At the recent Oulton Park round of the TCR UK championship Area Motorsport racer Jamie Tonks became the 30th driver to lead a race in the series. When the chequered flag flew to confirm his debut victory it was also the 1000th lap that has been run in the competition since it launched at Silverstone in 2018.

After morphing into the TCT for 2019 – before returning to the TCR fold in 2022 – the championship has had its peaks and troughs. Right now it is right at the top of a peak, looking for a bigger mountain to conquer.

Jamie Tonks tastes victory on the 1000th lap of TCR UK based racing – Copyright Motor Racing UK

Sure, there have been times when grids have been on the small side, but the racing has always been fierce at the front and we’ve seen some fantastic battles, both for wins and titles. The Touring Car greats – Neal versus Turkington in 2019 (Henry and James that is) was as intense as any fight that their own families had been in over in the other Touring Car championship.

Last season the Lewis vs Max show was far more entertaining in TCR than the bumbling farce that dribbled out of F1. Kent against Hart had more spice than Hamilton and Verstappen, and it was settled properly, not by some extraneous forces. And it hasn’t  been dragged out over Twitter by some TV DIY personality going by the name of Mr Know-Less.

For 2022 the title battle is being led by a driver – Issac Smith – who has yet to lead a lap at the line in the series. He is being tailed by a former BTCC racer – Chris Smiley – and one of the two drivers – Lewis Kent – who has remained loyal to the series since it launched.

When TCR kicked off in Britain in 2018 Dan Lloyd in a West Coast prepared VW Golf took the reins to lead the very first lap, and across the year dominated on his way to the inaugural crown. His overreaching abilities that season held him in good stead as he doubled up with a part season in the BTCC – where he took his debut win – as he used the title to launch himself to being a frontrunner now with Excelr8. In fact his total command in 2018 was such that even now he stands at the top of the Laps Led chart in TCR UK with 204 circulations at the head of the field.

Looking at the graph and list below to see who joins Lloyd on the list provides some interesting points. As would be expected Lewis Kent lies in second place with 180 clocked over, and a good meeting over the remainder of the year could top that.

Graph of laps led by 30 different drivers 2018 -2022

There had actually been more than 1,000 laps completed on track prior to Oulton, but roll backs from red flags cut that number of officially recognised tours to the nice rounded figure. It’s not the only oddity. Darrelle Wilson, who has a win to his name has led one lap, but it wasn’t in the race where he was victorious.

A number of one-off appearances have resulted in drivers climbing onto the list. Ash Sutton makes the 30 from his double win outing at Oulton in 2018. Max Coates in a DSG Cupra took two victories in his one-off in 2019 at Donington. Adam Morgan appears after his visit in 2019 to support James Turkington, who went on to win the TCR UK title that season with a Ciceley run Cupra.

Ant Whorton-Eales is the highest rated driver yet to win, with the aforementioned Wilson having the least led with a win. Alex Ley is the youngest winner in the category, and two of his three wins this year netted him a top 10 place. His recent Castle Combe win in the first meeting to count to the second batch of a thousand laps sets away another set of stats to keep an eye on as TCR in Britain grows even further.

Laps led;

1 Dan Lloyd 204

2 Lewis Kent 180

3 Henry Neal 81

4 Max Hart 72

5 Ollie Taylor 63

6 Bruce Winfield 54

7 Jac Constable 40

8 James Turkington 36

9 Alex Ley 36

10 Bradley Kent 32

11 Ash Sutton 25

12 Alex Morgan 24

13 Andreas Backman 18

14 Ant Whorton-Eales 18

15 Chris Smiley 16

16 Josh Price 15

17 Adam Morgan 14

18 Dan Kirby 13

19 Jessica Hawkins 13

20 Max Coates 12

21 Carl Swift 9

22 Jamie Tonks 8

23 Sam Osbourne 4

24 Darron Lewis 4

25 Alex Day 3

26 Nick Halstead 2

27 Darrelle Wilson 1

28 Will Powell 1

29 Toby Bearne 1

30 Adam Shepherd 1

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