David Pinkney had his first taste of the former works Vauxhall Vectra (which was piloted by Fabrizio Giovanardi in 2009 to 5 race wins en route to 3rd in the Championship standings) yesterday at Brands Hatch. TCF had the chance to speak to the team manager of David's team, Andrew Dean.

Andrew said that it was more of a “shakedown” than a proper test, to give the car a run out and get miles on the car and the new engine. The first part of the day was done on used tyres. Pinkney and fellow BTCC driver Jordan are both gathering data for Swindon Engines, about engine cooling and how the engine is working.

On the car, Pinkney already prefers the Vectra to the Civic, even though, according to Dean, “Comparing the Civic to the Vectra is like comparing an Apple to an Onion”. He likes the way the Vectra works, how it drives and the balance of the car; but there will be some work to do on the car, “We will need to work out the weight distribution as the new NGTC Engine is heavier than the old Sodemo engine. We will also need to work on gear ratios as they'll be different with the new engine.”

The team compares Pinkneys pace to the pace of Giovanardi, and are quietly confident for the forthcoming season: “I wouldn't have got involved with David if I didn't believe he could do well” explains Dean, “he still has the pace there, you should have seen the way he was going round Brands.” Dean also said that Pinkney was a little bit disappointed with how his campaign at Dynamics went, but there were glimpses of pace during the season, as Dean explains: “At Croft, David was quicker than Thommo (James Thompson) and was quicker than (Johnny) Herbert when Herbert joined the team.”

With the car, the team and the engine – 2010 could finally see the top step of the podium filled with Pinkney – “It would be good, we're quietly confident” was the reaction of Dean when asked about the possibility of a Pinkney victory.

The opening rounds of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship take place at Thruxton, Hampshire on the 3rd and 4th April. The official media day takes place at Brands Hatch on the 23rd March.

Photo credit: BTCC.net