15:16 PM

Dunlop MSA BTCC season review

  • Ash Sutton crowned champion in thrilling climax
  • 13 winners from 30 races
  • Matt Neal underlines tenacity to win Dunlop’s #ForeverForward
  • 2755 #ForeverForward position gains across the 10 events
  • Sutton claims tyre option choice key to championship win

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship came to a dramatic close at Brands Hatch on Sunday after a season of 30 breathtaking races across ten rounds. Heading into the event, Ash Sutton held a ten-point lead over double champion Colin Turkington, the only two realistically in with a chance of lifting the crown.

After the opening race in Kent, Sutton had extended his lead to 24 points, but after race two the gap had reduced to just six after a scintillating recovery by Turkington that saw him scythe his way through the field from 15th to take victory. Heading into the crucial final race of the season it was Sutton who came out on top, as Turkington retired with mechanical damage, leaving six-time race winner Ash to finish third and secure his first BTCC crown.

2017 produced another monumental season with 13 different winners across the 30 races. The season also marked a number of milestones, notably Matt Neal equalling Andy Rouse’s 60 BTCC wins during the Thruxton round, and adding to that at Silverstone, Jason Plato extended his winning tally to 97. Thruxton also marked an impressive event for BMW with Collard and Turkington collecting wins 99 and 100 for the German marque, while at Croft, Turkington claimed West Surrey Racing’s 75th BTCC win, their 50th with BMW – ten years after his first win at the North Yorkshire track.

Thruxton marked the appearance of Dunlop’s Sport Maxx Hard option tyre, where the compound development, together with increased tyre size, provided increased performance on the most demanding circuit on the calendar. For the first time the hard compound was specified as the option tyre for Croft, Rockingham and Silverstone. At Croft, Sutton was the only driver in the top 14 to elect to use the hard option in race one and recorded his second win of the year, a tyre choice strategy he explained was key in clinching the title:

Ash Sutton, 2017 BTCC Champion

“The tyres have been a big part in winning. When you pick the option tyre has been the biggest thing for us. We’ve always tried to be the odd one out and that played a part in where we are today. The knowledge of the guys and the different compounds of the tyres has really thrown the mix in there and it’s part and parcel of my journey to here.”

BTCC Season Stats

  • Aiden Moffat took his first ever BTCC win at Donington Park
  • Matt Neal took his 60th BTCC win at Thruxton, and his 61st at Silverstone
  • Aiden Moffat made his 100th race start in the BTCC at Thruxton
  • Colin Turkington claimed BMW’s 100th BTCC win at Thruxton
  • Turkington took a record 12th win at Croft, WSR’s 75th BTCC win, their 50th with BMW – ten years after his first win at Croft
  • Thirteen different drivers have climbed the top step of the podium, beating last year’s record
  • There have been 16 different podium finishers
  • Every race winner across the Oulton Park weekend was running Dunlop Option-Soft tyres 
  • Oulton marked the turning point for Sutton, as he recorded his first of six wins this season
  • Jack Goff recorded his first ever pole position, at Snetterton
  • Jason Plato recorded his 50th pole position, with top spot at Knockhill, going on to record his 97th career win
  • James Cole recorded his first BTCC victory, powering away from pole at Rockingham
  • Five of the top six in race two finished on the Sport Maxx Hard option tyre at Rockingham
  • Silverstone saw history made with the entire field covered by less than a second in qualifying
  • Rob Austin secured his first win of 2017 and the first outright win for Handy Motorsport

Final BTCC points standings after round ten

1. Ashley Sutton 372pts
​2. Colin Turkington 351pts
3. Tom Ingram 311pts
​4. Gordon Shedden 309pts
​5. Rob Collard 256pts
​6. Jack Goff 245pts
​7. Matt Neal 243pts
​8. Mat Jackson 210pts
​9. Andrew Jordan 203pts
10. Adam Morgan 187pts

Matt Neal fights back to take #ForeverForward Award

The Dunlop #ForeverForward Award rewards drivers for their determination and fightbacks from adversity, the overtaking league focusing on the battles through the field with one point awarded for every position gained. This year’s table has a distinctly unusual look about it, with double champion Matt Neal topping the points after five rounds. The Honda Yuasa racer is without question one of the best touring car drivers on the 2017 grid, and his fightbacks at Brands Hatch, Thruxton and Croft are testament to his undoubted skill, as he also finished seventh overall in the BTCC.

The award will be presented to Matt at the Annual TOCA Awards Night.

#ForeverForward Stats

  • Eight drivers have taken #ForeverForward weekend honours, Matt Neal x 2, Colin Turkington, Tom Chilton, Ashley Sutton, Tom Ingram, Senna Procter, Aiden Moffat and Chris Smiley
  • The highest number of overtaking moves in one race (23) was recorded by Colin Turkington in race two at Brands Hatch
  • Ash Sutton (Donington Park) scored the highest number of overtaking moves across a weekend with a staggering 31 places
  • A total of 2755 places have been gained across the ten rounds
  • Top-two season finishers Ash Sutton and Colin Turkington tied in the #ForeverForward league with 107 position gains each over the 30 races.

Dunlop #ForeverForward standings after round ten

1. Matt Neal 137pts
​2. Chris Smiley 124pts
​=2. Jake Hill 124pts
​4. Dave Newsham 123pts
​5. Martin Depper 114pts
​6. Ollie Jackson 108pts
​7. Colin Turkington 107pts
​=7. Aiden Moffat 107pts
​=7. Ash Sutton 107pts
10. Mat Jackson 101pts