Rising British racing stars complete Dunlop-backed BTCC test
Dunlop, as the Official Tyre Supplier and Title Sponsor to the MSA British Touring Car Championship, has provided an opportunity for three promising drivers to test with a winning team from Britain’s premier racing championship. Three of the UK’s national racing stars today joined Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo at Snetterton Circuit for the Dunlop Prize Drive Day.
Matthew Hammond (MINI Cooper Pro Class Champion), Reece Barr (MINI JCW Class Vice-Champion) and Jamie White (BRSCC Ford Fiesta Champion) were the three drivers who earned this opportunity after their impressive 2017 performances.
All three drivers drove the Mountune-powered, Motorbase Performance-prepared Ford Focus ST with coaching from BTCC and European Le Mans Series racer, Rory Butcher.
“It is a mega car to drive,” said Hammond, the first on track. “Since finding out I’d won the prize drive, I’ve been buzzing. MINI Challenge and Dunlop provide this route through the classes to a BTCC test – I can’t think of a better way to finish the season”
“The Focus is a phenomenal car – so responsive with great feedback,” said White. “It’s been such a good experience. In touring car racing, the Dunlop BTCC is the pinnacle and the prize is the carrot at the end of the stick – it makes you want to race harder to win what is such a fantastic opportunity.”
MINI Challenge race winner Reece Barr already had experience of more powerful touring cars than the other winners, coming from the 265 BHP MINI JCW class which runs similar Dunlop rubber to that seen in the BTCC. “The grip level was just amazing,” he said. “Once the tyres were up to temperature the performance was so consistent. Going straight to the MINI JCW class was one of the best decisions I made as the sequential gearbox, power and the racecraft needed has helped me out today.”
Each driver was given the opportunity to complete both a qualifying simulation and a race distance test around the three mile Snetterton 300 circuit. James Bailey, Motorsport Communications Director at Dunlop said: “All three drivers performed strongly. They raced hard all year to earn and win this opportunity, and in doing so have proven that the MINI Challenge and Fiesta Championship are important and credible steps on the ladder to the Dunlop BTCC.
“Motorbase Performance did a fabulous job giving our three Dunlop Champions a thorough and realistic BTCC race run experience that will help all three in the next step in their careers.”
Motorbase and Dunlop have run this test to nurture British Motorsport talent since 2012. Previous winners have made their way into the BTCC, including Mike Bushell, Ant Whorton-Eales and 2017 BTCC Champion Ash Sutton.
Motorbase Team Manager Oly Collins added: “They all approached the test programme as requested with a mature, sensible mindset listening to the direction from the team.
“It is great to see three drivers with huge smiles. It may be an early stepping stone to a BTCC career, but even if not, it is a great opportunity for all three to work with a professional team and Dunlop’s engineers. For us, it is important to give something back into British racing .”