Airwaves Racing prepare for Championship battle at Snetterton
Airwaves Racing are finalising preparations ahead of the restart of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit this coming weekend. It’s been a long seven week wait for BTCC teams and fans since the last outing at Croft back in June, but the Kent-based squad have been busy making hay in the sunshine and are keen to capitalise on their current position as Independent Championship leaders.
The Motorbase-run team head into round 6 of the BTCC off the back of an outstanding performance at Croft where they secured their third win and seventh podium visit of the season; leaving the Airwaves team at the top of the Independent teams standings and Mat Jackson chasing the overall Championship lead trailing current leader, Matt Neal by a mere nine points.
After such an extended mid-season break the Airwaves Racing squad are looking forward to getting back to what they do best, racing, and are hoping that developments made to their brace of Mountune-powered Ford Focus ST’s will pay dividends to their Championship challenge; despite the news announced this week by governing body TOCA that all turbocharged-S2000 cars are to be hit with a further reduction in boost limits.
We’re of course, very disappointed that the deferred boost limit has been brought in for Snetterton.
Airwaves Racing had a successful test at the new Snetterton 300 circuit earlier in the year in damp and cold conditions. However, this will be the first time that they or any of the other BTCC teams will have raced on the new layout which has had an additional mile of track added to the infield, making it the longest on the BTCC calendar and offering up a whole new set of challenges for the teams and drivers.
Airwaves Racing Team Manager Oly Collins said:
“It’s been a long break, maybe a little too long but we've been busy in all areas. We've done a fair amount of work on the handling of the Focus, we're getting it ever closer to where we want it but also doing that on a tight budget makes the task a little harder. The engineers and mechanics have been doing a great job improving the car and from the drivers feedback at our recent tests we feel we're moving the right direction.”
“We’re of course, very disappointed that the deferred boost limit has been brought in for Snetterton. At Croft, with the exception Mat Jackson who drove a near on qualifying lap for the whole of race 3, the BMW's had the measure of everyone by some margin, the three of them, despite Mat holding them back for the whole race, finished over ten seconds ahead of anyone else. No car has an advantage like that at any circuit especially one which is past its best in terms of development (it’s six years old now and still in the same format). We also saw the Chevrolet (normally aspirated) on pole, although they did suffer some terrible luck, I think would have been more than a match for the turbo cars in dry conditions. Most teams have been out testing trying to go quicker both pre-season and mid-season but none of the Chevrolets or BMW's (the normally aspirated cars) have done any testing mid-season and have had an extremely short pre-season test programme by everyone else’s standards, yet they are still complaining their cars are not as fast as those that are developing. I don't think it’s the turbo that’s the problem; I think it’s the approach of those teams.”
Airwaves Racing driver Mat Jackson said:
“We did some preseason testing on the Snetterton circuit at the start of the season with all the other fellow NGTC teams and the test went well for us, posting the second fastest time behind the Honda, so it should be fun to see how much we have all progressed throughout the season.”
“However, we obviously can’t rule out Chevrolet and BMW and with the news of further boost reduction for us, expect to see them at the front at Snetterton; it is a shame that we get penalised for doing the job properly! We have embraced the new engine regulations, these rules and regulations were open to each and every team in the championship, there has been a huge amount of investment by all NGTC teams that have embraced the engine change if we look at the facts none of the S2000 engine teams have done any pre-season testing nor have they done any testing during the six week break so really is it any wonder that they are struggling for pace?”
Airwaves Racing driver Liam Griffin said:
“We have only managed to get out in the race car once in the break but I have managed to spend a bit of time on track in a Mountune prepared Focus RS. Mat Jackson has been brave enough to sit next to me for a number of these sessions and he has been great in helping me to improve my knowledge of the circuits and also my technique. It has certainly helped my confidence and hopefully this will show when we arrive at Snetterton and throughout the rest of the season.”
“I can't wait to get back in the car for a race weekend and having spent a few days at the new Snetterton 300 it has really started to grow on me after initially being a little disappointed with the changes. Whilst I am still unsure of the new Coram the new infield is technical yet rewarding and I think adds a couple of overtaking chances that it perhaps lacked before. “
Round 6 of the BTCC featuring races 13, 14 and 15 take place at Oulton Park on Sunday 7th August. Live coverage of Sunday’s events will be shown on ITV4, itv.com and also in HD from 11.00am – 6pm; with www.itv.com/touringcars featuring live streaming online of Saturday’s qualifying session between 3.40 and 4.20pm.
By: Airwaves Racing