Toyota trio aiming to tame ultra-fast Thruxton
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK is Thruxton-bound this weekend (3/4 June) for the next three rounds of the Championship. Their Japanese ‘hot hatch’ still holds the official BTCC race lap record from 2020, when they came away with a double victory.
There is nowhere quite like Thruxton on the national motor racing scene – with an abrasive surface, top speeds verging on an eye-watering 160mph and scant margin for error, it is a circuit that truly rewards those brave enough to push to the limit – but bites anybody who strays beyond.
Rory Butcher added to the team’s growing silverware collection at Snetterton, claiming second place – the Scot’s 30th career rostrum – in the final race. The 36-year-old Kirkcaldy native is also a multiple podium-finisher at Thruxton and is fired-up to go one step higher this weekend.
Stablemate Ricky Collard has been out-of-luck for much of his sophomore campaign with the team to-date, but his pace is certainly not in doubt, as the 26-year-old Surrey-born star increasingly establishes himself as a contender. He, too, has form at Thruxton – his home track – after claiming the runner-up spoils there in MSA Formula in 2015.
George Gamble achieved his maiden car racing win at the circuit in Ginetta Juniors in 2011, going on to reach the rostrum there again in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. Piloting the third Corolla, the Nottinghamshire racer is swiftly settling into his new surroundings and getting to grips with front wheel-drive this season, as he’s looking for a big result that is surely now a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.
Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session will be streamed on ITV Sport’s YouTube channel from 1515, with every moment of Sunday’s doorhandle-to-doorhandle action to be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4, beginning at 1115.
Rory Butcher, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:
“Thruxton is totally unique on the BTCC calendar. When you truly nail a lap around there, it’s an extraordinary feeling and you know you’ve had to work hard – your hands are still shaking on the steering wheel when you come back into the pit-lane afterwards. As racing drivers, that’s what we enjoy most – really grabbing the car by the scruff of the neck and wringing every last drop out of it, and I love the way the Corolla dances through some of the quicker sections. Let’s go and do this!”
Ricky Collard, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:
“I make no apology for being an old-school, ‘balls-to-the-wall’ racer – that’s simply who I am, it’s in my genes – and as an old-school, balls-to-the-wall circuit, Thruxton is just my kind of vibe. Qualifying there is one of the biggest challenges of the season – it calls for maximum commitment and then some. Through the fastest corners, every voice in your head is screaming at you to rein it in, but your foot stays planted firmly to the floor. It’s the kind of place where you need to leave your brain behind when you exit the pits…”
George Gamble, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:
“I’m looking forward to Thruxton. It’s certainly not a place for the faint-hearted – you need to put everything on the line to extract a good lap – and I’ve got happy memories of the track from the BTCC support series. While I struggled there last year, I’m excited to see what it’s like in front wheel-drive and I’m feeling more comfortable and at home in the Corolla every time out.”