most popular motor racing series head north of the English border into Scotland. The short but extremely challenging Knockhill circuit plays host once more to the touring car series as the title fight for the 2010 crown is set to become ever more intense. With the top 4 drivers separated at the top of the championship standings by just 33 points the 3 races around the tricky Scottish circuit are likely to be pivotal in the chase for tin top glory... [read more]

Current series leader Jason Plato who lost ground to the chasing pack last time out at Silverstone looks upon the Scottish circuit as one of the best places anywhere to get up close and personal with the current BTCC stars and machinery commenting, “Knockhill is probably the ultimate BTCC circuit. Consider what the BTCC is all about – close, competitive, bumper-to-bumper, rubbing panels, going for the big moves and putting on a show for the public. If you were to sit down and dream up a circuit for the BTCC then Knockhill is probably it."

“It’s a fantastic challenge for the drivers and a fantastic arena for people who love any sport to come and watch. The public can literally smell the action. A few other circuits around the UK allow the crowds to get as close in some areas but not all the way round like Knockhill. It retains a real ‘old school’ feel to it and unlike other circuits hasn’t been toned down.

“The atmosphere is also something else – the Knockhill crowd have a great sense of humour and plenty of opinions! But the BTCC at Knockhill is also one of those events that motor sport fans, wherever they’re from in the UK, need to tick off. It’s just a great excuse to jump in the car with three mates, drive up and make a big weekend of it.”

After their stunning performance at Silverstone where the Team Aon Ford's took all three race wins both Tom Onslow-Cole and Tom Chilton will be hoping for more of the same but may well find that the tighter nature of the Knockhill circuit could well negate the extra torque advantage of their LPG Turbo engines.

Chilton however points to other factors that he believes have given the Arena Motorsport prepared cars their recent pace, “I’m going to change the press after Silverstone", said Chilton, "I’m now praying for circuits with short straights. Our cars don’t have mega ‘top end’ performance anymore." The double race winner last time out went on to add "I don’t think Knockhill will be so bad. It’s a tight, twisty circuit and although the LPG technology means we’ve had extra weight to carry the progress we made with the chassis at Silverstone makes me feel quite confident. On top of that, giving us a smaller restrictor on the engine has actually improved the car’s engine braking.

“There are also several uphill sections out of corners at Knockhill and the torque we have in the engine should be good for us. But we might be at a disadvantage when we start using the kerbs which you have to at Knockhill. That gives you wheelspin and with our engine that starts sprawling the turbo up a bit for us so it might require a slightly different application on the throttle.

“I actually think out of the three circuits left that Donington will be the hardest circuit for us because it has got long straights.”

Team Honda driver and race instructor at the Scottish circuit Gordon Shedden believes this weekend's 3 races could go a long way in shaping the title fight for the last two meetings of 2010, "We’re at the stage where the championship fight starts to get a bit more dramatic, said Shedden, " After Knockhill we’ve only Donington Park and Brands Hatch to sort it all out, so this weekend is going to be very important to those still in the hunt. We’ve just got what are possibly our worst two circuits out of the way but are still in touch with the leaders and now comes Knockhill, which is a circuit that we believe will be much better for the Honda. It’s twisty and up and down – a bit like a rollercoaster ride but you don’t know if you’re ever going to reach the end. The Honda is fantastic on the brakes and cornering so hopefully it’s our kind of territory.”

Adult raceday tickets cost £27 whilst admission for children aged eight and under is free.

Tickets can be pre-ordered right up to Friday 3rd September at www.knockhill.com or by phone on 01383 723337

Editorial/Photo: Neil Tozer

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