Sutton stars at Snetterton test
Reigning champion tops two-day Goodyear tyre test
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship headed to Snetterton this week, as the two-day Goodyear tyre test took place over 12/13 July.
In the scorching heat, it was NAPA Racing UK that came out on top, with Ash Sutton and team-mate Dan Cammish occupying the top spots on the combined times at the conclusion of testing.
Sutton’s NAPA Racing UK Ford would complete 155 laps of the Snetterton 300 configuration, more than any other driver over the two days, and clocked his best tour during Wednesday morning’s session, shaving more than six-tenths of a second off the current race lap record.
“We were selected to do some Goodyear tyre testing,” explained Sutton. “So pretty much our whole day was based around testing out the option tyre and a few other things. I kind of took the limelight away from Dan [Cammish] who had raw pace on the right tyre if I’m honest. We were just running a completely different programme, as requested by Goodyear.
“We still made good progress with the car over the two days. We feel like we’ve had a lot of potential and that potential seemed to be showing in Dan’s pace too, but I’m pleased with the two-day tyre test and am looking forward to going to Knockhill and trying out some of the things we’ve learnt.”
A total of 30 drivers headed out over 14 hours of testing, accruing almost 2,500 laps of the 2.97-mile circuit and notching more than 7,200 miles.
Although still in the 20s, Wednesday’s cooler temperatures proved popular across the board, with almost every driver recording a faster lap time on the second day of the test.
Despite having topped the afternoon session, it was Jake Hill’s (ROKiT MB Motorsport) Wednesday morning flyer which sees him occupy third on the combined classification from Tom Ingram (Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com) – who held position within the top four throughout the test.
Tuesday pace-setter Gordon Shedden (Halfords Racing with Cataclean) took fifth having dominated proceedings throughout the opening day, with Ricky Collard (Toyota GAZOO Racing UK) and Michael Crees (CarStore Power Maxed Racing) between the Scotsman and team-mate Dan Rowbottom.
Jason Plato (Rich Energy BTC Racing) sealed ninth on the times while Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) rounded out the top ten.
Notable absentees from the top ten included the likes of Team BMW’s Colin Turkington and Rich Energy BTC Racing man Josh Cook – both in the thick of the title battle in this mid-stage of the season – but, with variables such as the weather and teams’ own strategies for the day, it’s unlikely that the times are directly reflective of every outfit’s competitiveness.
Joining the fray for the two-day event was BTCC returnee Jack Mitchell, as well as fellow MINI CHALLENGE rival Dan Zelos, while Le Mans victor Nick Tandy also took part, driving a Motorbase Performance Ford Focus to 15th in the combined result.
Alongside teams and drivers testing various strategies, a selection of drivers also undertook Goodyear’s own testing programme, as the tyre company makes adaptations ahead of next season.
“Snetterton gives us all we need,” said Mickey Butler, Goodyear Motorsport Event Manager. “It’s a mixture of corners, low speed, high speed and great visibility around the track. We can understand where we currently are from previous years’ testing and the data we’ve built up. It works really well for us. Obviously, we’re in the new hybrid world and we’re still developing our understanding of that, like everybody else, and then also adapt a new tyre for 2023 to make the racing even more exciting.”
TSL’s combined classification from the full two-day test can be found here.