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  • BRITISH TOURING CARS LIVE: EDINBURGH

    John Cleland, one of Scottish motor racing's most famous names, is backing the first-ever British Touring Cars Live: Edinburgh event on Thursday 31 August and has confirmed he will be providing expert commentary for the crowds.

    The event, in association with the City of Edinburgh Council, will see stars of the UK's top motor racing series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, demonstrate their cars on a closed public road in front of the crowds in the centre of the Scottish capital.

    Cleland, a double BTCC champion, says the event is a perfect way to warm-up for the forthcoming Knockhill BTCC race meeting on 2-3 September. And his commentary on the evening is sure to be popular - the Melrose man's outrageous remarks and witty one-liners made him a household name in the Nineties.

    "The public appeal of an event like this will be tremendous - there'll be so much noise and razzamatazz to soak up," says Cleland. "People can watch the racing at Knockhill and get close to the cars in the paddock, but to see them performing in a city centre environment will be something else. I raced in the Birmingham Superprix street races in the late Eighties and the public came flooding out to see the cars then.


    "It'll also be tremendous fun just to be a part of the event, let alone commentate on proceedings. The fact the BTCC is arriving during the city's Festivals period is a big bonus - the event pulls people from all over the world which means the BTCC will be playing to a completely new audience in Edinburgh. It's great for the BTCC and for UK motor sport as a whole."

    From 19.00, spectators lining Johnston Terrace, right by Edinburgh Castle, will see nine BTCC stars plus three more drivers from the supporting Formula BMW, Porsche Carrera Cup and SEAT Cupra championships in spectacular action driving the cars they will race at the nearby Knockhill circuit on 2-3 September.

    The first driver scheduled to be on course in Edinburgh, accompanied by the sound of Scottish bagpipes, will be the country's own BTCC hero Gordon Shedden in his Team Halfords Honda Integra. Shedden is in his debut BTCC season but already has racked up four race wins and lies fifth in the championship standings.

    Other star names performing for the crowds will be Colin Turkington and Jason Plato in their Team RAC MG and SEAT Leon respectively. The whole BTCC grid, including reigning champion and current series leader Matt Neal, will also be present at the event to meet the public during an autograph session that starts at 18.00 in the fan-friendly BTCC paddock that is being specially created along Castle Terrace.

    Furthermore, in the next week Edinburgh's most popular radio stations Forth One and FORTH2 will start running a series of competitions offering listeners a chance to win a range of big prizes courtesy of the BTCC's teams, plus BMW and Porsche. Those not within Forth's catchment area can still tune in via the two stations' websites www.forthone.com and www.forth2.com.

    Provisional timetable, British Touring Cars Live: Edinburgh - Thursday 31 August:
    16.30-17.00 Castle Terrace, Lothian & Borders Fire and Rescue Road Safety Demonstration
    Castle Terrace, OPEN BTCC PADDOCK THROUGHOUT EVENING
    18.00-18.45 BTCC Drivers' Autograph Session
    19.00-20.00 Johnston Terrace, BTCC cars in action

    For more information about the BTCC visit the championship's official website www.btcc.net, where tickets for Knockhill's BTCC race day can be booked at discounted prices.
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