The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) closed out its 2022 season last weekend with three races at the legendary Brands Hatch circuit in England. Everything was up for grabs going into the race weekend, with West Surrey Racing (WSR) BMW driver Jake Hill poised as a serious contender for the drivers’ championship and BMW strongly positioned to win the manufacturers’ championship. Only seven points separated the top three drivers, which was the narrowest margin going into a final race weekend since 2011.
Hill finished on the podium in third in the first race after starting from fifth, but the race was won by Tom Ingram in his Hyundai i30N from the pole. There was a lot of contact during the race between Hill and championship contender Ashton Sutton, who had been leading the championship coming into Brands Hatch. The win moved Ingram ahead of Sutton going into race two, which was also won by Ingram. Hill finished second in that race, followed by teammate Colin Turkington in third. The second place finish also moved Hill into second place in the points going into the final. Unfortunately, none of the BMWs made it onto the podium in race three, which was won by Daniel Lloyd with Ingram finishing in fifth. Jake Hill finished behind Ingram in seventh, who went wide and lost positions after making a late race move on Sutton.
With 31 podium finishes in 30 races, including nine wins, BMW won the manufacturers’ championship, while Jake Hill finished third in the drivers’ championship and Colin Turkington finished fourth. Hill also won the Goodyear Wingfoot Award as the best qualifier during the year. The WSR BMW team with drivers Hill, Turkington, and Stephen Jelley finished second in the team championship.
BMWs win of the manufacturers’ championship was a record seventh-straight for BMW in the series. “It’s a magnificent achievement to win the BTCC manufacturers’ championship once, but to win it seven times in a row for our partners at BMW is very special and makes me extremely proud of the job that everybody at WSR has done this year,” says WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts after the race. “We threw everything at it this weekend to try and win the driver and team titles as well, but you can’t win them all. I’m very pleased with the level of effort from all three drivers on the track today. They all fought hard, but they fought fair, and ultimately that’s what everybody wants to see.” —David Haueter
[Photos courtesy West Surrey Racing]