TORDOFF CON­SID­ERS WALK­ING AWAY FROM THE BTCC

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Matt James

De­feated Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship chal­lenger Sam Tordoff could turn his back on the sport af­ter miss­ing out on a maiden crown at Brands Hatch on Sun­day.

The 27-year-old, who has been in the BTCC for four sea­sons, had been on top of the ta­ble since the sev­enth meet­ing of the year at Knock­hill in Au­gust. He even­tu­ally lost out by four points to fac­tory Honda driver Gor­don Shedden af­ter the sea­son fi­nale in Kent.

The WSR BMW 125i M Sport driver, who won two races this year and fin­ished on the podium on seven other oc­ca­sions, said he would take time away from the scene to work out his next move.

As well as the BTCC, Tordoff also con­tested Euro­pean Le Mans Se­ries races at the wheel of a Fer­rari in 2015.

He is a fully qual­i­fied ac­coun­tant and has a role within the fam­ily JCT600 car deal­er­ship firm, which is one of the largest in the coun­try.

Tordoff said: “I have thought about stop­ping, and I don’t know what I will do next: that is the hon­est an­swer.

“I am not go­ing to com­mit to com­ing back to the BTCC in 2017. I might do some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent to oc­cupy my time or I might stop [rac­ing] al­to­gether.

“We [Tordoff and his man­age­ment team] had not talked about the 2017 sea­son be­cause of the po­si­tion we had found our­selves in this year. We had just wanted to get this year out of the way first. I need to go away and con­tem­plate.

“I have done sportscars in the past, and that is maybe worth con­sid­er­ing again.”

Tordoff ad­mit­ted that the lure of be­ing in­volved in the fam­ily busi­ness was ap­peal­ing and it would take prece­dence over any mo­tor rac­ing.

“I never said I was go­ing to be mo­tor rac­ing for ever,” he said. “I do get a buzz from rac­ing, but my am­bi­tion is to be suc­cess­ful in busi­ness too and some­times the de­ci­sions are tough. I have been rac­ing since I was eight, since it was just my­self and my dad John at Womb­well kart cir­cuit in York­shire. It has been quite a jour­ney over 19 years.”

Tordoff ’s fam­ily also has a suc­cess­ful his­tory in the sport, with his grand­fa­ther Jack win­ning the Cir­cuit of Ire­land Rally in 1973 in a pri­va­teer Porsche. The car ran with the per­son­alised num­ber plate of ‘JCT600’, hence the name of the fam­ily firm.

Tordoff said he was proud of his per­for­mance over the 2016 cam­paign de­spite miss­ing out on the top ac­co­lade, and he paid trib­ute to cham­pion Shedden.

“I am a lit­tle bit gut­ted not to win, but Gor­don is a wor­thy cham­pion,” he said. “We were strug­gling at Brands Hatch and the bet­ter man won.

“In a race where we needed some­thing ex­tra, we didn’t have it. Maybe the cyn­ics will say that I have fallen at the fi­nal hur­dle, but I don’t think we have nec­es­sar­ily, I just think we have been beaten by a bet­ter man. It is a shame, but I live to fight an­other day. The world is not go­ing to change.”

Tordoff, who be­gan his BTCC ca­reer with Triple Eight Rac­ing and won two races as part of the fac­tory MG out­fit along­side Ja­son Plato, switched to a rear-wheel-drive BMW with the WSR op­er­a­tion in 2015.

He took two wins on his way to sixth in the points last sea­son be­fore his ti­tle chal­lenge over the last seven months.

WSR team prin­ci­pal Dick Ben­netts said he would try to per­suade Tordoff to re­turn for an­other shot. “Sam has been very good this sea­son,” said Ben­netts. “It is only his sec­ond year in a rear-drive car in the BTCC and you have to say he has done a storm­ing job. We will be dis­ap­pointed if he doesn’t come back. We are work­ing on some plans for the car and on the en­gine, so we will be there in even stronger shape next sea­son. I hope that he sees that.”

De­spite Tordoff miss­ing out on the driv­ers’ prize, WSR won the BTCC Man­u­fac­tur­ers’/ Con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship and Tordoff and his team-mate Rob Collard helped the out­fit to the HIQ Teams’ Cham­pi­onship. ● Other ti­tle win­ners con­firmed at Brands were In­de­pen­dents’ Tro­phy win­ner An­drew Jor­dan and the In­de­pen­dents’ Teams’ Tro­phy win­ners Mo­tor­base Per­for­mance. Triple Eight MG driver Ash­ley Sutton col­lected the Jack Sears Tro­phy as the top rookie of the year.

Tordoff is pon­der­ing his rac­ing fu­ture

Tordoff: first win was in 2013

Shedden starts his move for the ti­tle Tordoff’s grandad Jack was rally king

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