But this time, there have already been quite a few announcements. In this article we bring you up to speed with what and who have been announced since the end of the 2017 season.
In October it was announced that the grid would have a full 32 cars once again but unlike the previous year, the names of the teams entered were not revealed.
Maximum Motorsport were first to confirm their entry but are yet to say who will be behind the wheel of their Ford Focus.
Team Hard announced all four of their drivers over the next few months, all of whom will be driving the teams four VW CC cars. Newcomer Bobby Thompson was first to announce, the young driver has been working up the ranks of the lower categories over the past few years and now gets his chance in one of Britain premier championships. Mike Bushell, 2017 and 2014 Clio cup champion was next to be announced. Jake Hill is their only returning driver from 2017 with Michael Caine in the other seat having briefly driven for the team in 2016. He is a former British GT champion and so hope are high he can progress. The addition of engineer Geoff Kingston to the team (From Speedworks) should help the team find more speed from their cars.
AMD Tuning have announced that Ollie Jackson will return in one of it’s Audi’s but Ant Whorton Eales is not back in the second car. That drive has gone to young driver Sam Smelt. Sam has only been racing cars for a year having graduated from karts just twelve months earlier. He had a split season in 2017, starting with the VW Racing cup and ending it in British F4. He successfully tested the Audi at the end of 2017 and now joins the team.
BTC Norlin have confirmed that Chris Smiley will continue with them for a second year but his 2017 Dave Newsham has decided to retire from the BTCC to support his son’s racing career. The team’s 2017 cars have been retired too with their 2018 cars coming from Team Dynamics in the form of their 2017 Honda Civic Type Rs.
Eurotech are continuing with their Civic’s. Matt Simpson is joining the team with his own Civic, coming from the works Honda team. His car will be fitted with a Swindon engine like the other Eurotech team cars instead of the Honda Unit he ran with Team Dynamics in 2017. Jack Goff is confirmed in his seat for 2018 with high hopes that he can mount a title challenge. The third car is yet to be announced but It’s likely team Boss Jeff Smith’s son Brett will return. Brett Deputised for his father last year after Jeff’s huge crash at Croft. Jeff Smith will need at least several months more to fully recover and so Brett is likely to be in the car once again, having won the Mini Challenge JCW championship last season.
Ashley Sutton, the 2017 champion has confirmed he will be back in his BMR Subaru but his team mates are yet to be confirmed.
Speedworks also look set to return with 2017 independent champion Tom Ingram.
WSR BMW have announced that all three of their 2017 drivers (Turkington, Jordan and Collard) will return once again driving BMW 1 series.
Motorbase have announced they will return and that Tom Chilton will be one of their drivers. Mat Jackson is likely to return in another car but no more details have been released so far.
Further BTCC announcements are due imminently including the launch of the new Handy Motorsport Alfa Romeo for Rob Austin. The team will also be rebranded to HMS Racing.
A major announcement on the future of MG in the championship is due today (Thursday).
We will bring you all the latest news in our next BTCC report. By Marc Waller