2024 BTCC season preview

25th April 2024
James Charman

After an off-season of rule changes, teams and drivers both coming, going and then coming back again, and a ground-breaking broadcast deal, the British Touring Car Championship finally returns this weekend. Fresh from one of the strongest performances from a single driver in years, fans will be hoping the 2024 season brings a return to the nail-biting finishes it has become famous for.

So who are the runners and riders? Who do we expect to be at the sharp end? Where and when are they racing? Let Goodwood Road & Racing answer all those questions and more as we bring you up to speed with all you need to know about the 2024 BTCC season.


What happened last year in the BTCC?

The 2023 BTCC season saw one of the most dominant performances in recent memory as NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton stormed to victory across the year. Such was the strength of the Alliance Racing-run Ford Focus that the traditional end-of-season showdown, where there’s usually at least four or five drivers with a mathematical shot at the crown, that only two drivers entered the Brands Hatch finale with a chance at lifting the trophy.

The reality is, though, that there was only ever one man who would be leaving with his name in the history books. The 45-point gap Sutton held over rival Tom Ingram meant that the latter needed a near-perfect weekend with the Ford man having the worst weekend of his year. Pole position, fastest lap and a win for Sutton in the opening race at Brands Hatch ended any hopes of a nail-biting finish, but it would have been wrong had anyone else walked away with the title in 2023.

Despite the dominance at the sharp end of the table, there were still eight race winners throughout the course of the 2023 season, and some breakout performances amidst some extreme weather conditions across the year.

While Sutton, NAPA and Ford were walking away with every title they were eligible for, it meant the end of one of the longest winning streaks in BTCC history. For the first time since 2015, BMW was not at the top of the Manufacturers/Constructors standings. There was still some success for the 3-Series, though, as Jake Hill and Colin Turkington shared nine wins between them, split six to three, on their way to third and fourth in the points respectively. However, that barely scratches the surface when compared to the expectations the West Surrey Racing team sets itself, and no doubt it will attack 2024 looking to make amends for a subpar 2023.


What’s new in the BTCC this year?

There have been a handful of regulation changes in the off-season ahead of the 2024 campaign, including changes to both the hybrid system and the use of option tyres in a bid to try and avoid some of the successive victories that were particularly prevalent in 2023, with half of the race weekends seeing the same driver take victory in races one and two.

For 2024, there will be twice as much power available to drivers using their boost – which will comprise of a combination of hybrid and turbo boost and will be delivered through the same steering wheel-mounted button previously used. Up until now, the hybrid boost has had little impact on the running order, especially when compared to how much the success ballast format shook up the field in previous seasons. Hopes are that with this doubling of power, it will be much easier for cars to pull alongside those they’re chasing, and even make overtaking maneuvers into corners previously not seen.

Goodyear will also bring back the soft, medium and hard tyre options for the upcoming season – with the usual exception of Thruxton where all cars must run the hard tyre. What makes the new rule different, and particularly aimed at avoiding repeat winners between races one and two, is that those who finish in the top ten must run the hardest available compound in the following race.

Finally, a new qualifying format inspired by IndyCar will be used from this season, as the BTCC introduces ‘Quick Six’ Qualifying. The field will be split in two based upon whether they ended in an odd or even position in Free Practice 2. After two separate 10-minute sessions, the top six from each will go into the second 10-minute session, known as the “Top 12”. Finally, the top six from the “Top 12” go into a final “Quick Six” 10-minute session to define the front three rows of the grid for race one.


BTCC 2024: Who’s racing?

One of the biggest headline names on the BTCC entry list for 2024 is the return of former World Champion Rob Huff, who embarks on his first full-time BTCC entry in 20 years. Huff joins the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Gazoo Racing UK squad alongside the reigning Jack Sears Trophy winner Andrew Watson, who jumps ship from Power Maxed Racing, in an all-new lineup for the works Toyota outfit.

While there may only be two Toyotas running the works livery compared to the three of last year, there will actually be one extra Toyota on the grid with the formation of the LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ satellite operation. Aiden Moffat and Josh Cook fill the satellite Corolla seats, moving their old One Motorsport partnership up the grid.

Ash Sutton returns to defend his crown, aiming to become the first ever five-time BTCC champion with the NAPA Racing UK stable, who announce an unchanged lineup from its 2023 campaign of Sutton, Dan Cammish, Dan Rowbottom and Sam Osborne. Also unchanged is the four-car Bristol Street Motors squad, who will be hoping lead driver Tom Ingram can go one better than his runners’ up spot last year. Tom Chilton, Ronan Pearson and Nick Halstead complete the Hyundai entry.

The final team entered in the Constructors field are the West Surrey Racing BMWs, with Colin Turkington and Adam Morgan returning in the works-liveried 330e M Sports, and the Laser Tools Racing 3-Series of Jake Hill once again sharing the garage with the works cars. A fourth West Surrey car has been listed on entry lists and the team are pushing to find a suitable driver, but one remains to be announced. Bobby Thompson did sample the car at a pre-season test, but the team stressed that it was just a test at that stage.


There are only five Independent entries going into 2024, with an unchanged lineup of Aron Taylor-Smith and Mikey Doble in the pair of Vauxhall Astras for Power Maxed Racing. It was expected that Team HARD would be missing out on an entry this year, having been one of the largest stables in recent seasons, but a late deal came in to ensure that Daryl DeLeon kept the team on the grid for 2024.

Finally, a new team to the championship will line up at Donington Park in the shape of Restart Racing. The team, which will run two former Team HARD Cupra Leons, has spent the last two seasons in TCR UK – where it won in 2022 – and will see Chris Smiley return to the BTCC paddock to lead the squad. Scott Sumpton will drive the second car, in a team that features a number of ex-BTCC personnel from the old BTC Racing outfit.

Pearson, Halstead, DeLeon, Doble and Sumpton will all also be competing for the Jack Sears Trophy – a secondary points table for those who have yet to score an overall podium in the BTCC. Previous winners of the Jack Sears have included current front-runners Ash Sutton, Josh Cook and Dan Cammish.


Who are the favourites to win BTCC 2024?

It’d take a very brave man to bet against Ash Sutton, who showed strong pace in pre-season tests in both wet and dry conditions. Sutton’s Ford Focus was as close to unbeatable as possible in the BTCC last season and has shown more signs of being the pace-setter at both Croft and Donington Park, all signs point towards a potential record-setting fifth championship for the 30-year-old.

However, everyone will be champing at the bit to try and get back on track after ending 2023 with their tails between their legs. Tom Ingram will be hoping he can do a little more than just hang on to the back of Sutton, as he had to do multiple times throughout last season. You can also never count out Jake Hill or Colin Turkington in the West Surrey Racing BMWs, although the best chance seems to lie with the former, with Hill scoring no fewer than six wins last year.

Also noticeable from pre-season testing was the amount of laps that Rob Huff was putting in behind the wheel of his new Toyota Corolla. Previous seasons suggest that the Toyota may not be the ideal car for a championship challenge, a few wins maybe, but the Speedworks team haven’t put together a serious title charge since Tom Ingram finished second in 2018, and that was with the old Avensis. However, Huff’s talents are no secret, and Andrew Watson showed strong potential in his first year in front-wheel-drive machinery last year. With two experienced hands in the satellite garage to gain additional data, could this finally be the year we see something special from the Corolla?


When does the 2024 BTCC season start?

The season kicks off this coming weekend (27/28 April) at Donington Park, before embarking on its now traditional ten-meeting, 30-round season. Qualifying will begin at 15:25 on Saturday, with the first race starting at 11:30 on Sunday morning. Races two and three then get underway at 14:35 and 17:25 respectively.

Across the course of the year, the championship will visit eight circuits, starting with the shorter National layout at Leicestershire’s Donington then moving on to the shortest circuit of the year at Brands Hatch two weeks later. From there the series visits the longest circuit on the calendar at Snetterton over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Two race meetings in June, at Thruxton and Oulton Park bring to a close the first half of the year.

Following a four-week summer break, the championship resumes at the end of July, north of the border at the picturesque Knockhill. A second visit to Donington, around the Grand Prix circuit, comes over the August bank holiday before the usual closing rounds of the Silverstone National and Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit bring the curtain down in September and October.


Where can I watch the 2024 BTCC season?

As usual, ITV4 will have its race day coverage, bringing not only live coverage of all three BTCC races, as well as qualifying streamed on Saturday but also all of the support action on Sunday, which includes the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, F4 British Championship, MINI Challenge and more.

In a first for 2024, though, comes the live streaming of the entire season around the world on TikTok. The agreement between ITV Sport and the social media platform has been hailed as a world-first and will see all 30 races streamed live and in full via the ITV Sport TikTok channel.

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images

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