Sam Tordoff underlined his pride after his strongest ever season in the British Touring Car Championship, despite his disappointment on missing out on a maiden championship crown by a mere two points to Honda’s Gordon Shedden at Brands Hatch.
Tordoff, who had led the series for the majority of the season, came unstuck in the final encounter. Needing to finish ahead of defending champion Shedden, the BMW 125i M Sport struggled for pace versus the soft-tyre shod cars around it, and Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R was able to pull past and bridge a gap behind.
For the 27-year old, it marked his first time heading to the 2.43 mile Grand Prix configuration of the circuit with a chance at one of the most prestigious prizes in British motorsport, though he was able to console himself with the HiQ Teams Championship for family-backed Team JCT600 with GardX and the Manufacturers award for West Surrey Racing.
Speaking to TouringCars.net shortly after the final race of the season, Tordoff paid tribute to now three-time champion Shedden and felt he did everything possible on the day to challenge the Scot.
“I can be really proud of what we’ve done today because I don’t think we’ve had a bad day at all, I can’t think of anything we would have done differently. I think we had three good results and that was where our pace was today. Gordon was the better man, got slightly better results and pipped me by what, two points?” commented Tordoff.
When quizzed as to whether he would have done anything differently on reflection, Tordoff admitted he was pleased with how Finals Day had panned out from a results point of view, but was left lacking in luck when it mattered most.
“Not today. I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that we did everything right today. We qualified and raced extremely well with full ballast, in race two we did what we needed to do. Unfortunately when we needed a bit of pace in the car at the end, it didn’t happen.”
In the latter stages of the race, the Mercedes A-Class of Adam Morgan passed Tordoff and began to zone in on Shedden. Relegating the Honda driver another position would have put the championship back on the table, something Tordoff admitted had been playing on his mind from the early stages of the race, once it became apparent he didn’t have the performance to compete.
“To be honest, lap two or three. I knew the car wasn’t coming to me like it usually does, so I was thinking this might be a fair struggle! With all the soft [tyre] cars around me, they just drove away from me.” he explained.
Masking his disappointment, the BMW ambassador chose to put his season into context and hailed the achievements of team and driver.
“Whatever’s happened today, we’ve had our best year by far, we’ve fully established ourselves as a title contender and I missed the championship by two points. I’m really happy, and I got beat by someone more experienced than me. Hopefully my time will come.”
Looking ahead to next season, Tordoff is out of contract at WSR and allured to the possibility of a move away from the BTCC should the right opportunity present itself.
“I have no idea. We’ve thought about all sorts of possibilities. As I stand here today, I have no contract on the table from anybody.
“It certainly won’t be set in stone that we come back here next year, we’ll just evaluate our options, see whats good and go from there.”