Neha Patil

1999 British Touring Car Championship

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Start date  1999
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Similar  1998 British Touring C, 1997 British Touring C, 2000 British Touring C, 1995 British Touring C, 1994 British Touring C

The 1999 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship season was won by Laurent Aïello in his debut season driving for the Nissan works team, with team mate David Leslie in second place. Rickard Rydell, the 1998 champion came third, with James Thompson and Jason Plato coming fourth and fifth.

Contents

One of the big stars and big surprises was the independent driver Matt Neal. Driving for his father's Team Dynamics in a 1998 Nissan Primera, Neal became the first independent driver to win a championship race in the feature race of the first Donington round; TOCA had put up a reward for £250,000 for this achievement.

Changes for 1999

For the 1999 season both the works teams of Peugeot and Audi had departed since competing in the previous year. Indeed, this would prove to be the last year for Renault, Volvo and Nissan, the three previous champions from the last three years. The BTCC would not see more than four works teams together in one season until the 2017 season.

Night racing was introduced to the BTCC for the first time for the rounds at Snetterton in July. The pit lane and main spectator areas were floodlit, whilst other parts of the circuit were in total darkness. To aid the drivers eyesight for the sharp changes from light to dark, the cockpits had a soft red light glowing inside.

Defending champion Rickard Rydell came into the 1999 season with a new Volvo team-mate, Belgian Vincent Radermecker. Radermecker had spent 1998 driving in the Belgian ProCar series, and he replaced Italian Gianni Morbidelli.

Nissan had arguably the best car over the whole of the 1998 season. The defending manufacturers champions retained veteran Scot David Leslie, and after Anthony Reid decided to leave the team and sign for Ford, he was replaced by STW Championship Winner Laurent Aïello for his first BTCC season.

Honda came into 1999 hopeful having shown promise in the second half of 1998, if not the outright speed required to match Nissan and Volvo. James Thompson, who achieved a best ever finish of third in 1998 with 4 wins, was retained along with Dutchman Peter Kox. The team had a new shape Accord to aid their title attack. 1994 champion Gabriele Tarquini, who was driving for Honda in Germany at the time, was drafted in for selected rouns of the championship.

Williams Renault, now without Switzerland’s Alain Menu who had left to join the Ford team, retained Jason Plato for his third season. Frenchman Jean-Christophe Bouillon landed the second Renault Laguna seat, who had driven for Sauber in Formula 1 in 1995, and subsequently campaigned sport cars and drove in the Renault Spider Eurocup.

A somewhat rejuvenated Vauxhall team, after two wins for John Cleland and one for Derek Warwick in 1998, campaigned the Vectra for a 4th season, with double champion Cleland embarking on what would turn out to be his final BTCC season. His team-mate would be former Audi driver Yvan Muller, whose strong performances in his rookie season in 1998 put him an impressive 7th overall in the championship. Derek Warwick stepped down from driving to concentrate full time on running the team.

Completing the factory team line-up was Ford, who had what many regarded as the strongest driver line up in the pit lane, with ’97 champion Alain Menu partnering ’98 runner-up Anthony Reid.

The Independents field was spear-headed by red-hot favourite Matt Neal, who had shown great form in 1998 if not the consistency to come away with the independents championship. Neal’s Dynamics team would again have a year old Primera at their disposal, which proved a highly competitive package against the works cars.

Joining Neal was former Vauxhall Vectra Challenge driver Mark Blair, who had won the BTCC drive through winning the support series in 1998. Mark would campaign an ex-works Vectra.

The rest of the independents field did not run full schedules, with former Independent Cup winner Lee Brookes and Paula Cook driving Hondas, and Russell Spence driving a Renault. Spence would suffer a frightening crash at Oulton Park and step down soon after due to business commitments, with former Champion Will Hoy replacing him.

Calendar

All races were held in the United Kingdom.

Drivers Championship

  • No driver may collect more than one "Lead a Lap" point per race no matter how many laps they lead.
  • Drivers' top 22 results count towards the championship.
  • Note: bold signifies pole position (1 point awarded all races), italics signifies fastest lap.

    * signifies that driver lead feature race for at least one lap (1 point given). Note: All bonus leading points may not be added due to them being added after seeing Season Review footage and some race reports.

    Points System

    The points system used for the 1999 British Touring Car Championship was as follows. For the drivers championship, 15 points were awarded to the winner of each race, 12 to second place, 10 for third and 8,6,5,4,3,2,1 for fourth to tenth place respectively. At the end of the season, drivers would drop their four lowest scores. A point would be awarded to the driver who achieved pole position for each race, and a point was awarded to anyone who led the feature race.

    For the manufactures championship, the same amount of points for the top ten finishing positions were awarded as for the drivers championship but only the top two per manufacturer would receive points for the manufacturer. At the end of the season, manufacturers would drop the points from their worst four rounds of the championship. No points were received for leading laps or pole position.

    References

    1999 British Touring Car Championship Wikipedia


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