The stage is set for a dramatic British Touring Car Championship title showdown at Brands Hatch this weekend with Jake Hill and Colin Turkington set to play starring roles as BMW and WSR target the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ crowns.
Jake and Colin, who have won six races and scored 22 podium finishes between them in the 27 races staged so far this year aboard their BMW 330e M Sport race cars, arrive at the legendary Kent venue locked in an ultra-tight battle to win the UK’s biggest racing series.
Local hero Jake, 28, enjoyed one of his best events of 2022 at Silverstone last month, scoring a win and a second place finish to vault from fourth to second place in the Drivers’ Championship.
The ROKiT MB Motorsport driver is just five points away from the series lead with 67 available from the weekend and also leads the race for the Goodyear Wingfoot Award, which is given to the year’s best performer in qualifying.
Brands Hatch was the scene of his maiden BTCC podium in 2018 and of a three more top-three finishes, including second place on the shorter ‘Indy’ layout earlier this year.
WSR stablemate Colin, from Northern Ireland, has a tougher task at Brands Hatch as he lies fourth in the Drivers’ standings, 27 points off the lead.
The Team BMW driver has claimed each of his record-equalling four BTCC titles at Brands Hatch though and has produced some of his greatest career performances at the track including a sensational win from 15th on the grid in 2017.
The Northern Irishman knows that nothing less than a full-on attack will be necessary to wrest the title from the clutches of his rivals.
Vital to Team BMW’s hopes of winning the Teams’ Championship – in which they currently hold second spot – will be Stephen Jelley, who has climbed the points table rapidly during the second half of the season and sits 10th overall, just 17 points away from eighth spot.
The BTCC finale has been kind to the Leicester racer, who scored his first pole position in the series in his rookie campaign in 2008 aboard a WSR BMW 3 Series and who qualified the current model third on the Indy Circuit in May.
A set of strong results from all three drivers will also bolster BMW’s hopes of turning their Manufacturers’ Championship lead into a record-extending seventh consecutive title – each one having been won with WSR-run race cars.
All three races will be broadcast live on ITV4 from 1000 on Sunday.
Every car on the BTCC grid is, for the first time, fitted with a spec hybrid system from Cosworth in 2022.
A 48-volt battery is located on the floor of the car in place of the ballast box. An inverter, Motor Generator Unit (MGU) and two cooling systems comprise the Hybrid element, which is powered by the car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
A driver can choose to deploy the energy via a button on the steering wheel, providing up to 30+ extra horsepower for a maximum of 15 seconds per lap during races. Energy created by braking is fed back to the battery, recharging it for the next use.
Deployment is only allowed at speeds of 75mph or higher and cannot be used on either the first lap of a race or on the first lap after a safety-car restart. An attempt to use the system in either of these scenarios will result in a two-second lockout.
In place of success ballast, the top 10 drivers in the championship points will have their hybrid use reduced on a sliding scale of 1.5 seconds per lap, from 10th down to first.
This means that while drivers in 11th place and lower will have access to the full 15s per lap, the driver in 10th will have 13.5s, the driver in ninth will have 12s and the number will continue to fall all the way to the series leader, who will have none.
At Brands Hatch, Jake will have 1.5s hybrid deployment available because he is second in the Drivers’ points. Colin will have 4.5 seconds per lap while Stephen will have 13.5s.
Rather than reducing the amount of hybrid energy available to each driver, the races will instead feature a decreased number of laps on which the top drivers can use it; that specific number being determined by championship positions.
The current points leader will not be allowed to use hybrid power for 10 of the scheduled 15 laps in Race One at Brands Hatch while the second-place driver – Jake – will be without it for nine. Colin and Stephen will have seven laps and one lap of hybrid use denied respectively.
Hybrid limits per driver will change for Races Two and Three based on the finishing order of the previous race. Drivers outside the top 10 will have hybrid power available to them on every lap.
How it works at Brands Hatch
The cars currently holding positions 1-10 in the Drivers’ Championship must complete the relevant number of laps in Race One without the use of hybrid. This is re-set for Race Two based on the Race One finishing order and then re-set again for Race Three based on the Race Two finishing order.
1st – 0 seconds
2nd – 1.5s
3rd – 3s
4th – 4.5s
5th – 6s
6th – 7.5s
7th – 9s
8th – 10.5s
9th – 12s
10th – 13.5
11th and down – 15s
1st – 10 laps
2nd – 9
3rd – 8
4th – 7
5th – 6
6th – 5
7th – 4
8th – 3
9th – 2
10th – 1
11th and down – 0