TORDOFF CONSIDERS WALKING AWAY FROM THE BTCC
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
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Shedden starts his move for the title Tordoff’s grandad Jack was rally king