Back on track
With just a month to go until the official Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Season Launch at Donington Park, 16 March, the teams are out in force and racking up the testing miles.
This past week has been a busy one. After news broke that he had signed for West Surrey Racing on Tuesday, Colin Turkington surfaced in his new mount – the BMW 125i M Sport – at Brands Hatch for an initial shakedown ahead of a trip to Spain at the end of the month.
Joining him and WSR in pre-season running was Laser Tools Racing. Jack Goff found his feet in the front-wheel drive Honda Civic Type R around a greasy Oulton Park circuit on Tuesday. Team-mate and Team Principal Jeff Smith joined him for a day’s work at Snetterton on Wednesday.
Back to Cheshire, and Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin took to the track for an first run of the year in the Toyota Avensis – a car he feels is going places in 2017 after overcoming setup issues midway through 2016, ending the year on a high with a podium at Brands Hatch GP.
Austin ran the 2017 specification TOCA power-plant as well as the new Dunlop tyres, both of which left the Evesham ace suitably impressed.
“The engine and tyres feel awesome and the team are doing a fantastic job,” said Austin. “We have a very comprehensive schedule organised and a lot of developments to continue working on – we’re back on track at Brands Hatch on Tuesday.”
Laser Tools Racing has also been hard at work, kickstarting its 2017 efforts at Donington Park this week with Aiden Moffat putting in the hours behind the wheel of a stealth-black interim-liveried Mercedes-Benz A Class – a tease as to its new livery, set to be unveiled come Season Launch.
To come, WSR, Team Dynamics, Eurotech Racing and BTC Norlin Racing are set to head overseas for a group test at Castelloli Circuit in Catalonia, Spain, at the end of the month – 27 February to 3 March. Meanwhile, Motorbase Performance and Speedworks Motorsport will travel to the Algarve and Portimao for some warm-weather running from 27 February to 1 March.
In the immediate future, Motorbase are set to travel to Brands Hatch tomorrow; Laser Tools Racing and Ciceley Motorsport head to Snetterton next Wednesday and Thursday along with (provisionally) Handy Motorsport. Team Dynamics will be at Donington Park on Thursday.
In the week leading up to Season Launch, Handy Motorsport will again visit Brands Hatch, as will Ciceley, Motorbase, Team Dynamics and Eurotech – the latter trio all on 13 March. Ciceley will also head to the Midlands and Donington Park on 9 March with Motorbase at Brands Hatch the same day, having completed some hours this week on the dyno.
Furthermore, there will be two sessions of exclusive BTCC testing at Thruxton during the Support Races’ annual pre-event test day.
This will be Thursday, April 20. The sessions are 11.30 to 12.15 and 15.30 to 16.15. It is expected that several teams will test at this point.
All appearances mentioned are subject to change.