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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Why Tremendous Touring Energy ought to develop into a daily spotlight

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Tremendous Touring vehicles have been amazingly subtle and costly, which helps to elucidate why getting a constantly robust grid of them for a historic championship has at all times been a problem. However it’s attainable to relive one of many true heydays of tin-top competitors, as final weekend’s Manufacturers Hatch Tremendous Touring Energy Occasion proved.

A effective discipline of 20 vehicles certified for the primary race on the Grand Prix format on Saturday and 15 lined up for the fourth and closing contest on the Indy circuit on Saturday. The races have been quick and sharp – wise given the unique equipment – however lengthy sufficient to make the correct sights and sounds, and evoke many reminiscences.

The celebration went far past that, with shows and on-track demonstrations that included extra Tremendous Tourers and different spectacular tin-tops. Seeing Alain Menu’s 1997 British Touring Automobile Championship-winning Renault Laguna on-track with Ash Sutton’s present NGTC Ford Focus and a 2008 Holden Commodore pushed (rapidly) by Greg Murphy was a spotlight though they weren’t racing. After which there have been the myriad different sights, together with the prospect to play the unique TOCA and TOCA 2 laptop video games that so helped improve the profile of the BTCC within the late Nineteen Nineties.

However maybe the most important draw was the interval stars, who have been swamped for autographs. Menu discovered himself signing 5 of his {old} overalls owned by one fan and twice joined Autosport on the Tremendous Touring Energy stand to reminisce a couple of golden period of touring vehicles. Jeff Allam, Tim Harvey, Murphy, Paul Radisich, Anthony Reid, Steven Richards, Andy Rouse, Steve Soper and Patrick Watts did likewise over the 2 days, whereas Jake Hill – who confirmed his class on-track by successful all 4 races within the ex-Laurent Aiello Nissan Primera – additionally joined in. All appeared to take pleasure in it, with Menu even staging a minor invasion of our interview together with his former team-mate and sparring associate Reid…

Reid mentioned the weekend “exceeded expectations” and that summed up the final feeling. There have been definitely loads of followers – official figures weren’t put out however it’s secure to say it was nearer to a recent BTCC crowd than to a ‘regular’ clubbie.

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It offered a feel-good issue for MSV group motorsport occasion supervisor David Willey, who labored carefully with Traditional Touring Automobile Racing Membership chairman Stuart Caie, Peter Nonetheless and MSV’s Tom Arron to make it occur.

Interval and up to date BTCC racers accomplished demo runs, with Ash Sutton aboard his NAPA Ford

Photograph by: Gary Hawkins

“I met with Stuart at Easter final yr,” says Willey. “They’ve been doing an incredible job with the Tremendous Tourers and we thought we’d actually push an occasion at Manufacturers. We mentioned some concepts and it was a kind of moments when all the celebrities appeared to align.

“We thought, ‘What was at these occasions?’ As a teen, I spent hours on TOCA 2 and some colleagues mentioned they nonetheless had the sport, so we ended up getting 4 PlayStations and {old} video games, and a tent…”

Response to a TOCA 2 social media submit confirmed they have been heading in the right direction.

“We’ve put an enormous quantity of promotion and funding behind it,” provides Willey. “We put our coronary heart and soul into this.

“There are such a lot of extra stars we might hopefully invite subsequent yr. And it’s all about ensuring folks wish to do it once more” David Willey

“The love and fondness for the interval has simply been wonderful. What’s blown me away is how approachable the legendary drivers have been and to listen to how completely satisfied they’re to be right here.”

It wasn’t nearly Tremendous Touring, both. Though that was the headline, the CTCRC’s different sequence charted the historical past of tin-tops proper again to the beginning, with its common pre-1966/1983/1993/2003 and Traditional Thunder divisions – and loads of spectators stayed trackside to observe them.

“It’s been a tremendous race weekend and the entries have been incredible,” confirms Willey.
It led many to ask a couple of repeat in 2024.

“I might like to say we’re going to do that subsequent yr and we’re open to it, however it’s been so successful how on Earth are we going to prime this?” asks Willey. “We’ve got to be aware about how we take this ahead.”

Down Under stars Steven Richards, Paul Radisich and Greg Murphy made the long trip to Brands. Now organisers want more past legends to join the fun

Down Below stars Steven Richards, Paul Radisich and Greg Murphy made the lengthy journey to Manufacturers. Now organisers need extra previous legends to hitch the enjoyable

Photograph by: Gary Hawkins

Fortuitously, there may be scope for extra. Watts is considering racing his Peugeot 406, John Cleland – who couldn’t make it this yr – could be an apparent draw. Then there’s 1998 champion Rickard Rydell (busy final weekend on the Crimson Bull Ring), plus Frank Biela and Yvan Muller (each potential attendees till getting Le Mans Traditional gigs).

There have been no Audis or BMWs within the Tremendous Touring races, both – that’s not a criticism, merely some extent to goal for subsequent time. There are already murmurings that different vehicles might reappear.

“Now that they’ve seen the occasion, folks will get vehicles prepared,” agrees Willey. “One of many huge issues to get subsequent yr could be John Cleland. He’s incredible, nonetheless runs his Vauxhall Vectra and has such a following. There are such a lot of extra stars we might hopefully invite subsequent yr. And it’s all about ensuring folks wish to do it once more.”

There doesn’t appear to be a lot concern there. A number of the drivers hadn’t seen one another in 20 years so there was a sort of reunion ambiance. And their ideas additionally turned to who else ought to come – Menu steered 1993 champ Jo Winkelhock, whereas Hill reckoned different present BTCC racers ought to come alongside.

Willey was understandably cautious about committing to doing the occasion once more, however this felt like the beginning of one thing, not a one-off. Let’s get a date within the 2024 diary sooner slightly than later…

All concerned hope to see Super Touring Power become an annual club racing highlight

All involved hope to see Tremendous Touring Energy develop into an annual membership racing spotlight

Photograph by: Gary Hawkins

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