|1995 BTCC season|
|Previous: 1994||Next: 1996|
|1995 Yugo Challenge|
The 1995 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship season was the fifth British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season, which commenced on 2 April and ended on 24 September. The championship consisted of ten meetings, each held in the United Kingdom.
Changes for 1995Edit
- Following the controversies over aerodynamic aids in 1994, as first used by Alfa Romeo, BTCO announced that spec wings and spoilers would be allowed for all cars in the new season.
- New for 1995 would be 'Success Ballast', a handicap weight system to help level the performance of the cars by adding extra weight to the 5 highest performing cars at the end of race 1, and again after race 2. In the case of the BTCO BTCC, at the end of each race the top 5 finishing cars will be designated success ballast for the next race.
- This weight is stackable between races - for example, winning both race 1 and race 2 would mean a 100kg weight addition for race 3, whereas 3rd in race 1 but 7th in race 2 would mean just 30kg for race 3.
- The top five point scoring drivers of a race meeting will carry half (rounded up) of any success ballast gained from that race meeting over to the next race meeting's qualifying session - but this will be reset back to zero for the start of race 1.
2 manufacturers pulled out of the series at the end of 1994:
- Nissan left the series after finishing in last place in the 1994 Teams' standings.
- Mazda also pulled out of the series as a works effort after struggling to finish the 1994 season - but Mazda cars would continue to compete in the BTCO (see below).
In their places came several new entries:
- Honda entered the series as a manufacturer for the first time. Operated by Motor Sport Developments, the marque would campaign the Accord in the BTCC.
- Former Independent Teams' champions Team Dynamics returned to the series, uniquely choosing to develop a Ford Mondeo from scratch without works backing.
- Mint Motorsport would also join the Independent ranks, with a similarly upgraded Mondeo to Team Dynamics, albeit a 1993 ex-works car rather than the previous year's.
- Perhaps most interestingly, Team Magic would enter the series campaigning the Mazda 323F - a car which previously raced in the 1992 British Touring Car Championship at the hands of Matthew Wheeler, as part of Mazda's factory efforts - and had been upgraded to meet 1995 specification.
The driver market for 1995 saw many drivers elect to change teams:
- Three-time and reigning BTCC champion Lorenzo Turri left Alfa Corse to return to Vauxhall Sport, the team with which he dominated the 1992 season. Turri signed a one year deal with the Ray Mallock-operated team, in the final year of works competition for the venerable Cavalier - which saw the team downsize to just one car in order to maximise Turri's title chances, while also continuing development on the 1996 car.
- With both of their Manufacturers' title-winning drivers (and reigning champion Turri) from 1994 gone, Alfa Corse evidently saw no reason to stay either - handing their BTCC operations to British firm Prodrive, who subsequently signed the displaced David Osborne from Vauxhall, as well as ex-Hamish Irvine driver Marie Müller, to drive the title-defending 155s in a year where they would suffer in the development race, and where their main advantage - aerodynamics - had been almost entirely negated.
- Nathan Hammond left Ford - and indeed, the BTCO - near the end of 1994, and did not return for 1995. Halil Sahin chose not to continue at Ford after 1994, and left to join Swedish outfit Team Magic in the Independent championship, in the privately developed Mazda 323F. This left Chris English as the sole remaining driver from 1994. Downsizing to a 2-car operation, the Andy Rouse-operated Team Mondeo drafted in rookie Joshua Anderson to partner English for 1995.
- Johannes Meles left the Renault Dealer Team for pastures new in the form of the Honda team. Joining the German at the brand new MSD-run outfit was former Mazda driver Emile Taylor. Taylor had missed the majority of the 1994 season after crashing heavily at Brands Hatch and damaging his Xedos 6 chassis, and joined Honda as he was looking for a seat anyway due to the end of Mazda's works efforts - and both drivers entered 1995 with a view towards helping to develop the Accord into a race winning car.
- Renault would also lose the services of Michael Sneath, who elected to take on a new challenge and joined BTCC newcomers Mint Motorsport, fighting for Independent honours in their single privateer Mondeo, leaving the team with 2 spare seats for 1995. Having lost both of their drivers, both of whom had raced for the team since 1993, Renault ultimately lost interest in running a full works team, and signed management of their BTCC activities over to Williams Touring Car Engineering, a newly formed branch of the legendary F1 outfit. This lead to the signing two-time Independent champion Mike Bell - who left the TWR Volvo team in the process - and former Mazda driver Daniel Hurlock, who like Taylor before him was out of contract after Mazda's withdrawal of works support for the Xedos 6.
- This initially left the Volvo team with no drivers for 1995, since Bell had been their only full-time driver in '94 - and it looked like they might not make the grid at all; the team were ultimately saved, however, by the signing of newcomer Sam Mumby. The outrageous Volvo 850 Estate would be no more though, as the new aerodynamic rules for 1995 left TWR opting to campaign the saloon version of the 850 instead.
- After winning the 1994 Independent Drivers' championship with Woodkirk Peugeot, former Peugeot works driver David Todaro would heed the call back up to the works team for 1995, re-joining Total Team Peugeot for the first time since 1993 and in the last year of works racing for the 405 Mi16. However, his compatriot Ted Hough left the French team to join 4-time BTCC race winner Jake Black at Toyota - leaving Peugeot as a one-car operation.
Mid season changesEdit
- Another American driver in the form of Diego Flores joined part-way through the season with the Hamish Irvine-run SCB Vehicle Dismantlers team in a privately run year-old Peugeot 405 Mi16.
- After missing the final 3 rounds of the 1994 season, Nick Wu re-joined the field for the latter half of 1995 with new team Thames Ford Dealers in a newly built Ford Mondeo. Notably, this car was based on the 5-door Mondeo, rather than the 4-door car used by Team Mondeo and the other independents.
- BMW had hoped to compete full-time in 1995, retaining Kyle Benton and hoping to move up to a 2 car operation, but before the season started Team Schnitzer - who had ran the outfit since 1993 - withdrew from the BTCC, as they were unhappy with the prospect of running as a single-car entry and wished to focus their efforts on the German and Japanese touring car series. BMW instead employed its UK division to manage the BTCC efforts, but this late change in operations - alongside Benton finding himself unable to race at short notice - left the marque absent from the first half of the 1995 championship. Eventually, BMW would make the grid at Knockhill, with Chris Cobbett racing for the marque in a single BMW 320i.
Season summaryEditThe first round of the 1995 BTCO British Touring Car Championship took place at Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent. Lorenzo Turri started the 1995 season just as he had finished 1994 - by taking pole position, albeit by just 0.09s from Johannes Meles. The opening race would see the reigning champion make the perfect start to the season, as he took a lights to flag victory. Behind him would be Meles in an outstanding performance for the debuting Honda Accord, taking 2nd place. Mike Bell rounded out the podium with 3rd on his debut for Renault. Bell's teammate Daniel Hurlock took victory in the second race of the weekend, with Ford's Chris English in 2nd and Toyota's Jake Black in 3rd position, making it 6 different drivers on the podium in the opening 2 races. Hurlock would double his win tally in the final race of the weekend, however, with Turri finishing 2nd and Bell again taking 3rd.
Hurlock (47 points) lead Turri (45), Bell (40), Meles and Black (both 38) in the Manufacturer Drivers' championship after the first round. Renault (87 points) took an early lead from Ford (55) and Toyota (48) in the Manufacturer Teams' Championship.
Round 2 at Donington Park saw Black best Turri in qualifying, outqualifying him by 0.2s and becoming the first driver other than the Italian to achieve pole position since David Osborne in 1993. However it was Hurlock who was the star of the first race, taking his third win in four races and moving even further ahead in the Drivers' championship. Black held onto second for Toyota, and Bell made it two Renaults on the podium in third position. Bell would take his first win of the season in race two, narrowly edging out Meles - who would be forced to settle for second place. Black would round out the podium, finishing 3rd. Having missed out on the podium in the first two races, Turri found his way back to the top step in race three, taking a comprehensive victory and reaffirming his 1995 title defence. The ultra-consistent Black made it a hattrick of podiums by taking another second place, with Bell holding onto third to end the Donington meeting having finished on the podium in all three races.
Bell, now on 86 points, took the lead of the Manufacturer Drivers' Championship - overhauling team-mate Hurlock to lead by a single point. Turri dropped down to third with 81 points. Renault continued their early domination of the Manufacturer Teams' championship, now on 171 points - 78 points ahead of Toyota (93) and third-placed Vauxhall (81) with Ford dropping to fourth, a further six points behind.
Kris Simton had the perfect weekend in the Independents' championship, with a clean sweep of victories. His nearest rival, Sneath, endured a torrid time after tangling with fellow independent Halil Sahin in the first race, and having his Ford engine expire in race three. Simton would take the lead of the championship on 102 points from Sneath (86), with Sahin (30) getting off the mark after not appearing at Brands Hatch.
Thruxton played host to Round 3, with Hurlock taking his first BTCC pole at the Hampshire track - pipping second placed Turri by just 0.03s. Hurlock converted this into victory in Race 1, with his team-mate Bell making it a Renault 1-2 and achieving the fastest lap in the process. Turri rounded out the podium by taking 3rd place, but would have to endure a tough round - as he finished 11th in race two and didn't make the start in race 3. The second race saw Johannes Meles continue his superb run of form - by taking Honda's first BTCC win, just as he had done with Renault in 1993. It was the Renault pair who joined Meles on the podium, with Bell in second and Hurlock in third. In race three, Black found his form and took his - and Toyota's - first win of the season. English finished in second in the leading Ford, with Hurlock taking another third place.
This consistency gave Hurlock the lead of the Manufacturer Drivers' championship back, ending the race meeting with 132 points, with Bell only two points behind in second. Black's victory helped to propel him into third place on 107 points, overtaking Meles and Turri in the process.
Renault looked like the ones to beat in the Manufacturer Teams' championship, now on 262 points - an incredible 125 points ahead of second-placed Ford, who leapfrogged Vauxhall and Toyota to move back up the order, with the latter in third a further 11 points behind.
Michael Sneath fought back in the Independents' championship after a difficult outing at Donington Park - taking two wins in Races 1 and 2. The clean sweep of Thruxton was denied, however, as Simton would win Race 3, helping him to retain the lead of the championship on 152 points - albeit with a reduced lead of 14 points, down from 16 previously, with Sahin still on 30 points after not starting any of the three races.Round 4 took place at the National circuit at Silverstone, and Turri seemed like a man on a mission after a nightmarish Thruxton - taking pole position in the venerable Cavalier. The star of the session was Ford driver Joshua Anderson, however - with an incredible flying lap putting him just 0.09s behind the reigning champion, and qualifying second in the process - his previous best qualifying result having been a lowly 7th at Donington. Turri out-dragged the Mondeo driver at the start, however, and drove a peerless race to take the victory, alongside fastest lap, in the first race. Anderson' qualifying form did not last into the race, as Daniel Hurlock finished 2nd with Jake Black's Toyota taking third place. Race 2 would see another excellent drive by Meles, who took his 2nd victory of the season from reigning champion Turri and championship leader Hurlock in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Renault would see victory once again in the third race, having failed to win any of the last four - as Bell took advantage of the reverse grid pole position to take the win. The star of the final race was David Osborne, though - who drove a sterling race to take his - and Alfa Romeo's - first podium of the year. Black would finish in 3rd place, after a race-long scrap with Anderson for the final spot on the podium.
Hurlock extended his lead over Bell in the Manufacturer Drivers' Championship, now on 172 points, 17 ahead of Bell in second - who led a fantastically close race within the top 5, with Bell (155) leading Black (147), Turri (146) and Meles (144). All five of these drivers, who represented 4 different marques, had all won races thus far, and were separated by just 28 points - and it seemed that the 1995 Drivers' Championship was on course to become the most competitive in its history. The same could not be said for the Manufacturer Teams', however, as Renault continued to dominate as the halfway point of the season approached - now on 327 points, with a seemingly unassailable 157 point lead over Ford in second place, who looked to be in for a very close battle with Toyota (168) and Honda (161).
Michael Sneath took his second clean sweep of the Independents' championship, with 3 wins out of 3 at Thruxton. Kris Simton had aimed to limit the damage to his title lead, and took 2 second places in races 2 and 3 - with newcomer to the series Diego Flores impressing by denying Simton the silver in race 1. Simton's lead over Sneath was reduced further to just 6 points - 198 for Team Dynamics compared to 192 for Mint Motorsport - with Halil Sahin still third after failing to show once again. Flores got off the mark, taking 16 points from the single race he finished.
Round 5 saw the first of two visits to Oulton Park, with the International layout being used for the first meeting at the Cheshire circuit. Black took pole position by 0.17s over Turri in qualifying, giving himself the early advantage - however, this was not to last as in the first race, Turri once again showed why he was the reigning champion by taking an imperious victory. The Renault duo of Bell and Hurlock would cross the line in second and third respectively. Black would make amends for this missed opportunity by taking the win in race two, with Hurlock's Renault and Meles' Honda rounding out the podium. Race 3 would see Ford succeed where they had failed in the previous 14 outings, with Chris English giving the Mondeo its maiden win of 1995, and its first since Snetterton in 1994. Turri's Vauxhall and Meles' Honda capped off the top 3 in the final race of the first half of the season.
Hurlock's lead in the Manufacturer Drivers' Championship increased further as the season entered its second phase, with the Renault driver standing on 212 points - 19 more than team-mate Bell. The battle within the top 5 intensified further, with Bell's 193 points only just giving him second place from Turri (192), Black (188) and Meles (184). Sixth placed Osborne (126) and seventh-placed Anderson (115) would round out the "full-time" drivers, after neither had the weekend they had hoped for at Oulton Park. English's win helped him to close the gap to his Ford teammate to just 3 points, remaining in eighth place. Todaro and Mumby (26) found themselves tied in a close fight in the top 10, with Taylor (24)'s Oulton Park outing giving him the lead over Hough (21) and Müller (5), both of whom were now risking being considered for contract termination after missing the last 9 and 12 races respectively.
Renault's sheer dominance of the Manufacturer Teams' Championship continued unabated, with 405 points on the board. Their nearest competitors at the halfway stage, Ford, were on 227 points - an entire 178 points behind. It seemed almost certain that Renault would win the title in 1995, thanks to having competed in every race and taken 6 wins out of 15 races - but behind them, an interesting battle for the title of "best of the rest" was brewing, with Toyota (209), Honda (208), Turri's lone Vauxhall (192) and the Alfa Romeo team (131) all in contention for second place. Peugeot and Volvo (26) were tied in the battle for the wooden spoon, with Mumby's better attendance record giving the Swedish outfit the advantage heading into rounds 6-10.
Kris Simton managed to increase his lead in the Independents' Championship, with 2 wins to Sneath's one at Oulton Park, with the Mint Motorsport driver having bested Simton in race 1 before losing out in the next two. Simton's points total stood at 250 - 8 more than Sneath - after 5 of the 10 rounds had been completed. Sahin, whose place within Team Magic was in doubt after failing to show for any of the previous 3 rounds, was still third on 30 points - with a no-show from Flores keeping him in fourth place on 16 points.
Round 6...Round 7...
Teams and driversEdit
The following 18 drivers and 13 teams took part in the 1995 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC):
|Vauxhall Sport||Vauxhall Cavalier 16v||1||Lorenzo Turri||1-7|
|Valvoline Team Mondeo||Ford Mondeo Ghia||2||Joshua Anderson||1-7|
|88||Chris English||1, 3, 5-7|
|Williams Renault Dealer Team||Renault Laguna||5||Mike Bell||1-7|
|Volvo 850 Racing||Volvo 850 20v||12||Sam Mumby||2-7|
|BMW Motorsport Team||BMW 318i||22||Kyle Benton|
|Alfa Romeo Old Spice Racing||Alfa Romeo 155 TS||24||David Osborne||1-7|
|Team Toyota GB||Toyota Carina E||34||Jake Black||1-7|
|Total Team Peugeot||Peugeot 405 Mi16||46||David Todaro||2-3, 6|
|Honda Team MSD||Honda Accord||69||Johannes Meles||1-7|
|96||Emile Taylor||2, 5-7|
|Mint Motorsport||Ford Mondeo Ghia||8||Michael Sneath||1-7|
|Thames Ford Dealers||Ford Mondeo||21||Nick Wu|
|SCB Vehicle Dismantlers||Peugeot 405 Mi16||23||Diego Flores||4, 6|
|Team Dynamics||Ford Mondeo Ghia||25||Kris Simton||1-7|
|Team Magic||Mazda 323F||29||Halil Sahin||2|
|1||R1|| Brands Hatch|
(Indy Circuit, Kent)
|2||R4|| Donington Park|
(National Circuit, Leicestershire)
(National Circuit, Northamptonshire)
|5||R13|| Oulton Park|
(International Circuit, Cheshire)
|8||R22|| Oulton Park|
(Fosters Circuit, Cheshire)
(Grand Prix Circuit, Northamptonshire)
|10||R28|| Brands Hatch|
(Grand Prix Circuit, Kent)
- Castle Combe was replaced by a second Silverstone round for 1995.
Independent points are awarded to the top fifteen drivers in each race as follows:
-*Flores (11th) and Sneath (12th) swapped positions as Flores was judged to have been at fault for lap 1 incident involving Sneath.
-**Bell (6th) and Turri (7th) swapped positions as Bell was judged to have been at fault for incident involving Turri.
Manufacturer Driver's Championship
Manufacturer Team's Championship
|1||Williams Renault Dealer Team||Daniel Hurlock||5||1||1||1||4||8||1||3||3||2||3||6||3||2||6||3||4||2||2||4||5||566|
|2||Valvoline Team Mondeo||Chris English||7||2||6||4||4||2||8||5||1||5||1||7||6||7||2||346|
|3||Honda Team MSD||Johannes Meles||2||5||5||12||2||9||5||1||5||4||1||7||4||3||3||1||6||6||3||5||1||315|
|4||Vauxhall Sport||Lorenzo Turri||1||6||2||4||10||1||3||11||DNS||1||2||5||1||4||2||2||2||4||1||2||6**||281|
|5||Team Toyota GB||Jake Black||4||3||4||2||3||2||7||6||1||3||4||3||5||1||5||13||3||3||12||3||3||272|
|6||Alfa Romeo Old Spice Racing||David Osborne||9||7||10||7||5||5||6||5||RET||7||5||2||7||RET||7||6||7||8||5||10||10||181|
|7||Total Team Peugeot||David Todaro||10||8||DNS||12||8||RET||10||10||10||44|
|8||Volvo 850 Racing||Sam Mumby||RET||RET||DNS||11||RET||9||8||10||DNS||RET||RET||DNS||12||RET||RET||11||RET||DNS||35|
|9||BMW Motorsport Team||Chris Cobbett||RET||11||RET||5|
Independent Driver's Championship
Independent Team's Championship
|1||Team Dynamics||Kris Simton||11||10||8||6||6||6||9||10||6||10||8||9||11||7||8||9||8||9||8||9||9||350|
|2||Mint Motorsport||Michael Sneath||8||8||7||9||7||RET||8||7||8||6||7||8||6||8||9||7||9||11*||9||8||8||342|
|3||SCB Vehicle Dismantlers||Diego Flores||9||RET||DNS||11||11||12*||58|
|4||Team Magic||Halil Sahin||11||DNS||7||30|