Following MG KX Momentum Racing’s double victory at Oulton Park two weeks ago, that also included the team first ever 1-2 finish, the team will hope they can keep up the momentum this weekend as the series heads to Croft for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car championship.
Jason Plato was on fire at Oulton Park two weeks ago winning the first two races of the day and leading every lap during these two races before he literally caught fire in race 3. Plato had got into the lead in the standings following race 2 at Oulton but dropped down to third as a result of his fire; although this may not be a bad thing for Plato, who took victory in race 3 at Croft last year, as this mean he will now carry less ballast into qualifying and race 1 of the weekend.
Plato’s performances at Oulton Park came after a successful test at Snetterton and the former double champion knows the team will need to continue their form from two weeks ago and said, “We showed at the last rounds at Oulton Park that the tweaks we have made to the chassis are paying off. We had a great handling car on a very demanding Circuit and those are the strengths we are going to need at Croft as well. We need to keep the momentum going that we have built up.”
Plato was ably backed up at Oulton Park by his younger team mate Sam Tordoff, who achieved his best BTCC finish in race 1, where he finished behind his KX mentor and team mate Plato in second in only his 5th ever BTCC race weekend (4 for MG, 1 for 888 in 2010). Tordoff now heads into his home race, which he admits is a huge event for the local area, with wins very much on his mind and explained, “There’s nowhere sweeter to get a win than on home ground in front of your home crowd and to do it at Croft would be extra special. The BTCC is the biggest thing in British motor sport by far and it’s hugely important that the region has a circuit like Croft. It’s not just a big motor sport event but a huge sporting event for the North East full stop. It’s something I can’t wait for. It’s going to be an amazing experience.”
Second in the point’s standings, just 4 points off of current points leader Matt Neal in the works Honda Yuasa Racing team, is reigning Independent champion and current Independent points leader Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic. After a hugely successful start to the season things weren’t going quite as well at Oulton Park last time out, until he came through and won a chaotic race in race 3 to end the weekend on a huge high.
Jordan now heads to a circuit that holds great memories and once again believes he will be challenging saying, “I've got a lot of good memories of Croft. I scored my first Rallycross win there and my first BTCC win. I think we'll be pretty strong and I'm looking forward to going there. Croft is a proper old school track and it is always good to go back to those circuits where you have a lot of good memories.”
This weekend we should have the biggest grid so far of the season of 29 cars with Andy Neate at last expecting to race in his IP Race Tech Engineering, Team Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze after he gave the car its first public appearance displaying the car at Oulton, while there will also be a 3rd Motorbase Performance Ford Focus to go with the other two currently running under the Airwaves Racing banner.
Motorbase Performance will run the third Focus under the Addison Lee Motorbase team for long term Motorbase driver and current British GT champion Michael Caine. This will not be the first time that Caine has raced in the series after running with the team in 2011 for two rounds and has already tested the new machine at Snetterton.
The car looks stunning in a black livery with backing from Autoglym and Caine can’t wait to get back on the grid and said, “I absolutely loved it the last time out – so if this weekend can be as good as that, then brilliant. I’d like to say a massive thanks to Autoglym and everybody else that has been involved and helped to make this happen. I’m really looking forward to being able to support the team once again, and hopefully we get the results that they deserve this weekend.”
The other car currently running under the Addison Lee Motorbase banner is Liam Griffin, who currently sits second in the Jack Sears Trophy for the older S2000 spec cars in his Focus. Sadly for Griffin, who sits just one win off of current leader Lea Wood, he won’t be able to close or take the lead in that championship this weekend as he has been forced to sit out the weekends 3 races due to business commitments.
Taking his place will be 19 year old Jake Hill. Hill is a former Ginetta Supercup front runner/race winner and first tested the car late last year at Brands Hatch. There is no doubt that this weekend will be a steep learning curve for the youngster but team boss Dave Bartrum has no doubts that Hill can succeed and is delighted to give him the chance in the car this weekend following the test last year saying, “The whole idea of the test was to give two Kent-based youngsters the opportunity to sample the S2000 touring car and for us to offer developing young talents the experience and chance to raise their profile. When the opportunity came up through Liam and Addison Lee to put a replacement driver in the car for Croft we thought we would give Jake the chance in the car as he was very capable and knows the TOCA package quite well.”