STRONG START TO HILL’S 2021 BTCC TEST CAMPAIGN
A sunny and mild day greeted MB Motorsport at Brands Hatch in Kent, where team-mates Jake Hill and Ollie Jackson completed over 70 trouble-free laps as part of their preparation for the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
Hill took the wheel of his newly-built Ford Focus ST for the first time on Tuesday, 23 March, undertaking a thorough programme of set-up changes and declaring himself ‘hugely impressed’ with the design and build of the car.
“After my run shaking the car down I felt really confident in the chassis,” said Hill. “I was down to a really good time within about five laps and have gained a really good understanding of the car and its characteristics so quickly.
“The team has done a fantastic job over the winter and there’s a really positive feeling throughout the squad. I am delighted to be working with Ollie as a team-mate too – he’s a great guy and we’ve really hit it off on the right foot.”
Working through several set-up changes, the 27-year-old and his engineer, Craig Porley, made back-to-back comparisons with the 2020 Focus and Hill’s 2020 Civic Type R, allowing them to draw several clear conclusions as they progressed through the day.
“We knew in theory what should work, and were really fortunate to have a mild, dry day and relatively little traffic on track, so we were able to get plenty of work done,” said Porley. “It means when we head to Croft in a couple of weeks, we can maximise the time there, at a very different type of circuit. Overall we are really satisfied with the day, and Jake was flying from the outset which of course was hugely pleasing.”
Joining Hill and Jackson was Hill’s 2020 team-mate, Sam Osborne, who continued to impress with a number of very strong runs, meaning all three Ford Focus ST drivers concluded the day within a few hundredths of a second of each other.
“Massive thanks to all the guys at MB Motorsport and Motorbase for doing such an incredible job on the car,” concluded Hill. “My lead mechanic Ben [Tyler] has led the build of the car from the ground-up, and I’ve had no issues, which highlights how good the job is. I absolutely love the car and feel very confident already we will have a very potent machine.
“We’re so looking forward to getting started, especially as we should have fans and guests at events from Snetterton in June, so it will be amazing to see – and hear – the incredible BTCC ‘Tifosi’ back with us again. And hopefully, more podiums for them to cheer about!”
Hill and the team will now be concentrating on more track-time at Croft in April, with further outings planned ahead of the 2021 BTCC Season Launch at Silverstone on 22 April and the opening race weekend at Thruxton, Hampshire, on 8/9 May.