Perseverance in the face of adversity is always a welcome attribute, and perseverance is something that has been very much in evidence in the Team B&Q Jet York City Racing camp during the latter half of, what proved to be, another superb year of competition in the MSA British Touring Car Championship. After some stunning performances by the team in the first half of the season, some observers scoffed when we started to drop back down the championship tables once our rivals finally managed to wring the true pace from their cars as the season progressed but, on the whole, we are very proud of what we have achieved over the course of this season. Granted we didn't do everything right all of the time but, as an extremely young team, we believe we did a very solid job at this high level.
The team's lead-driver, Jim Edwards Jnr comments, "I believe the team made a strong start to the season for a number of reasons. We purchased a car that was very fresh and soundly put together which gave us reliability. I was also able to draw from my experiences from competing in the BTCC last year, and was able to approach the campaign with a strategy that played to the strength's of our package. As the season progressed our competitors began to develop their cars and learn that crashing at most meetings didn't help their chances of success! We can I believe be proud of our achievements this year. The team have had a number of podium positions and made the BTCC paddock aware of our intentions for the future and our experience, good or indifferent will stand us in good stead for our intended move into the BTC-T category in 2003."
Team owner, John B&Q explains, "This year has been a quantum leap from last year and I am delighted at the team and how they have developed over this past few months. They enjoyed some super results earlier on in the season and it would have been all too easy to get carried away with these results and get big headed but they understood that this was where the real work began and, when we began to be afflicted by mechanical dramas they stayed cool and worked as a team to resolve them. I will never forget how proud I was to see my drivers on those podiums but, for me, the real triumph this season was that level of commitment and resilience when things were going against us."
Whilst it is important to reflect on what has been it is, in the fast moving world of motorsport, much more important to look forward and, as a team, we are very much looking forward to the season finale this weekend at the historic Donington Park circuit. With the BTC-T, BTC-T Independents and BTC-P drivers titles all undecided, competition is guaranteed to be ferocious and the fans will surely lap up the excitement as the drivers who are still in the running go head to head in a fight to the bitter end.
Donington Park is bit of a bogey circuit for York City Racing, as we struggled here in our two visits last season, but we ran very well in the TOCA-organised test session at the circuit earlier on in the season and we are hoping to use the lessons we learned that day to propel us back up towards the front end of the field and we hope to reward our loyal fans with one final flourish before the winter break.
Maidenhead-based Jim Edwards Jnr is looking forward to the challenge, "I love the challenge that Donington Park presents and I always seem to do well there so I am hoping for more of the same this time. I tied up my first championship win there more years ago than I care to remember, so the place holds special memories for me, but the real pleasure for me is knowing that it is a circuit that suits my smooth driving style. It is notoriously hard on the brakes so I am always going to be at an advantage over rivals who insist on steaming into corners and thrashing the brakes to within an inch of their life!"
Australian, Hyla Breese, who joined the team as they entered their barren spell and who has suffered the most from terrible bad luck ever since is also looking forward to Donington Park, "Donington Park was where it all started for me back in 1996. I came straight from karts in Australia and landed on UK soil, headed for the Jim Russell School and the rest is history. In a way, racing at Donington was like racing on my local track. Last season I overcome a slow getaway to score a second place finish in the Autobytel Lotus Sport Elise Championship and, although I don't envisage finishing that well this time, I will be hoping for a good run out this time; I am confident the team will have the cars ready to rumble and in fighting form. Engine wise, well lets just say that the team have sorted it out and I'm confident that it will last."
"It's been a very short season for me and it has been very disappointing as I've never had this scenario before in my career at this level but I have learnt a lot and you can say that I've got to know the surrounding aspects to the BTCC which will help me immensely next year as I can get down to business straight away without it being such a strange environment. I must say a big thanks to John firstly for giving me the opportunity to drive for his team; I'd still be sitting at home if it wasn't for him. John is a top bloke that works bloody hard to achieve things he loves so much, a lot of people could learn a lot from him in that department. York City Soccer Club is seeing the gains from John being chairman of the club - It's slow progress but where there's John there will be a way. I also want to thank all of the team members that give up their time and work bloody hard for the love of it - even in the troubles of late they have kept positive and have never given up. One final person who deserves a thank-you is my good friend Tony Parramint who masterminded last season for me with Lotus and without whom I would ultimately not be racing this weekend. I look forward to repaying their faith in me and putting on a good display at Donington."
"The long flowing corners and smooth surface of Donington will suit the Honda Accords I feel. With such a long wheelbase it can only help us in the fast long corners. The hairpins will cause us the most trouble but as long as we can carry good speed through them we can make up some hopefully around the rest of the lap. I'm looking forward to driving a BTC-P car down through the Craner Curves for the first time. We were flat in the Lotus last year at great speed but we had more aero grip than a touring car - I'm sure it won't be boring that's for sure!"
With the weekend seeing the season finales of a host of the crème of top line national racing championships (including the BTCC, British F3, British GT, Renault Clios, Formula Renault, Formula Ford, Porsche Cup) you can be sure that the whole weekend will be anything but boring! It truly is an event not to be missed and you can be sure of an action packed spectacle from the first free practice session on Friday morning right through to the chequered flag on Sunday evening - if you consider yourself a true sports fan you simply must be there.
Friday 19th September
09.30 British Touring Car Championship Free Practice 40 mins
10.25 Michelin Porsche Cup Free Practice 30 mins
11.10 Senior Formula Ford Free Practice 30 mins
11.55 British Touring Car Championship Free Practice 40 mins
12.35 Lunch Break 1 Hour
13.35 Formula 3 (Championship class) Qualifying 1 - 20 mins
14.10 Formula 3 (Scholarship class) Qualifying 1 - 20 mins
14.45 Formula Renault UK Qualifying 30 mins
15.30 Michelin Porsche Cup Qualifying 20 mins
16.05 British GT Championship Free Practice 1 Hour
17.20 World Sports Car Invitation Trophy Free Practice 1 Hour
Saturday 20th September
09.00 Formula 3 (Championship class) Qualifying 2 - 20 mins
09.35 Formula 3 (Scholarship class) Qualifying 2 - 20 mins
10.10 World Sports Car Invitation Trophy Qualifying 40 mins
11.05 Senior Formula Ford Race 10 laps
11.50 Michelin Porsche Cup Race 10 laps
12.35 Lunch Break 1 Hour
13.35 British Touring Car Championship Qualifying 43 mins
14.30 Formula Renault Race 12 Laps
15.15 World Sports Car Invitation Trophy Sprint Race 20 mins
15.55 Formula 3 Race 16 Laps
16.35 Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup Qualifying 30 mins
17.20 British GT Championship (GT class) Qualifying 20 mins
17.55 British GT Championship (GTO class) Qualifying 20 mins
Sunday 21st September
09.10 Michelin Porsche Cup Race 14 Laps
09.55 World Sports Car Invitation Trophy Endurance Race 40 Mins
10.50 Formula Renault UK Race 15 Laps
11.30 Pitlane Walkabout 1 hour
12.55 British Touring Car Championship Sprint Race 15 Laps
13.50 Senior Formula Ford Race 12 Laps
14.25 RAF Tornado Flypast
14.40 British Formula 3 Race 16 Laps
15.25 Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup Race 12 Laps
16.15 British Touring Car Championship Feature Race 25 Laps
17.25 British GT Championship Race 1 Hour