Unless you've been living on another planet for the last eight months, you'll be well aware that 2008 marks the 50th year of racing in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Since being launched back in 1958, when it was known as the British Saloon Car Championship, the BTCC has firmly established itself as one of the leading touring car championships anywhere in the world - having provided dramatic racing throughout its history.

That drama started right back in the first year when Jack Sears took the inaugural title from Tommy Sopwith following a shoot-out at Brands Hatch after the pair tied on points at the end of the season.

Since then, the BTCC has continued to provide such drama, all the way through to Finals Day at Thruxton last year when Fabrizio Giovanardi overturned a nine point deficit to beat Jason Plato to the crown by just three points.

To celebrate 50 years of action, the BTCC commissioned renowned artist Andrew Kitson to produce an official painting and - having managed to get hold of a copy here at Crash.net - it has to be said that he's done a rather good job.

In fact, there isn't just one print available to purchase, but two, which cover the periods of 1958 to 1984 and then 1985 through to 2007.

Each print, which measure 36in by 24in, features a range of championship winning cars and drivers from those 50 years with each of the 36 BTCC champions featured along with the 46 different cars that took them to the title.

That means the likes of Sears, Jim Clark and triple champion Bill McGovern from the early years are represented alongside cars like the Austin A40, Sunbeam Imp and Lotus Cortina, while more modern machinery like the Vauxhall Vectra, the Audi A4 and the iconic Sierra Cosworth feature thanks to Giovanardi, Frank Biela and the most successful driver in BTCC history, Andy Rouse.

As a result, the prints will evoke memories of years gone by for some people, while for others, they will provide an eye-opener into how the series has evolved over the years to what it is now.

The detail on both prints is superb, and we'd hate to think of the amount of time thats had to go in to putting them together. However, the hours spent in creating the two prints has most certainly been worth it.

They'll certainly make a welcome addition to the collection of memorabilia of any BTCC fan - or indeed any fan of motorsport in general, especially at a price of ?14.95 each or ?25 for the pair. Ours will certainly be going on show once we've got a frame to put them in!

"This is a beautiful piece of work that perfectly reflects the BTCC's great heritage over the past half century as well as the hero drivers and their evocative cars," series director Alan Gow said when the prints were launched. "No BTCC fan should be without them."

He's not wrong in saying that, so anyone interested in purchasing their copies can do so online by clicking HERE.

The prints will also be available on sale during Finals Day at Brands Hatch on the official BTCC merchandise stand.

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