Laser Tools Racing star Ash Sutton enjoys his third title triumph in race-winning style at Brands Hatch
What a weekend!
Sunday, 24th October, at a nail-biting season finale to the 2021 British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch, LASER TOOLS RACING came away as winners of four of the available championships:
2021 Driver’s Championship: WINNER Ash Sutton for Laser Tools Racing
2021 Teams’ Championship: WINNER: Laser Tools Racing
2021 Independent Drivers’ Championship: WINNER: Ash Sutton for Laser Tools Racing
2021 Independent Teams’ Championship: WINNER: Laser Tools Racing
The Teams’ Championship Trophy is awarded to the highest scoring team competing in the BTCC, so includes the Manufacturers teams as well as the independents. So it’s official: LASER TOOLS RACING is the best team in the British Touring Car Championship!
We must also thank our driver Aiden Moffat whose spectacular season awarded the team the extra points that secured the coveted Teams’ Championship. This really was a team effort.
Reigning champion Ash Sutton was still in the lead for this year’s Drivers’ Championship as we entered the weekend and the last three rounds of this year’s championship. The Laser Tools Racing ace has boasted an impressive season, and consistency has proven key so far in Sutton’s endeavours for his third title, with 24 top ten finishes under his belt throughout the campaign but, with four rivals also doing their all to come out on top, the pressure was piling up for this final weekend.
“This year’s racing has been very close,” admitted Ash, “But I think we’ve been a little bit more consistent — we’ve lead the championship technically from the second round, so we’ve gone every weekend carrying the 75Kg ballast — it’s made the racing a little bit harder.
“But we’ve got a very well-engineered car in terms of carrying this ballast and it’s played a big part of this year.”
This showed in Saturday’s qualifying session: early-on as the rear-wheel-drive cars had an advantage, Ash was sitting P3 and Aiden P4, but then in the middle of the session, the front-wheel-drives came to the fore, moving Ash and Aiden just outside the top 10, exactly where they didn’t want to be. So for the final 10 minutes of the session it became a sprint to set times and despite the weight being carried, and the occasional bit of slow traffic in the way, the boys and the team threw everything they had at it and produced a fabulous result — Ash ended the session in 6th and Aiden in 7th.
With the need to keep his points lead intact, Ash played a tactical race and was happy to maintain his P6 position throughout the race. Aiden had started in P7 but was overhauled by a charging Colin Turkington on the first lap. Turkington was also mindful of his own points position so stayed in P7 until the chequered flag. The race was won by title contender Josh Cook, but with Ash picking up more championship points in P6, the win for Cook was not enough to stay in contention. So for Laser Tools Racing, an excellent pair of top-ten results (Ash P6, Aiden P8), more points to add to the Teams’ Championship tally as well. LTR’s third driver Carl Boardley had had a difficult qualifying session (P27) and was still struggling with the setup in Race 1, finishing in P22.
Josh Cook won this race also, but Ash Sutton was also playing his tactical game and once again maintained his P6 all the way to the chequered flag. And it was the right thing to do, because this game plan secured enough points to provisionally claim the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship Drivers’ title!
Ash Sutton said: “We’ve worked so hard and changed how we approach a year and it’s paid off massively. To do it with one race to spare is absolutely phenomenal. I’ve had a fantastic crew behind me all year, and fantastic sponsors with Laser Tools and it just couldn’t have been any better.
“We had to change the way we approached it. When we looked at the way we attacked it last year, we nearly threw it away multiple times. I had to take it on the chin and learn from it, and I feel like I’ve done that!”
Aiden Moffat however was less fortunate after being involved in a skirmish with another driver that damaged the right-hand rear of Aiden’s Infiniti. This resulted in a pit-stop to fit a new wheel and tyre and Aiden was unhappy to finish the race in P22, which was actually quite an achievement to get back into the race after a pit-stop! Carl Boardley fared better and finished in the points with P15.
With the usual Race 3 reverse-grid, Ash Sutton started in a useful P4. So the gloves were off in Race 3! The #1 Infiniti driver had already secured enough points in the second bout to become provisional champion, so with the pressure now off the 27-year-old blasted from this P4 on the grid to take his fifth victory of the season. Winner-winner!
“Obviously, it was so good and the best way to send [the campaign] off,” Ash commented. “I could have the handcuffs off and do what I wanted to do, and it was absolutely phenomenal!
“We were placing bets over the radio, I think I lost all of them! But it’s fantastic, to finish almost under the lights, and celebrate through the last corner with the smoke pouring off the back of the car was fantastic.”
Sutton’s race-winning triumph was his fifth of the season and his 50th career podium in Britain’s premier motorsport series. Ash also took the Independent Drivers’ title, and Laser Tools Racing won the coveted Teams’ Championship plus the Independent Teams’ title as well.
The 2022 British Touring Car Championship will once again comprise 30 races across eight iconic UK venues, with the action kicking off at Donington Park on 23/24 April.