DOZENS of motorsport enthusiasts have missed the first race of the highly anticipated British Touring Car Championship being hosted at Croft Circuit due to heavy traffic.

Disgruntled ticket holders have reported being stuck in queues outside the track near Darlington for more than an hour.

The first race of the event began at noon, with some BTCC fans missing the race entirely while waiting to get through the gates of the venue.

Some of those stuck outside Croft Circuit have used their phones to watch the action going on just a few metres away.

A spokesman for the track said: “We are aware and apologise for the traffic congestion outside of the venue, we’ve got a high volume of cars to get through the gate and the ground is very wet but we are working as quickly as possible to clear queues.”

Heavy rain on Saturday caused problems both on and off track at the circuit, with The British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) chief executive Ben Taylor stating car parks for visitors are still "drying out".

One ticketholder on Twitter said: "Totally unacceptable in my opinion. You know your capacity, how many tickets you’ve sold and the weather forecast was no secret. We paid in good faith and we are still not parked. Poor kids."

Another added: "Like many others been sat in the traffic now for over an hour, managed to watch the first on ITV app but may as well stayed at home and not wasted money on tickets."

BARC chief executive Mr Taylor added: "I’ve spent most of this morning in the car parks trying to help people get in, it’s fair to say we’ve had a challenging day.

"The staff here have been amazing and we’ve been trying to get all the cars in.

"I think for those people been stuck in traffic it’s taken them a couple of hours to get in and we apologise to those who missed the first touring car race, but hopefully it’ll make up for it with the rest of the afternoon."

He said: "It’s a great catchment area for Croft as a circuit – there’s a huge population from up to Newcastle to down towards Leeds.

"It’s really important the championship comes up here and Croft is the home of motorsport in the North-East and we’re proud to host it."