2002 British Touring Car Championship season

2002 British Touring Car Championship season

BTCC season
Previous = 2001
Current = 2002
Next = 2003

The 2002 Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship season was the 45th British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season.

Changes for 2002

Teams and drivers

In its second year under new rules, the entry of the touring class swelled with 5 marques represented on the 2002 grid. Reigning champions Vauxhall again entered four Triple 8-run Vauxhall Astra Coupes, with 2001 champion Jason Plato not returning, 2001 runner-up Yvan Muller was partnered by James Thompson in the Vauxhall Motorsport entries while Thompson's place in the Egg Sport entry was taken by Matt Neal, fresh from a season in the European Touring Car Championship, alongside Production class graduate Paul O'Neill. They would be challenged by MG, who had entered their West Surrey Racing-prepared ZS on trial in the closing stages of 2001 and again had experienced touring car hand Anthony Reid and Warren Hughes at the wheel. After, a year off preparing a car built to the new rules, Honda returned with a pair of Arena Motorsport-prepared Honda Civic Type Rs for Guernseyman Andy Priaulx, who crossed over from Formula 3 after impressing on a one off BTCC outing for Vauxhall in 2001, with Irishman Alan Morrison, the 2000 Production (then Class B) champion, alongside him. Proton completed the works team contingent, entering the BTCC for the first time with a pair of Impians for returning Scottish veteran David Leslie and Phil Bennett, who had been dropped by Vauxhall. With Peugeot withdrawing their factory backing, Vic Lee Racing now headed the independents field with their pair of 406 Coupes, Dan Eaves remained and was joined by 1992 champion Tim Harvey, who had endured a difficult 2001 with the struggling JSM Alfa Romeo. The pair were joined later in the year by Formula Renault driver Carl Breeze. The works MG squad was supported from second meeting onwards by a WSR prepared squad carrying the name of the girl band Atomic Kitten as part of a sponsorship deal, this ran the young pairing of Colin Turkington and Production graduate Gareth Howell. Barwell Motorsport stepped up from the Production class to complete the Touring grid with a pair of ex-works Vauxhall Astra Coupes driven by New Zealand superbike racer Aaron Slight, who switched to car racing after a successful guest appearance for Peugeot in 2001, and 17 year-old rookie Tom Chilton.

In the Production class Synchro Motorsport gained the upper hand by stepping up from the Honda Accord to the brand new Civic Type R, recruiting former Honda factory driver James Kaye from Barwell alongside the returning Dave Allan. The Accords were still campaigned by new squad Beacon Motorsport with Lotus Elise championship graduates Mark Thomas and Spencer Marsh, and John Batchelor's team swapped from Integras to a pair of Accords for Jim Edwards Jnr and Batchelor (again under the name of John B-and-Q), who was injured in a crash during the second meeting at Oulton Park and replaced by Peter Cate and later Hyla Breese. Tech-Speed Motorsport continued their Peugeot 306 campaign, with Lotus Elise champion Mark Fullalove replacing Vauxhall-bound Paul O'Neill alongside Annie Templeton, as did GA Motorsport with their Alfa Romeo 156s, this time campaigned by series newcomers Graham Saunders and Alan Blencowe, accompanied by 2001 driver Gavin Pyper at circuits with enough grid space to accommodate a third car, Rob Collard also returned in his self-run Clio but did not contest a full programme. The big new arrival to the class was Edenbridge Racing's pair of BMW 320is, driven by teenager Tom Boardman in his second year in the class, and experienced German production saloon racer Norman Simon. TH Motorsport also appeared at select rounds with a Mitsubishi Carisma for Steve Wood.

Other changes

* Number of race weekends reduced from 13 to 10

Teams and Drivers

M = Manufacturer Team
I = Independent Team
P = Production Class Team



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