2006 British Touring Car Championship season


2006 British Touring Car Championship season

BTCC season
Previous = 2005
Current = 2006
Next = 2007

The 2006 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season was the 49th British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season. As in 2005, there were ten racing weekends at nine different circuits; each round comprising three races, making a thirty round competition in total.

Changes for 2006

Teams and drivers

Reigning Teams and Independents champions Team Dynamics continued to run their pair of Honda Integra Type Rs for a second year. Reigning champion Matt Neal remained with his family team, now joined by Scottish driver Gordon Shedden, who graduated from the SEAT Cupra championship to replace Dan Eaves. Gareth Howell again later appeared in a third car. The Triple 8-run works Vauxhall effort continued with a trio of entries in their second season with the Astra Sport Hatch. Yvan Muller left the team after six seasons to contest the World Touring Car Championship for SEAT, and was replaced by Italian veteran Fabrizio Giovanardi, a multiple champion in several European series but contesting his first season in British touring cars. Tom Chilton replaced Colin Turkington in the second car, after six seasons with the Arena Motorsport-run works Honda programme, while Gavin Smith spent a second season in the third car. Turkish champion Erkut Kizilirmak also made occasional appearances in a fourth entry. Vauxhall's only opposition for a sixth straight Manufacturers title came from SEAT, who replaced its trio of Toledos with a pair of new Leons. Jason Plato again headed their assault, while the second seat was alternated throughout the year between the returning James Thompson (also racing for SEAT in the WTCC) and sportscar star Darren Turner. Both drivers ran in the final round with Thompson using his WTCC car. In its third year as an independent, West Surrey Racing continued to run its ex-works MG ZSs (MG Rover in fact having gone out of business during 2005), Colin Turkington returned to the team after a disappointing year at Vauxhall, joining Rob Collard, the team's sole driver in 2005. Among the most competitive newcomers to the series were two sportscar specialist teams running ex-Team Dynamics 2005 Integras. Team Eurotech ran 48 year-old veteran Mike Jordan, back in the BTCC after well over a decade away in sportscar and GT racing, while Motorbase Performance ran another returning veteran, David Pinkney, making his first BTCC appearance since 2001. Tom Ferrier also returned to the series with Motorbase in the final round, driving an ex-works SEAT Toledo. Synchro Motorsport ran James Kaye in their Honda Civic Type-R for a fourth straight season, while Jason Hughes also returned driving an ex-works MG ZS for his Kartworld Racing team. Both Kartworld and the WSR team switched their MGs to bio-ethanol fuel later in the season. Again running bio-ethanol fuel were Tech-Speed Motorsport, who once again ran Fiona Leggate in their Vauxhall Astra Coupe, she was replaced by ex-Vauxhall works driver Paul O'Neill for the final two rounds. Mark Proctor switched from his Astra Coupe for his second season, his Fast-Tec Motorsport team instead running a Civic Type-R. BMW and Alfa Romeo were represented on the BTCC grid for the first time since 2004, with club racers Martin Bell (Geoff Steel Racing) and Mark Smith (In-Front Motorsport) making their debuts in an ex-WTCC BMW 320i and Alfa Romeo 156 respectively. The championship welcomed several more entries across the course of the season. Xero Competition entered a Lexus IS200 (converted to Super 2000 rules from the Dutch touring car series) for British GT racer Adam Jones, Quest Racing ran young Irishman Eoin Murray in the ex-works Alfa Romeo 156 he won for taking the Alfa Romeo 147 Challenge title in 2005, while Richard Marsh returned to the field racing an ex-Vic Lee Racing Peugeot 307 for Team Griffin Racing. The final two rounds saw another raft of new entries, all of which were planning full camapaigns in 2007. The pair of Lexus IS200s run by SpeedEquipe in 2005 were entered by BTC Racing for Chris Stockton and Darren Dowling, while a third Lexus was fielded by Team Forward Racing for Mark Jones. Daniels Motorsport made a second late-season appearance with their Astra Coupe, with Nick Leason at the wheel.

* In 2006, the number of grid places to be reversed for race three’s starting grid will vary between six and ten. The actual number will be unknown at each race meeting until it is randomly drawn by the winner of race two, immediately after that race.
* The base-weight of BTC-spec cars will increase to 1175kg (although the difference in base weight between BTC and S2000-spec cars will be the same as existed at the end of 2005)
* Cars of those who enter the BTCC late, or dip in and out of the championship, with be penalised with a maximum success ballast at their first meeting or on their return. The ballast amount will subsequently reduce in the second and third meeting in which that car competes.

Teams and Drivers

M = Manufacturer team
I = Independent team
E = Car built to Super 2000 regulations

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