The 2018 season was a good one for us; we introduced a new car in the shape of the Focus RS, had a new driver line-up in all three cars, and still we entered the final Rounds of the year with a mathematical chance of winning it outright. But the BTCC doesn’t stand still, and to be in with a shout again in 2019 (and hopefully bring the title home) we need to keep finding ways to improve our performance on track.
One of the major components of any race car is the driver, which is why we were more than happy to offer Dunlop Champions Ant Whorton-Eales and Nathan Harrison the chance to drive the BTCC Focus RS at Snetterton. These two incredibly talented young drivers were winner and runner-up in the fiercely-competitive MINI Challenge in 2018, which is fast becoming the stepping-stone to a BTCC driver, so these guys will be the future of the BTCC in the next few years.
While testing, we were also able to offer drives to Lewis Plato and Dan Vaughn from the 2018 Carrera Cup, BTCC regular Ollie Jackson, and Pro Alloy’s Alex Osborn. Pro Alloy have been a sponsor for a number of years, and as a keen driver himself Alex was thrilled at the opportunity to drive the car. “I’ve driven a fair bit of stuff on track over the years, but driving one of the current Touring Cars was a completely different challenge!” Alex smiles, “but it was an amazing experience, and I was lucky enough to get a couple of decent stints behind the wheel. I think I did about 40 laps in the end!”
After the test, the cars were taken back to our HQ where they were promptly stripped back to bare shells before they werte sent to out bodyshop. A season of hardcore BTCC racing certaiunly takes its toll on the bodywork, so the cars were all freshly repainted to look their best for the 2019 season.
Of course, we had to see if we could make any performance improvements at the same time. So while the cars were stripped we took the opportunity to make some tweaks to both the weight distribution and the aerodynamics package too. In addition we’ve been concentrating on some of the finer details on other areas of the build too – nothing too exciting on its own, but as we know it’s often the smallest of details that can set you apart from your rivals on race day.
In between all that, some of the team have taken the rare opportunity to grab a bit of a holiday before the 2019 season kicks off again in a few weeks, while others – Tom Chilton in particular – has been out on the town at the annual TOCA Night of Champions, where he collected trophies for finishing 3rd overall and 2nd in the Independents.
Now that the New Year is on the horizon, all attention turns to the Autosport show at the NEC in January, and that’s when things start to get real for the 2019 season ahead. We’re looking forward to it, and we hope you are too.