Its that time of year again where we all look forward to the season that is finally upon us. The heavyweights of the British motorsport spectrum will fire back into life next weekend as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads to Brands Hatch in Kent for the curtain raiser.
Its been yet another busy winter for the series with a vast array of driver changes and a couple of new models on the scene, so lets give you the full run down of what to expect from the BTCC in 2019.
Some interesting changes afoot at WSR, with Tom Oliphant replacing the outgoing Rob Collard and teaming up with the defending champion Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan. The biggest change at WSR during the winter is undoubtedly the introduction of the new 3 series model to the series, replacing the 1 series which has done the team well over the years.
Continuing with the new model theme, there's been a big change at Speedworks! Out goes the Avensis and in comes the more agressive looking Corolla. No change in driver though as Tom Ingram will return and will hope to avenge his final day heartbreak and snatch the title this time around.
AMD Essex have acquired two Civic Type R's for 2019 and piloting them will be Sam Tordoff who has moved from Motorbase and joins Rory Butcher who will be looking to carry on from his good run of form at the back end of 2018. Motorbase have retained Tom Chilton, but have brought Ollie Jackson and Nicolas Hamilton for another three car assault on the 2019 championship.
The Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes look a little different, with Adam Morgan piloting the first car and Daniel Rowbottom joining the series from the Clio Cup and looking to hit the ground running for his new team. Power Maxed Racing have certainly been the talk of the winter with their all new line up for 2019. The Vauxhall Astra's this year will be driven by Jason Plato and Rob Collard who will be looking to really get up the sharp end and stake their claim for the championship in new machinery. That inter-team battle will be facinating to watch in particular.
Team Dynamics have an unchanged line up and will definitely be up for the fight this year having got a full year of the new Civic under their belts. Fully Expect Matt Neal and Dan Cammish to be fighting for wins at every race weekend.
And while we are on the subject of new Civic's, down at BTC Norlin, the team have gone out with the old and in with the new and will also be running a pair of Civic FK8's for the returning Chris Smiley and Josh Cook who jumps from Power Maxed to BTC.
Team HARD have an interesting line up of Carl Boardley, Micheal Crees, Bobby Thompson and Jack Goff, with the latter coming very close to not driving at all this year. Jake Hill finds himself piloting one of the Audi S3's run by Trade Price Cars Racing. He will be joined by none other than Mark Blundell, who will be looking to try and cut it with the young guns in the hottest championship in the UK.
Elsewhere, Aiden Moffat and Stephen Jelley both return for Laser Tools Racing and Team Parker Racing respectively and Exceler8 Motorsport make the jump from the MINI Challenge to field to MG6 machines for Rob Smith and Sam Osborne. Matt Simpson will also be looking to build on a successful 2018 in his Honda Civic Type R and last but not least Team BMR retain the services of 2017 champion Ashley Sutton and will be partnered with the impressive Senna Proctor for this year in the much more developed Subaru Levorg.
So there we have it, they are the drivers who will contest the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship and it goes without saying, its going to be another stellar year in the championships history and we cant wait for it to all unfold.