AmD looking for home run
For the first time, AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts will run a two-Audi operation in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this year, with Renault UK Clio Cup Ant Whorton-Eales joining the fold alongside Ollie Jackson.
Ahead of its home race, the season opener at Brands Hatch in little over a week’s time, there’s plenty of positivity down at AmD. Jackson placed his Audi inside the top ten at the official pre-season test at Donington Park in mid-March, serving to galvanise the outfit’s vein of optimism after a breakthrough in setup which came midway through last season.
Back at the Autosport International Show in January, Team Boss Shaun Hollamby said the progression to a brace of Audi S3s had been in the pipeline for some time.
“I’m very pleased with what we’ve done,” said Hollamby. “Ollie came on leaps and bounds last year, getting used to the S3.
“The deal was done very late in the day for the previous campaign so he was thrown in the deep end, and I think he did very well given that.
“We’ve been planning the second Audi for a year and a half now with the shell ready to go. The key for me is to get young blood into the series and Ant Whorton-Eales was always on the radar.
“He was talking to other teams and I’m really keen to have someone young and enthusiastic like him. Plus, we can fight for the Jack Sears Trophy, which we won a few years back with Dave Newsham. I know we’ll be getting a feisty racer.”
The team, along with new charge, and BTCC rookie, Whorton-Eales, have had limited running this winter, but the outfit are much better placed than this time last year – with more time on track under the belt and a stronger base to work from, having learned plenty about the S3 chassis throughout 2016. A pair of drivers, too, should aid in learning and further development of the team’s package.
The Clios champion is firmly looking to his peers as his marker for the year ahead.
“Everything went to plan on our first proper day’s testing at Donington Park,” said Whorton-Eales. “Up to then, we had one day’s shakedown and half a day at Silverstone at the beginning of March.
“This is all new to me but it’s looking good and the car’s feeling really good. If we keep progressing then we’re optimistic.
“For me, this year overall positions among the 32 cars are irrelevant. I just want to compete with the other rookies and get my hands on the Jack Sears Trophy.
“I’m under no illusion about how difficult it will be. I’ve got to show respect to the big boys who’ve been in the championship many years. We’re not right up the front as of yet so credit has to go to them for the times they’re putting in.
“I know how hard it’s going to be to gain that extra second and I’m looking forward to mixing it come Brands Hatch and I’ll look to learn from the older heads as I go.”