MOTORBASE PERFORMANCE REFLECTS ON ‘VERY POSITIVE’ GOODYEAR OUTING
Motorbase Performance wrapped up an extremely positive two-day Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship test at a scorching hot Snetterton 300 Circuit on Wednesday (13 July), with NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton and Dan Cammish delivering searing pace in the Norfolk heat.
Ending up with the quickest time overall for the entire test, reigning BTCC Champion Sutton set his best lap of 1m55.121 seconds (92.84mph) on the second morning using Goodyear’s soft ‘option’ tyre. Cammish, in the sister blue and yellow Ford Focus ST, was a mere 0.015 seconds shy to secure a superb top-two lockout – notably running the regular Goodyear race tyre.
Cammish was also third overall on Tuesday (12 July) and only 0.008 seconds away from the top of the day one timesheets – a real boost for Wrotham’s Motorbase and NAPA Racing UK as the team prepares to get the second half of the season underway in a couple of weeks.
In the Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan cars, Sam Osborne was 20th overall on Tuesday with Ollie Jackson 22nd fastest. On the second day at Snetterton 300, Jackson was 23rd on the combined timesheets while Osborne was 26th overall – both drivers focusing on a raft of set-up changes and their impact, rather than seeking out-and-out lap times.
Conducting a very full programme across its quartet of BTCC cars, Motorbase also fielded a third NAPA Racing UK liveried Ford on the opening day of the test.
Nick Tandy, Le Mans 24 Hours Winner and team boss of top Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship squad JTR, shared driving duties with Motorbase Driver Academy racer Jack Mitchell. Tandy then remained with Motorbase for day two, this time switching to Osborne’s Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan car and providing vital input and coaching.
“This test has come at the right time for us and from what we’ve learned over the two days across the cars feels very positive,” said Team Manager Oly Collins. “Dan’s pace, in particular, has been very impressive over the two days. Ash had a full day on Wednesday working with Goodyear on development tyres, so it was less about ultimate pace but a lot of hard work with Goodyear on tyres as opposed to car set up – but the car is clearly in a good place looking at the times. Ollie and Sam worked through some different development ideas as well as being joined by Jack Mitchell on day one and Nick Tandy across both days. It’s been great working with those two as well.
“The cars have been fantastically reliable, especially in this heat, so full credit to the whole Motorbase crew behind the scenes who have worked their socks off! Hopefully we can carry the momentum into the next event at Knockhill despite the two circuits being so different!”
“We worked all day with Goodyear with the soft option tyre on day two, trying things for them going forward,” said Sutton. “I took the limelight away from Dan a bit as he achieved his best time on raw pace and that was more realistic. It’s been a good test; we’ve found some positives as a whole and I think we can all be happy with where we are. I’m not sure what to expect for Knockhill, it’s such a different track, but I’m excited and looking forward to it as it is one of my favourite tracks. It’s a real challenge and it reminds me of my karting days!”
“It’s been a really constructive couple of days, with lots worked through, and the guys have been great – they’ve not stopped really,” added Cammish. “It’s been a great opportunity to try some car set-ups you wouldn’t usually get to try on a race weekend. It’s been warm, quite tough conditions, but a really good couple of days that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. We’ve worked through a programme, had some really good speed and set what was, ultimately, the fastest time of the entire test as I was on the normal race tyre. It’s great to get a one-two for NAPA Racing UK, all good and onward to Knockhill now.”
“We focused on running through suites of individual set-up changes, and it was a pretty successful couple of days from that perspective,” reflected Jackson. “Everyone worked hard and we found a few interesting aspects of the car, some of which were probably contradictory to some of the changes we’ve made recently. We’ve got a better understanding of the car now so I think we’re in a good position, although with Knockhill next, it’s a one-off track so you can never tell where you are until you’re actually there!”
“We found out some little tricks with the car, so we’re definitely moving in the right direction – fingers crossed we make some steps forward during the second half of the season,” said Osborne. “It’s been boiling with the weather, so we’ve focused on keeping plenty of fluids and staying well hydrated, but it’s been two good days. Working with Nick [Tandy] has been absolutely mega, he’s a fantastic driver and has given lots of great feedback which I can take forward.”
The second half of the BTCC season gets underway in just a fortnight’s time (30/31 July) at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland, with the race-day action broadcast across both ITV and ITV4.