Tech-Speed Gets Set For Chevrolet Debut At Brands
GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed Motorsport will hope to start its Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign in fine style when the 2011 season gets underway this weekend (2/3 April) at the famous Brands Hatch circuit in Kent.
The first round of the year on the shorter Brands Hatch Indy layout will mark the race debut for the GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed Chevrolet Cruzes, which were purchased from the works Silverline Chevrolet team over the winter.
The Leamington-Spa based team heads to the season opener on the back of successful pre-season tests at Brands Hatch, Snetterton and Silverstone in recent weeks and will hope to replicate the kind of results it enjoyed in the opening round of the 2010 season twelve months ago.
Widnes racer Paul O’Neill will once again lead the team into the new campaign as he seeks to launch an assault on the Independents’ championship with the same car that carried Jason Plato to the overall crown last year.
The sunshine.co.uk-backed driver clinched a podium finish in the opening rounds of the season twelve months ago in his older Honda Integra, and armed with a car that took pole position and two victories on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit last season, he goes into the opening three races of the year keen to make a good start to his title challenge.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to qualify inside the top six, although it won’t be an easy task against the turbo-engined cars,” he said. “If we can come away at the end of race day with three good top ten finishes and some solid points on the board, a bit like we did in the opening round at Thruxton last year, then I’ll be happy.
“The car felt good when we tested at Brands Hatch and at Silverstone last week, I was only two-tenths of a second behind Jason in the works car. If we can do similar this weekend, we’ll be in a good position.”
Guernsey-based team-mate John George heads to Brands Hatch seeking to join Paul in the top ten having set himself a target of at least one points finish in each of the ten rounds to be held again this season.
As well as chasing an overall points finish, John’s main aim for the weekend ahead will be to maximise the track time available as he acclimatises to the Chevrolet after four years at the wheel of a Honda Integra.
“I think we need to see how the turbo-powered cars perform in practice and then we will know where we stand,” he said, “but my aim for the weekend is to bring home three solid results. The car felt good in the test we did at Brands Hatch a few weeks ago and I’m confident that we can build on the work we have done so far in testing.
“I want to try and get into the top ten at least once, but in my first race weekend with the car, the most important thing is to bring home three finishes and get the maximum time possible behind the wheel so I can continue to learn all about the Cruze.”
Tech-Speed team boss Marvin Humphries is also optimistic about the team’s chances going into the opening round of the season as it looks to kick-start its challenge on the Independents’ championship with a strong start to the year.
“We had a successful run at Silverstone last week on media day and are looking forward to the start of the season,” he said. “The Brands Hatch test a few weeks back was our first chance to run the Chevrolet but the day went okay and we are in good shape for the opening rounds. How we get on may depend on the turbo cars a bit, but we’re confident of a good weekend.”
The opening three rounds of the 2011 season will feature extensive live coverage on ITV4 and ITV.com on Sunday, with a live broadcast running from 11:00-18:00.
For the first time, the BTCC will also appear in High Definition on ITV4 HD while Saturday’s qualifying session, which is due to run from 15:40-16:10, will be available to view on the ITV.com website.