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BTCC 2013: the top ten drivers.

The 2013 British Touring Car Championship saw a new Champion crowned as Independent driver Andrew Jordan took his maiden title in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.

Behind Jordan, 38 other drivers’ took part in at least one race – 40 drivers’ were registered over the season with Chris Stockton failing to make the grid – and 33 of the 40 drivers scored at least one point throughout the 30 race calendar.

Seven drivers took at least one victory with two new outright race winners while another seven drivers’ had a visit to the podium throughout the campaign, while in the newly introduced Jack Sears Trophy, seven drivers in S2000 machinery won the class.

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Who were the top ten drivers’ of the 2013 British Touring Car Championship?

10. Dave Newsham – Speedworks Motorsport

0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 10th with 176 points

After a stellar season in 2012 where the Inverness based racer took two victories at the wheel of the Team ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra, Newsham headed into 2013 looking to continue the form which saw him crowned as the fans favourite for the campaign.

In his maiden season in the NGTC Toyota Avensis, the campaign didn’t go according to plan for Newsham as he failed to replicate his 2012 results despite a number of strong showings in the Speedworks car.

His best result of the season came in the penultimate round of the season at Brands Hatch, as he just missed out on a podium finish.

2014 will see Newsham race the Ford Focus.

9. Aron Smith – Airwaves Racing

0 Wins, 4 podiums, 9th with 201 points

Irishman Smith headed into his second season with Airwaves Racing and joined team-mate Mat Jackson in racing the NGTC Ford Focus which had made its debut midway through the 2012 campaign.

Having taken his maiden victory in 2012, at Brands Hatch, Smith had hoped for a strong 2013 and wound up with a testing yet rewarding campaign.

The opening half of the campaign saw Smith struggle yet being the stronger of the two Airwaves Racing drivers and he took the teams’ first podium finish of the campaign at Snetterton.

A ninth place finish in the Championship wasn’t what Smith expected but after the troubles of the opening half of the season, it’s something to build on in 2014 should he return.

8. Matt Neal – Honda Yuasa Racing

4 wins, 8 podium finishes, 4th overall with 356 points

Neal headed into the 2013 campaign looking to regain the trophy he lost to team-mate Gordon Shedden in 2012 and up until Rockingham, he was in Pole Position to do just that.

4 wins in the opening 15 races of the season gave Neal a solid basis for his title charge but a run of 4 podiums in the remaining 15 races saw his title charge dented as the other contenders ate into his Championship advantage.

Neal did reach a milestone during the season as he started his 500th BTCC race at Donington Park, and he narrowly missed the podium as he brought the Honda Civic home 4th – the car had been renumbered from #2 to #500 for the race – but the following round at Thruxton brought Neal his best weekend of the season.

As in the last couple of seasons, Neal’s season was affected by a broken hand – he had to race the final events in pain after another martial arts accident.

If Neal can avoid a broken hand as the season reaches the business end of the season and the new Civic Tourer is as competitive as its predecessor then 2014 could be his season once again.

7. Lea Wood – Wheel Heaven/Houseman Racing

0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 22nd overall with 8 points, 18 victories in the Jack Sears Trophy

Wood returned in the S2000 specification Vauxhall Vectra with the sole aim of winning the inaugural Jack Sears Trophy after his aim of securing an NGTC drive failed to materialise.

It took five races for Wood to take to the podium as the Jack Sears Trophy winner but after his first class win at Donington Park, he never looked back and a run of 12 victories in 15 races after the mid season break secured him his first BTCC trophy.

Despite the handicap of the aging car, less power compared to his rivals and the smaller 17” Dunlop tyres, Wood constantly kept pace with the back end of the NGTC field and broke into the outright top 15 on 3 occasions during the season with a best finish of 12th coming at Knockhill.

With the entire grid switching to NGTC machinery for 2014, Wood will find himself in a new car if he returns.

6. Sam Tordoff – MG KX Momentum Racing

1 Win, 5 Podium finishes, 6th overall with 286 points.

Tordoff joined the 888 run MG KX Momentum Racing squad for his first full season in the BTCC after two years racing in the Porsche Carerra Cup GB and with backing from the KX Akademy.

After making a one off appearance in a Vauxhall Vectra at the end of the 2010 campaign, Tordoff arrived as a series rookie and set about having a strong rookie season which saw him fail to finish once in the 30 race calendar.

His first victory came at Snetterton after he had taken his first Pole Position of his BTCC career and he continued to flourish as the season progressed.

A solid top six Championship finish was a solid return on his maiden campaign in the BTCC.

5. Rob Austin – WIX Filters Racing

1 Win, 4 Podiums, 11th with 154 Points

2013 marked a breakthrough season for Austin in the Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 as he took his maiden Pole Position and victory, whilst gaining legions of new fans with his approachable approach.

The season started on a high with a podium finish at Brands Hatch before an accident in the third race saw a major repair bill – cue the fans and the ‘I helped fix Sherman’ shirts which kept Austin on the track.

A switch to the TOCA engine started to push him forwards towards the mid season break but it was the trip north of the border to Knockhill which gave Austin and ‘Sherman’ their best weekend to date in the BTCC.

Pole Position, two podiums and a fourth place finish meant that Austin left Scotland as the top points scorer and he went one better at Rockingham as he took his maiden victory in the series and then even admitted that he’d spend the last couple of fans deciding whether to jump up on the roof or not!

The final two events saw Austin finish his season on a low after no points finishes in the final five races to drop outside of the top 10, one of his aims at the start of the season.

Having lost his WIX Filters backing for 2014, Austin is fighting to get his place on the grid in 2014.

4. Colin Turkington – eBay Motors

5 Wins, 5 Podiums, 5th with 347 points.

One of the stories of the season was the return of 2009 Champion Turkington in the eBay Motors 125i MSport after a 3 year absence and proved to be one of the quickest and cleanest racers on the grid.

It took Turkington six races to secure the first win for the new car at Donington Park and took full advantage of the cars advantages at Croft and Knockhill to take double wins to keep him in contention until the season finale.

The onetime WTCC race winner was also on the end of some rough moves which cost him points – twice at Snetterton he was spun out of the lead while at Silverstone, he was forced into retirement after contact at the back of the #29 BMW 125i MSport.

He also lost 4th place at Knockhill after being excluded for a technical infringement and the fatal blow came at Brands Hatch after he was tagged by team-mate Rob Collard at Paddock Hill bend and then had a head on with his other team-mate Nick Foster.

With a seasons’ worth of data with the car, Turkington will once again be in a position to challenge for his second title if he returns for the 2014 campaign.

3. Jason Plato – MG KX Momentum Racing

8 Wins, 4 Podiums, 3rd with 380 Points

2013 turned out to be one of the best for Plato, who added another 8 victories to his already record breaking amount of victories as he finished within 17 points of clinching his third BTCC crown.

A double win at Brands Hatch set the tone for the season as he took four sets of double wins during the campaign – his season was affected when having to run the soft Dunlop tyre as he used them quicker than those around him.

The cars bugbear from the 2012 campaign – wet weather performance – was eradicated and he took a dominant double victory to claw back 34 points in two races during the season finale.

2013 also saw Plato celebrate another milestone – the second race at Donington Park saw Plato bring up the 400 race mark.

If things goes his way and the team can improve the cars performance on the softer Dunlop tyre, Plato could be celebrating his third BTCC crown at Brands Hatch in October 2014.

2. Adam Morgan – Ciceley Racing

0 Wins, 1 Podium, 7th with 233 Points

After a tough maiden campaign in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis, 2011 Ginetta GT Supercup Champion Morgan returned to the family team for his second season in the BTCC.

Out of the 30 races, Morgan scored in 26 of them and had 22 top 10 finishes, consistency which resulted in him finishing third in the Independents’ drivers’ standings.

The sole podium finish at Oulton Park doesn’t do Morgan’s campaign justice as he proved to be the thorn in most of the leading drivers’ sides throughout the campaign and resulted in him finishing the season as the top Toyota driver in the Championship.

2014 will see Morgan and the family team bring another new manufacturer into the BTCC as the team switch from the 2011 Frank Wrathall Toyota Avensis to a self built NGTC Mercedes A Class with WIX Filters backing.

Morgan has proven himself – now for the next step and the first win in the BTCC, which isn’t that far away.

1. Andrew Jordan – Pirtek Racing

6 Wins, 6 Podiums, Champion with 397 Points

After securing the 2012 Independent drivers’ title, Jordan turned his attentions to the main prize – the outright BTCC drivers’ crown and he turned in a season of consistency, hard racing and Champions’ drives.

He proved that he was up for the fight in the opening race of the season as he went for an optimistic move on Plato and from then, never looked back.

Six wins in the season gave Jordan his best season yet in the BTCC, he also took his first double win at Rockingham as well as his first wet weather win the same weekend.

Consistency was also the name of the game for Jordan – he failed to finish one race all season, which could have proved fatal to his Championship hopes but gave him one final chance to produce a Champions drive which he did to secure the title.

He took the wins and podiums when they were available and banked the points in the other races – out of his six victories in 2013, half of them came in the reverse grid race while he took a single race one victory.

Throughout the season, Jordan and the Pirtek team have had the beating of the works team despite constantly having the penalty of 36kgs of success ballast on board the #77 Honda.

Jordan has already been out testing ready for the defence of his title in 2014, and has a new team-mate for the 2014 campaign as Martin Depper joins the team in place of Jeff Smith, and Pirtek Racing will be hoping to not be penalised the same as the works Honda’s as they will continue with their Civic’s whilst the works team switches to the Civic Tourer for 2014.

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