BTC RACING AIMING HIGH AS BTCC SEASON GETS UNDERWAY
BTC Racing is primed for action as the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship gets underway at Donington Park this coming weekend (1/2 August).
After an enforced four-month delay, the UK’s premier motorsport series is poised for its long-awaited return to the track at the historic Leicestershire circuit for the opening weekend of a revised nine-event campaign.
Josh Cook stays with the Brackley-based outfit for a second consecutive season having enjoyed his most successful BTCC campaign to date in 2019. Finishing fourth overall, and as the Independents’ runner-up – taking three race wins in the Honda Civic Type R – the 29-year-old is looking to pick up where he left off at the end of last year and is on the hunt for more race wins in the FK8 at Donington.
Back behind the wheel of a Honda once more after joining the squad in January, Tom Chilton already showed his intentions on the BTCC title this year, setting the second-fastest time on track during the official Goodyear tyre test at Snetterton earlier this month. With 14 race wins and an Independents’ title already under this belt, the Reigate-racer has his eye firmly set on the claiming that elusive BTCC crown.
Michael Crees’ move to complete the BTC Racing line-up was one of the biggest surprises of the off-season. After a solid debut season last year, the squad hope Crees’ move to the team will prove him to be the one to watch for many as he targets his maiden BTCC podium and the Jack Sears Trophy.
Donington Park has been a happy hunting ground for BTC Racing in past seasons, with the squad reaching the rostrum numerous times in its four-year history. Cook took a podium and Independents’ victory here in the new FK8 last year, leaving the squad a single point off the Teams’ Championship and leading the Independents’ standings, a result that it will hope to replicate this weekend as the new season gets underway.
“Finally we can say that it’s time to go racing again!” said Joint Team Principal Bert Taylor. “It’s been an incredibly long four months for us all waiting for the season to get underway. The team has done a fantastic job getting the cars to where they have in some very tricky circumstances. Steve [Dudman] and I are really proud of the work that has gone in behind the scenes, and how everyone has stepped up to the challenges we have all faced.
“I’d also like to say thanks and well done to Alan Gow and his team at TOCA for managing to pull everything together for a nine-event season. That is no mean feat, and it’s a testament to the strength of the BTCC.
“I know that Josh, Tom, and Michael are fired-up for the weekend, and raring to go. We have everything in place to get the job done; it’ll all come down to what happens on track now.”
“There’s a famous quote about failing to prepare and you’re preparing to fail,” said Chilton. “That’s the exact opposite of what we have done. We have prepared in every single area. We’ve had a fantastic test programme and I think we’ll be going straight in with our best foot forward. BTC Racing has hired all the right people to do the job. I’m itching to get going and pick up some points at Donington. I’m not going to settle for anything less than a podium this weekend.
“It will feel strange not having fans in the paddock and around the podium. This year has thrown us all a new challenge, but as a human race, we’re always adapting. The team has adapted well to the changes and I think that the championship has done a great job. We’re fully focused and ready to go and win some races.”
“I had my first BTCC Pole position and win at Donington Park, so it’s always been a good hunting ground for me,” said Cook. “Historically I’ve qualified up at the front and managed to grab a good points haul there, so I’m glad that we’re coming off a really long break and going to a circuit that I’m most familiar with.
“There’s going to be a different atmosphere at the circuit this weekend. We’re very used to the crowds and corporate elements of a race weekend and that often adds some additional pressures. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone operates running on a skeleton crew and just focused purely on the racing.
“I do think that every driver will be in the best shape they’ve even been in as we’ve all had such a long time to prepare. I know that I’m in a lot better position mentally and physically than I was in April. I think the delay will benefit my performance this year. We’ve got some great continuity this year, with the team and the car so I feel confident that we can hit the ground running.”
“I’m buzzing for this weekend. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve all been waiting to get back out on the track,” said Crees.
“I’m approaching the weekend like a game of golf. The plan is to go level par on the first race, make the cut on the second and then push for the final race to bring some points home and to make sure that the car is in good shape for the next rounds at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Knockhill.
“Last year was actually a pretty good result for me at Donington. We started mid-pack and we were looking good for a strong points score but, unfortunately, the results didn’t reflect the weekend we could have had. I’m looking forward to going back there this year in the Honda FK8 and trying to score some big points.”
The 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season gets underway on Donington Park’s national circuit, on August 1/2. Live coverage of Sunday’s (August 2) events will be shown on ITV4, ITV4HD and online from 1035 – 1815; with itv.com/btcc featuring live timing and streaming of Saturday’s (August 1) qualifying session from 1510.