The 2010 British Touring Car Championship gets underway at Hampshire's Thruxton Circuit on April 4. Despite the absence of 2009 champion Colin Turkington, there is still an exciting lineup of teams and drivers. This season preview takes you through the runners and riders.

Silverline Chevrolet - Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet enters the BTCC as a full manufacturer entry, with Cruzes built and run by RML for the world championship. 2001 champion Jason Plato remains with the team, while teenager Alex MacDowall joins from the Clio Cup. Plato begins as the title favourite, while MacDowall will be a regular in the top eight or so.

Team Honda - Honda Civic
Honda UK puts its weight behind Team Dynamics, with major modifications made to the Civic. Matt Neal returns to his family team, while Gordon Shedden returns having been dropped after the first round of 2009. Neal will push Plato for the title, while Shedden will take race victories in support.

Airwaves BMW - BMW 320si E90
Motorbase aim for the title after taking their first wins last year. Mat Jackson, who finished runner-up in his own privately-run BMW in 2008, moves to the team, and is joined by the returning Steven Kane, who beat teammate Rob Collard in his first year in touring cars in 2008. Jackson will lead BMW attack, while Kane will also win races.

WSR - BMW 320si E90
Due to having no title sponsor, there is no Colin Turkington, for now, and team could lose inter-BMW fight with Airwaves, despite taking their team leader Rob Collard. Andy Neate, a director of team sponsor Ceravision, moves to the series after recovery from life-threatening injury. Collard will win regularly, while Neate will score regular points.

Team Aon - Ford Focus ST LPG
Team made great strides forward at the end of last season, and LPG power could help them to the front. Team has a race-winning lineup in Tom Chilton and Tom Onslow-Cole. Chilton will be looking for race wins and maybe a title challenge, while Onslow-Cole has showed potential for WSR and Vauxhall.

Special Tuning UK - SEAT Leon
After running in the WTCC in association with Sunred, Tom Boardman's team moves to the BTCC as sole SEAT entry. Boardman will be looking to regularly mix it with the bigger teams and be the best of the family-run teams.

Boulevard Team Racing - Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Martin Johnson continues in the 2001 Asta Coupe, and will be looking to add to the two top 10 results he acheived in 2009, but will run near the back most of the time.

sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport - Honda Integra
Team returns for another season with ex-Dynamics Honda Integras. Fan favourite Paul O'Neill remains with the team, while Cornish mobile phone entrepreneur John George replaces Martyn Bell, having previsouly raced his own Integra for TH Motorsport. O'Neill will mix it with the bigger teams, but George will continue to run nearer the back of the field.

Forster Motorsport - BMW 320si E90
Team steps up from racing Minis, buying two ex-Andy Priaulx WTCC-winning BMWs from Mat Jackson. Martin Depper and Arthur Forster will be looking to beat the series's usual backmarkers.

Central Group Racing - Honda Integra
New BTCC team has run driver Lea Wood in club racing as well as the Clio Cup in 2008. Like Forster drivers, Wood will be looking to beat some of the series regulars.

Pinkney Motorsport - Vauxhall Vectra
Having disappointed with Team Dynamics last year, David Pinkney races an ex-works Vauxhall Vectra for his own team. He should beat his finishing position of 17th overall from last season.

Pirtek Racing - Vauxhall Vectra
Mike Jordan returns to the BTCC as a team owner only to facilitate his son Andrew Jordan, who showed promise driving for VX Racing last year. He will be looking to score regular points and be the best of the family-run drivers.

Triple Eight Race Engineering - Vauxhall Vectra
They may have lost manufacturer backing, but Triple Eight continue in the series. Dominant 2009 Clio Cup champion Phil Glew makes his series debut for the team. The team has yet to announce a second driver, but Formula Renault champion Dean Smith tested with Glew for the team two weeks ago.

TH Motorsport - Honda Civic Type-R
Matt Hamilton returns for a full-season after making his debut at the end of 2009. He will be looking for occasional points finishes as he continues to learn touring cars in an older-style Civic.

AmD Milltek Racing.com - Volkswagen Golf Mk5
Essex-based tuning company returns Volkswagen to the BTCC having modified a Golf from the Baltic championship to BTCC rules. Company boss Shaun Hollamby's previous experience comes mainly from VW Cup racing, and will be towards the back of the field in his first year.

Predicted Order:
1. Jason Plato
2. Mat Jackson
3. Matt Neal
4. Gordon Shedden
5. Tom Chilton
6. Rob Collard
7. Steven Kane
8. Tom Onslow-Cole
9. Alex MacDowall
10. Andrew Jordan
11. Tom Boardman
12. Andy Neate
13. David Pinkney
14. Paul O'Neill
15. Phil Glew
16. Matt Hamilton
17. Martin Depper
18. John George
19. Arthur Forster
20. Lea Wood
21. Martin Johnson
22. Shaun Hollamby

1. Thruxton - April 4
2. Rockingham - April 25
3. Brands Hatch GP - May 2
4. Oulton Park - June 6
5. Croft - June 20
6. Snetterton - August 8
7. Silverstone - August 22
8. Knockhill - September 5
9. Donington Park - September 19
10. Brands Hatch Indy - October 10

Photo Credit: Pete Mainey

24/02/2011 4:48pm

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