CROFT Circuit will host rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship this weekend as the UK’s biggest car racing series heads north with the series at boiling point.

Nine different drivers have topped the podium in the 18 races so far, with well over half of the 30-driver grid having already stood on the BTCC podium so far this season, highlighting the competitiveness of this year’s line-up.

Double and defending champion Ash Sutton arrives at Croft as the series leader having won four races so far, and holds a 30-point advantage at the head of the table over Tom Ingram. Hertfordshire driver Sutton (Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50) has four victories at Croft but hasn’t sampled the top step there since his double in 2018, so will be keen to get back to winning ways.

Ingram, from Warwickshire, has three wins to his name so far this season so will be looking to add to that tally in his Ginsters EXCELR8 with Hyundai i30N. He won one of the three races at Croft last season, in a meeting held behind closed doors because of the Covid-enforced restrictions, so will be hoping to repeat that feat again at the weekend.

Third in the title race is BTC Racing’s Josh Cook in his Honda Civic Type R. The Somerset driver won the opening two races of the season at Thruxton and added a third win last time out. He did the double at Croft last year so will be confident of closing the seven-point gap to Ingram just above him.

Kent’s Jake Hill occupies fourth in the standings, but the MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Ford Focus ST driver hasn’t taken a victory so far this season so will look to put that right at Croft.

Next up is a driver who has had the most success at Croft over recent years and that’s Team BMW’s Colin Turkington. The quadruple BTCC champion, originally from Portadown in Northern Ireland but now living in Buckinghamshire, has a dozen victories around the 2.13-mile Croft track including double wins in 2009, 2013 and 2014. But he has not tasted the victory champagne at the North Yorkshire track since 2017 so will be keen to get the BMW 330i M Sport back on top spot and to add to his two wins so far this season.

Rounding out the top six is Lancashire marauder Adam Morgan in his Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330i M Sport. With team manager Norman Burgess based in Darlington, the Blackburn driver already has two victories this season so they will hope for more success in front of their local fans.

Local hopes will be on Senna Proctor in the BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R. The Yorkshireman from just over the Wolds in Driffield took a win at Oulton Park but would dearly love to top the podium at the track where his grandfather Tony had so much success at in his Rallycross career.

Newcastle-born Jason Plato is back in action again this season in the Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra where he’ll be looking to add to the podium scored earlier this season at Thruxton. Plato has more than 600 BTCC starts to his name with 97 wins and another one to add to his victory around Croft in 2012 would edge the double champion closer to that magical 100 figure.

It is not only the all-action BTCC that will thrill the crowds at Croft, as a fast-and-furious feast of support series add to the line-up. The superstars of the future will go wheel-to-wheel in the F4 British Championship, with the next generation of BTCC heroes earning their spurs in the Quaife MINI Challenge, with Scorton’s Max Coates, Northallerton driver Ethan Hammerton and Isaac Smith from Harrogate set to do battle.

There will be plenty of action and a number of local drivers in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB including former BTCC ace Dan Cammish from Leeds as well as Lorcan Hanafin from Ilkley and ex-bike racer Josh Caygill, also from Leeds.

The action will be intense in the Miller Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup too where York driver Carl Garnett will be hoping for success and in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Yorkshire’s Bren Maude will be one to watch.

Tickets to the BTCC’s only North East event of the year are available on the gate with adult admission priced £15 for Saturday entry (BTCC qualifying), £35 for Sunday (BTCC race day) or £43 for the full weekend. Accompanied children aged 12 and under are admitted free of charge, with tickets for 13 to 15-year-olds beginning at £3.