Most of the British Touring Car teams took part in testing at Snetterton before their summer break. Missing at the two-day test was the points leading Honda Yuasa Racing team.
MG KX Momentum Racing have dominated a two day test at Snetterton, with Sam Tordoff leading day 1 and Jason Plato day 2, setting the fastest overall time from the test as the MG pair took 1-2 in all 4 sessions completed over the two days.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is currently enjoying its summer break and will not return until the beginning of August when the series returns to Snetterton for real, with the test giving the teams the perfect opportunity to get prepared for the races. Perhaps, surprisingly, current BTCC champions Honda Yuasa Racing were not present instead opting to miss the test although they will test at the circuit later this month.
The main objective of the test was for Dunlop to test a range of their tyres including their 2014 compound and the super soft tyres which the teams have to use in one race over the race meeting. After the test former double champion, Plato who currently lies third in the points standings said, "We’ve had a very good test these last two days – we’ve been doing a lot of race runs and we understand our car a little bit more. I think it’s a strong development path we’re going on – if you look at the times both Sam and I have been quick all day long, and not just over one lap. We’ve stuck to our plan – we’ve not being going out to show off, we had a strict programme of tests to go through and we’ve completed it which is important. It’s probably the best test we’ve ever done."
Although the Honda works team were not present, Pirtek Racing were in their Honda Civics as current Independent champion Andrew Jordan was joined on track by team boss/former BTCC race winner and Dad, Mike Jordan with regular driver Jeff Smith not able to attend. Andrew Jordan finished highest placed driver on the medium tyres on the first day ending the test a combined 7th after opting not to compete on any new tyres, instead concentrating on race simulation as he completed more laps than anyone else on day 2.
So far this year, perhaps the biggest disappointments have been Airwaves Racing in their Ford Focus. After debuting their new car successfully during the second half of the season, so far 2013 has proved tough for the Motorbase team with neither drivers making it to the podium. The team were boosted for the test with Porsche works driver Nick Tandy, who has raced for the team previously in the British GT Championship, tested the number 4 car driven last time out at Croft by Michael Caine.
Aron Smith was the quickest of the Motorbase drivers in 5th and he believes that this test could be where his season starts to look up and said, "Over the last few days we’ve been playing around with just about everything, which is nice because on a race meeting you don’t usually have time to go over it all. It’s been a problem for us all season, but now the areas that we have been struggling with we’re strong on, which has allowed us to focus on other areas that we haven’t looked at yet. Having Nick and Mat here as well as me has brought us on leaps and bounds by tripling our testing mileage."
After winning two races at Croft, eBay Motors continued to show good progress with their new for this year BMW 125 M sport as Rob Collard took 4th overall. Double race winner from Croft and 2009 BTCC champion Colin Turkington however admitted not to look too closely into the times although said that the test had been a success saying, "It’s been very productive. We’ve probably spent a day in total testing new tyres and seeing how they’ll work with our car. This afternoon we really got to work on the car and have made some small gains. Everybody else seems to have moved forward too – it’s hard to read too much into the times though as it very much depends when you do your lap as to the performance you can extract from the car. I haven’t actually raced on the new layout before so it’s good to get my eye in around the circuit."
Without doubt biggest surprise of the two days was Jack Goff in his Team Hard, RCIB Insurance Racing Vauxhall Insignia, as the reigning Clio Cup champion ended the two days in an incredible 3rd position. Goff admitted afterwards that this was the best the car had ever felt and said, “Some of the things we’ve tried at this test have made a massive improvement to the way the car feels. The balance is really good now – it’s probably the best the car has ever felt. I did that time at the end on brand new tyres, and it was the first time we’ve run new tyres all test. It’s not quite perfect yet and there’s a bit more time in the bag, so we’ll see how it goes."
After the sudden departure of James Cole in the second Team Hard Vauxhall Insignia, the team opted to test a number of drivers, with both drivers who were originally meant to share the second VW Passat seat belonging to the team with American Robb Holland and youngster Howard Fuller sharing day 1.
While on the second day, the drive was shared between Warren Scott, who so far this year has been driving a Seat Leon in the Jack Sears Trophy, although he has already been announced in the second VW Passat for the remainder of the season and perhaps the biggest surprise of the 4, Joe Girling.
Like Scott, Girling so far this year has been driving in the Jack Sears Trophy in a Chevrolet Cruze for M247 Racing with Tech-speed but, after a tough start to the year, admitted that he was evaluating his options and said prior to the test, “We’re going to get our sponsors and the rest of the team down to see what they think – obviously it’s my first time in an NGTC car and I can’t wait to see how it compares to the S2000.”
At the end of the two days it was Scott who ended the test as the quickest of the drivers sharing the second Insignia, while Tom Onslow-Cole was also present in the teams VW Passat, complete in a striking new black livery for the first time.
Like Team Hard, Speedworks opted to test a number of drivers alongside Ollie Jackson in their pair of Toyota Avensis’ with regular driver Dave Newsham not in attendance. They tested current Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship runners Chris Jones and Ian Loggie along with Richard Hawken, who we will see this weekend as Motorsport.com covers the HSCC Super Touring Championship for older generation Touring Cars.
Other teams/drivers that were present were Frank Wrathall in his Dynojet prepared Toyota Avensis, Will Bratt in the sole Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 and Welch Motorsport with Dan Welch in the Proton and David Nye in his Ford Focus, as he was the only Jack Sears Trophy competitor present for day 2, although Liam Griffin was present for day 1 of the test in his Addison Lee Motorbase Focus.