NEW CONTEST AWAITS BLANCKLEY AT THRUXTON
Team sibsport head into this weekend's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race meeting at the super-fast Thruxton circuit (Hampshire) in buoyant mood after they scored their first championship point in only their second event at Rockingham two weekends ago, gained thanks to a committed performance from driver Simon Blanckley.
However, the visit to Thruxton - the track which will also play host to the final rounds of the season in October - represents a whole different challenge, particularly for Blanckley himself. "I've never raced there but I recently drove about 100 familiarisation laps in a road car, which gave me a good flavour of the demands of the track," he says. "I've learnt from advice given to me by others and the circuit is certainly exciting, so I'm looking forward to it."
Team Manager Graham Hathaway, who has years of motorsport engineering experience - from land speed records to Le Mans sportscars - is undoubtedly a positive influence for the developing team, and he is optimistic about the weekend. "Although we have basically the same power as all the other guys we are battling with, the Honda Integra is renowned for its aerodynamic advantages, which will be vital for Thruxton - especially on the run down from Church to the final chicane at Club."
The Rockingham weekend was a mixed one for the team, and they are looking back on it as character building. In race one, a collision followed by an engine failure meant a complete engine change was necessary, which meant a non-start in race two. Although a difficult process at the best of times, particularly for independent teams such as sibsport, a massive effort saw the team change the engine in just three hours, so Blanckley could compete in the final race of the day (round 6). He went on to score his first point with 10th place - a deserved reward for the team. "After the disappointment of race one and two at Rockingham, race three - and the point we scored - was great for team moral and motivation coming into Thruxton," Blanckley explains.
Based on his inexperience of Thruxton, Blanckley's outlook for the weekend is realistic. "I'm not expecting miracles, so we'll just see how the weekend pans out, but the car should be strong especially now we have a fresh engine. I'm quietly confident."
In the races held at Thruxton in 2005 and 2006, an Integra - then run by Team Dynamics who Blanckley bought his car from at the beginning of 2007 - won five out of a total of six races, so if history is anything to go by, the car should be very competitive at the Hampshire track.
Sibsport will then be busy preparing for Blanckley's biggest event of the season at his local circuit of Croft on June 3rd.