Moffat aiming to maximise the Merc
Aiden Moffat completed the initial shakedown of his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class last week at Snetterton ahead of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, before running through a testing programme encompassing the Norfolk circuit and a trip to Donington Park.
Laser Tools Racing has taken on the build and running of the A-Class over the course of the off-season, and last week’s track-time saw the car’s first laps under the outfit’s own steam, following a winter’s worth of work back at A1 Automotive – Laser Tools’ headquarters. The young Scot was pleased to rack up a bundle of problem-free miles.
“We did two days down at Snetterton and then two days at Donington Park,” said Moffat. “We’re running the car ourselves for the first time this year.
“It’s new to us, basing everything from A1 Automotive, Laser Tools’ headquarters, but we’ve completed a full bare-metal rebuild of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class over the course of the winter. We stripped everything back and started afresh, from a clean slate.
“Shakedown and our initial testing last week went down very well. We didn’t really have a single problem to complain about all week. Everything went to plan and the car felt very good right out of the box. We’ve put a lot of hard work in over the off-season to make it the best it can be out of the box, and I’ve brought over my engineer who’s given us a strong base to work from in terms of set-up.”
Moffat notched a couple of podiums amid early-season promise at Donington Park in 2018, as well as victory at Silverstone following a stellar defensive drive. This year, the aim is to mould the Mercedes-Benz A-Class into a car that will suit the Scot over the whole campaign, ironing out niggles at the circuits Moffat believes traditionally tend not to favour the German hatchback – now a mainstay of the BTCC field.
“This year, we know what we’ve got to do in terms of developing the car, and that’s improving our pace at the more technical circuits like Knockhill, Croft and Oulton Park,” added Moffat. “We’ll be looking to explore some new avenues and make a few major changes and see where they settle in testing.
“There’s so much you can go and do to a BTCC car in terms of set-up and this is the perfect time to be fully gauging where we can go in an effort to maximise what we’ve got over the full season. Even at places like Silverstone, where I have gone well in the past and where I took a victory in 2018, it’s been from a reverse grid and I’ve had to produce some defensive driving to get the result.
“That’s part of it in this championship, of course, but we want to be sure we’re improving the A-Class across the board so we can be stronger at those types of circuits.”
On his targets for the season, Moffat explained that setting goals in the BTCC can be a foolhardy exercise. Instead, he’s keen to take things weekend by weekend, and make the most of the circuits early in the season where the Mercedes has performed strongly in the past, before taking stock and seeing where Laser Tools Racing stands.
“We never go out and set any overarching expectations of ourselves,” continued Moffat. “You never know what others have done over the winter and what makes the BTCC so great is the fact that everything can change in that time, as well as from weekend to weekend – that’s part of what makes it so special. I will be getting my head down and giving it a proper go this year, that’s for sure. Race wins and podiums are what we’re here for, as is everybody else, so we’ll be striving to take our chances when they come.
“The car will be liveried up next week and we’ll be out on track a couple more times before Season Launch. There’s more mileage planned as we look to learn how to exploit some of the finer details of the A-Class between now and Brands Hatch. It’s always great to get to Brands.
“We’ve a lot of family friends down there and it feels like a bit of a home from home for me. It’s a circuit I like and along with the GP circuit, Donington Park and Thruxton, it’s one we know suits the car. I’m keen to get off to a strong start and make the most of those opening few weekends and see where we shake out from there.”
Photo – Colin Gray