Newsham gears up for 2013
Speedworks kicked off its 2013 pre-season testing programme with a shakedown at Blyton Park in Lincolnshire last week ahead of a trip to Portugal this coming Tuesday and Wednesday (26/27 February). Dave Newsham is as yet the only confirmed driver for the Northwich-based squad, and btcc.net caught up with him ahead of the trip to Portimao, which the team hopes will give them the edge in what is sure to be an ultra-competitive year.
First off, how are you settling in with the new team this season?
"I’ve known Christian Dick [Team Principle] for a few years now, so I immediately felt comfortable and welcome in the team. They’re a cracking bunch of guys and have a lot of experience behind them, so this felt like the right move for me to make."
You had your first test in the new car last Wednesday (20 February) – did you have any particular goals with the run at Blyton?
"To be honest it was good just to get in the car and blow the cobwebs off. We were really just looking to get the car running and get comfortable before we head abroad for the next test – there were a couple of formalities to run through like getting my seat fitted properly which is always important! Even though we didn’t have a lot to go through the car felt strong, and we were able to test out our new engines for this season – we did find a few gremlins with the mapping so it was good to get them ironed out as early as possible."
So you’re off to Portimao this week – you must be looking forward to it?
"Yeah – the cars are already on their way and we head out later today [25 February] for testing on the following two days. I can’t wait to get out where it’s warm! To be honest I think this is actually a really good move by the team – while we obviously aren’t going to be racing at Portimao any time soon, we’ll learn more about the tyres and chassis set-up in two days here than we would testing for a week in the freezing cold back at home in the UK. Hopefully this will give us a solid base when we do start testing at British tracks in a few weeks’ time."
It sounds like the team is determined to come to Brands Hatch with an advantage over the opposition – how does this pre-season test schedule compare to your previous experiences?
"I don’t think I've done any real pre-season testing since I was racing in the Renault Clio Cup! The team is behind me 100 per cent for this season, and I think the time we take now to prepare will more than pay for itself during the season. This year is definitely about challenging for the Independents’ championship both individually and as a team. I know that Christian is in talks with a couple of top guys for the second seat, and I really hope that whoever I end up driving with can help us push for the team title."
You took your first BTCC wins last season – evidently you’re hoping to win a few more this year.
"Taking victories at Snetterton and Knockhill last season has definitely given me the confidence to go for it this year – in 2012 we were fast, but struggled with consistency – hopefully that wont be a problem this year! We’ll know a lot more after we’ve done testing on UK circuits in March."
You can see Dave Newsham and all the other BTCC entries for an official test at Donington Park on 21 March. For more information, go to www.donington-park.co.uk/events/2013/03/21/british-touring-car-pre-season-media-day/