Moffat off the mark
Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat notched a memorable maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory at Donington Park this past weekend.
Moffat, the youngest driver ever to have entered the BTCC, has made significant progress during his time in the championship. His Round 4 performance in Leicestershire, though, will surely go down as his best drive yet.
The Scot tore away from fourth on the grid and sprinted into Redgate – right with the lead trio. By the end of the opening tour he had made it beyond the Eurotech Honda Civic Type R of Jack Goff and sliced his way into second with a great move by Rob Austin at the Old Hairpin on the second lap.
He then set about hunting down early leader Tom Ingram. The Speedworks Motorsport man had slipped by Rob Austin on the opening lap but Moffat wouldn’t let the Toyota out of his sight as the pair became locked in a tussle.
Moffat’s moment came on lap five as the Mercedes got the run alongside Ingram’s ballast-laden Avensis. Ingram had no answer and Moffat was through as the cars ran down the Craner Curves. The Scotsman would never look back.
“It’s a very special feeling – I won’t be forgetting that moment anytime soon!” beamed Moffat. “The Laser Tools Racing car was absolutely brilliant. We had a great set-up all weekend, so I was feeling confident and knew we had the pace. It all came together nicely.
“It was a hard race because it was a case of managing the gap and looking after the tyres once I got into the lead but I felt that I had a good chance.
“I knew that Tom (Ingram) was on the harder, option tyre and that he was carrying 66 kilograms of success ballast, so I knew that I could get ahead and I saw that he was a bit unsettled through the Craner Curves.
“I made my move there as soon as I could and got away while he was defending from the pack behind. I’m tempted to stop racing for the day and go to the pub and celebrate!”
Laser Tools Racing’s Team Principal, and Aiden’s father, Bob Moffat said: “I knew the potential was there and after a good qualifying, Aiden was out of traffic and had more opportunities to make progress.
“He raced really well early on to get himself into the lead and then drove superbly to manage the gap and look after the tyres. It was a really mature performance and one that makes the years of hard work so worthwhile.”
Moffat ran 75 kilos of success ballast for the first time come race two and would have to run the harder option tyre in the Mercedes – combining, inevitably, to impact upon his pace.
The Flying Scotsman stood fast, however, and produced a display of defensive driving to fend off the pack for as long as possible and he ran in the leading group for the first two-thirds of the race. The circumstances caught up with him late on though and and he was shuffled to 14th – still, a points finish.
“It was hard with the weight,” explained Moffat. “The car didn’t want to stop and it didn’t want to turn! I held on for as long as I could but in the end I just couldn’t hold back the pack any longer.”
Moffat started the third race from 14th on the grid and, in trying wet conditions, soon battled his way up the order. Contact later dropped him as far as 24th following a spin but the 20-year-old fought back to a tremendous eighth place at the end of the race, picking off cars lap by lap.
“I really felt that I drove well in that third race,” said Aiden. “The car felt good and I was able to pick them off early in the race but then I was tagged and spun. I thought I was out of contention but in those conditions the car felt great and I just kept on pushing.”
Moffat takes 12th place in the overall Drivers’ standings and sixth in the Independents’ competition ahead of the BTCC’s trip to Hampshire’s Thruxton circuit in three weeks’ time.