MOTORSPORT duo Rory Butcher and Gordon Shedden will return to the track this weekend as the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) returns.

Rounds four, five and six of the 2021 season will take place at Snetterton, Norfolk, and will see fans be there to roar on the competitors for the first time in more than 18 months.

The first race weekend, at Thruxton, Hampshire, on May 8-9, took place behind closed doors, whilst the entire 2020 series was also run without spectators.

However, as lockdown restrictions ease across the UK, a maximum of 4,000 fans will be able to attend Saturday's qualifying sessions, and Sunday's race day, and brothers-in-law Butcher and Shedden will be hoping to put pressure on the early championship leaders.

Butcher, who races with Speedworks Motorsport's Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, picked up 11 points at Thruxton, while Shedden – competing in the BTCC for the first time since 2017 with Team Dynamics' Halfords Racing with Cataclean – earned two more.

Three-time winner Shedden is 11th in the standings, 33 points behind pacesetter Jake Hill, while Butcher, looking for his maiden title, is four places further back.

Butcher's team head for the Norfolk track in confident mood, with both the 34-year-old and team-mate, Sam Smelt, boasting strong records at the venue.

Butcher scored a race win there in 2019, and last year posted two fourth places and a fifth.

"I think it’s fair to say Thruxton was a tricky weekend for everybody due to the constantly-changing weather," he explained.

"Results-wise, it was clearly very disappointing, but sometimes you learn the hard way – particularly in a championship as tough and as cut-throat as the BTCC – and you just have to take it on the chin and move on.

"On the positive side, we were able to pinpoint the main areas to focus on and we came away with much greater knowledge of how the car reacts in different conditions. I have to say, the feedback the Corolla gave me was very encouraging.

"I feel like I’m really beginning to get to grips with it now – we’re bringing it increasingly into the window where I need it to be to extract the very best out of it.

"I’m very excited for Snetterton. We did a fair bit of running there pre-season, and the Corolla felt brilliant right from the word go. We experimented with a lot of different set-up options and I think we return in a very good place.

"The characteristics of the car really seem to suit the circuit, particularly its poise when tackling the medium- and slow-speed corners – which is exactly what you want at Snetterton – and through the high-speed sections, too, it was very confidence-inspiring.

"After what happened at Thruxton, the goal at Snetterton has to be to finish all three races and put some solid points on the board. With no success ballast to carry, we can exploit the Corolla’s full potential in qualifying so it will be important to secure a strong grid position to give ourselves the best possible chance on race day.

"I know I have the car underneath me to get the job done, so there’s nothing holding us back."

The racing from Snetterton will be broadcast live on ITV4.