Dunlop hails successful Snetterton test
A successful Dunlop tyre test was completed at Snetterton today (Tuesday) and now the BTCC show moves on to Knockhill in just under three weeks time.
After an action-packed race weekend at the Norfolk venue which saw Jason Plato score a double before Aron Smith’s fantastic reverse grid victory, some 19 drivers took to the circuit during today’s test. It was championship leader Colin Turkington that set the pace although the benchmark times were slightly slower than those set during practice and qualifying at the weekend.
The day was organised by the BTCC’s official tyre supplier Dunlop as it conducted comparison tests between its current tyres and the 2015 rubber, which will come from its Germany factory for the first time next season. “It has been a really productive day,” said Dunlop’s Micky Butler. “It was largely to check on components of tyres from different factories to ensure everything is as it should be ahead of 2015. We were pretty sure that everything was in place and today has confirmed exactly what we thought, so it has been a really good test for us and great for a number of teams to get lots of miles under their belts.”
With freedom for teams to run different weight and fuel levels it’s difficult to look too much into today’s lap times, although a total of more than 1000 laps were completed in a search to find extra performance ahead of the final four events of 2014.
Teenager Aiden Moffat starred in the afternoon session posting the second fastest time in the last few minutes of running. The lap was set on fresh Dunlop rubber with the car in full qualifying trim, but at 1.5s faster than his time from qualifying this weekend, the Scottish driver heads to his home round brimming with confidence.
Tom Ingram impressed with the fastest time in the morning session, before going on to clock the fourth fastest lap this afternoon. The Speedworks Motorsport driver showed good speed by qualifying sixth on Saturday before his race day rather unravelled in unfortunate circumstances. Today’s performance will have at least reassured the young gun and his team that the pace is there as we approach the business end of the season. After celebrating Aron Smith’s victory on Sunday, Team BMR continued where it left off as Alain Menu rounded out the top four.
Honda Yuasa Racing was also in action with both of its drivers completing plenty of laps in the morning. With a more complex suspension setting programme to work through in the afternoon the pair only turned 16 laps apiece, however the squad was happy with what it was able to learn. Team Manager Peter Crolla said: “The circuit was very hot today and actually quite a bit different to the weekend. It was a productive programme for us, however, as there are always new engineering avenues to go down. Of course we’re not going back to Snetterton this year so you try and look for things that’ll help at the other circuits and make the most of it. Importantly I think it was a good test for Dunlop too.”
AlcoSense-backed Hunter Abbott completed the most running with the Audi A4 driver circling the Norfolk circuit more than 100 times, which equates to some 300 miles over the course of the day.
STP Racing enjoyed limited running in the morning before packing up at the lunch break, but its lead driver Dan Welch said progress had been made. “We’ve been working on the engine package and made some good improvements,” said Welch. “We’re still down on power but I managed to set a quicker time on old tyres than I did in qualifying so it was much better.”
AmDTuning.com also used the test as an opportunity to give young driver Jake Hill a run. The 20-year-old made his BTCC bow in 2013 contesting three rounds at Croft, and this afternoon toured Snetterton 20 times behind the wheel of the striking red Ford Focus.
More than half of the 31-strong line-up in this year’s series were in action with MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save and Pirtek Racing among those not to contest the test.