The early pace-setters
We caught up with the top three from the opening session of this Thruxton race weekend – Free Practice 1.
Eurotech Racing’s Jack Goff set the pace in the early running with the Mercedes-Benz of Adam Morgan following up just a tenth behind. Matt Neal’s Honda rounded out the top three.
“It’s always very hard to tell where you are in FP1,” said Goff. “We know what we’re doing but we don’t necessarily know what everyone else is doing.
“That said, I think we’re reasonably happy. We didn’t get the car absolutely spot on and it’s one of those tracks you build up to. My lap was by no means perfect and there’s definitely more in it with three or four tenths in myself and maybe a tenth or two in the car. Our race pace is good, too.
“Our base setup is good so it’s just fine tuning now between sessions. The test was really important for us. We saw where we were as far as our pace. Now that we’re here, FP1 and FP2 are about getting things spot on for qualifying and the race tomorrow.
“We’ve had two mediocre weekends where we didn’t really get the results that we should have got and we’re still in the top six. If we can get all three races somewhere near this weekend then we can move back towards the real front end of the championship.
“We know this is a strong circuit for the Honda Civic Type R so we’ve to make sure we get some good points this weekend.
“I’m looking at the front row, or definitely the front two rows. We know we have the pace in the car to be on pole and if I wasn’t going out there to go for that then I’d be lying.”
Adam Morgan was pleased with how things started this morning too.
“We’ve a few setup changes to make but overall the pace was strong and we seem to have found a setup where we’ve got strong race pace as well so we’re happy with that,” said the Lancastrian.
“If we could come away from here with a podium or just three top tens it’d be mega. I am aiming for a podium this weekend. Whatever happens I’ll keep plugging away to get good points.
“The car just seems to work here, and it always has done. It looks after its tyres well, it handles well through the tight stuff and it’s got good balance. Whether it’s a combination of me and the car, I don’t know but we always seem to come here and it does work.
“We learned at the test that the setup we’ve been using at Brands and Donington doesn’t work around here and straight away it’s been a different car since we’ve made the change – it’s so much more driveable. We’re confident and we’re looking to be near the front in qualifying.”
The Hondas always go well in Hampshire and Matt Neal is aiming to please on ‘home soil’ for Honda.
“It was pretty good out there but the car was pretty lively!” said Neal. “Whether it was the wind out the back there or what; I had a few moments through the quick stuff.
“I’m hopeful but some others have come to the fore and Adam Morgan’s always a dark horse, he’s not got much weight and so is Rob Austin. There’s plenty of potential up top.
“We work as hard, if not harder than anybody else on high speed stability with the aero and that’s what Thruxton’s all about. The strength in the Civic has always been high speed corners and that’s 90 per cent of what Thruxton is, so it comes into its own here – the engine is also strong at the top end too normally.
“I really enjoy coming here, I love the place but I’ve always had rotten luck.
“It’s been a great hunting ground for Honda traditionally and it’s not too far from Swindon where these cars are made so it’s a bit of a home event for us.
“There’s always a good showing here from Honda UK so it’s always good to have a strong weekend here for them.
“I’m going to try and stick it on the front row!”