The British Touring Car Championship is the premier series for tin-top racing in the UK, and most races deliver more action than you get in F1 in an entire year. (That may not apply this year, as the first two Formula 1 races have been crackers. It’s well worth watching if you’ve not bothered in recent years.)
This year looks set to be another exciting one: Gordon Shedden is back at TeamDynamics, Jason Plato returns after a year out in 2020 and Jade Edwards, driving for BTC Racing this year is the first female driver to race in the series since 2007.
When is the first BTCC race in 2021?
The BTCC is yet to begin in 2021 and it’s been a long wait – not quite as long it ended up being in 2020 – since the end of the 2020 season.
Unlike in most years, the season opener won’t be at Brands Hatch but will instead kick off at Thruxton, the UK’s fastest circuit, on 8 May with the three races on Sunday 9 May.
The traditional first race on the Indy circuit at Brands isn’t until 27 June this year.
As usual, ITV4 will broadcast the entire event – including support races – from around 11am (time to be confirmed) on 9 May.
If you want to watch in HD, you’ll need to have Sky or Virgin, as ITV4 HD isn’t available on Freeview or Freesat, only the standard-definition version.
You can’t watch races live online, but you can watch replays on ITV’s website and highlights are shown on ITV4, which are then available on ITV Hub.
How to watch BTCC qualifying in 2021
The Saturday qualifying session isn’t broadcast on TV, so you’ll have to watch online. Head to ITV’s website and you can watch along with the timing information in a web browser on your PC, phone or tablet.
Qualifying typically takes place around 3pm on the Saturday before the Sunday races.
You can also see live timing on the official BTCC website.
On 22 April, the season launch event – aka Media Day – you’ll be able to access the same live timing, but you can also follow the action on Twitter.
BTCC calendar 2021
The championship will visit 8 different circuits, with two visits to Thruxton and the traditional two different circuit layouts at Brands Hatch – the season will end with Brands Hatch GP as usual.
Brands Hatch Indy
31 July – 1 August
Donington Park National
Brands Hatch GP
BTCC 2021 teams and drivers
There’s a full-capacity grid again this year, with Nic Hamilton taking the 29th seat with Team Hard. Note that Matt Neal isn’t driving in 2021 and Dan Cammish has also left Team Dymanics. Here’s the full rundown.
Halfords Team Dynamics Motorsport
Honda Civic Type R
Gordon Shedden, Daniel Rowbottom
BMW 3 Series
Colin Turkington, Tom Oliphant, Stephen Jelley
Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
Rory Butcher, Sam Smelt
Laser Tools Racing
Ash Sutton, Aiden Moffat, Carl Boardley
Jack Goff, Aron Taylor-Smith, Glynn Geddie, Nicolas Hamilton
Power Maxed Racing
Jason Plato, Daniel Lloyd
Jake Hill, Ollie Jackson
Andy Neate, Sam Osbourne
Excelr8 Trade Price Cars
Hyundai i30 Fastback N
Jack Butel, Chris Smiley, Tom Ingram
BMW 3 Series
Adam Morgan, Tom Chilton
Honda Civic Type R
Jade Edwards, Josh Cook, Michael Crees
If you want even more BTCC, then something new for 2021 is that interviews and the Tin Top Tuesday podcast will be available on Amazon Music and – by extension – Alexa. Previously, and continuing as normal, they’ll also be on the official BTCC website.
How to watch BTCC outside the UK with a VPN
If you’re not in the UK, you won’t be able to watch BTCC without a VPN. That’s because, since Brexit, not even the paid-for ITV Hub+ service is available outside the UK.
A VPN can make it appear that you’re located in the same country as the broadcaster when you connect to a server in the UK.
We recommend using NordVPN, Surfshark or CyberGhost. Last time we checked, all three successfully unblocked ITV, but also have 24/7 live chat support if you do encounter any issues.
Read our guide to the best VPN services for more information.
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