TOURING car star Rory Butcher admits that taking to the track at his home circuit without its passionate support will be "really strange".

The 33-year-old is preparing for the fourth race weekend of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill this weekend, fresh from claiming his first victory of the season at Oulton Park, Cheshire, on Sunday.

Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the revised 2020 calendar – which only began at the beginning of the month due to COVID-19 – will take place at the iconic venue but without the passion of West Fife motorsport fans.

Knockhill bosses had sought approval from the Scottish Government and sportscotland to host the races as a test event (see opposite page) but, after receiving confirmation they would only be allowed to permit a maximum of 200 spectators, decided to go ahead without a crowd.

The annual touring car stop is one of the biggest events of the year for Scotland's motorsport centre and Butcher, whose father, Derek, is its owner and CEO, admits it will be a different experience this year.

"It's just going to be a really strange one for me," he explained to Press Sport.

"Coming up to Knockhill, normally it's the biggest event for me, having all my sponsors, friends and family, and also just the backing from the Scottish fans as well.

"It adds this element of pressure that, usually, I can turn into a positive and actually get a result. Last year, we got pole position and won the first race, and we're definitely going to miss that this year.

"I think people will be so desperate to get back out and see live sport again – whether it's football or touring cars – that, you never know, it could actually lift the atmosphere and the buzz to greater levels from what it already was."

Butcher, who revealed he has also taken part in a series in France ahead of this year's BTCC, bounced back from what he had described as a "difficult" second race weekend at Brands Hatch – in which tyre problems forced him to retire in two of the three rounds – at Oulton Park.

Having secured pole position in Saturday's qualifying, Butcher led his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus into a comfortable early lead which he never relinquished, securing both a first victory this season and for his new team.

He had also looked on course for first place in race two when, mid-distance, Ash Sutton coasted up behind him.

The duo crossed the line nose-to-tail before Sutton blasted around the outside of Old Hall Corner and into the lead, from which he went on to take the chequered flag, with Butcher claiming second.

Eighth place in round three provided Butcher with a points haul of 48 which, going into Knockhill, has helped him jump from sixth in the drivers' standings to third, where his 100 points is just 41 adrift of early leader Colin Turkington.

At the conclusion of racing at Oulton Park, Butcher added: "After the bad luck at Brands Hatch, we have finished on the podium here with points on the board. I am delighted to get the first win in the new Motorbase Ford Focus.

"The good thing is our car was potentially the strongest front-wheel drive car out there. The Ford is fantastic here but the conditions generally just seemed to suit the rear-wheel drive cars more."

Fans can watch full coverage of this weekend's Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill, on Saturday and Sunday, live on ITV2.