Chris James dodged both the weather and accidents in shaking down the no.78 Chevrolet Lacetti he will drive in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) this year.

With a day's running at Donington Park planned James and his Team ES Racing squad were greeted by a damp track and fog cloaking the track.

“It was a tricky start to the day,” conceded James, who is moving into the BTCC from the Mini Challenge, “but as the track dried off in the afternoon I was more comfortable with the car and could settle in to the task ahead.”

But soon James was getting to grips with Lacetti's “awesome” power. As the track dried – but on old tyres – his pace peaked at 1:13.8, less than half a second that Jason Plato managed around a subtly different Donington in 2009, when the current champion was also driving a Lacetti.

However, all the positive progress was nearly wiped out in the final minutes of the day, as James explains.

“I thought I'd drive just one more lap, but I got a little too close to the edge of the track and put a wheel on to the grass, the next thing I knew I was sliding sideways!. Luckily the only damage done was a broken splitter, it could have been a lot worse!”

Chris James and Team ES Racing will be in attendance at the series' media day at Silverstone on March 24, with further testing planned at Brands Hatch before the first round of the 2011 season on April 3.

Team ES Racing currently has sponsorship opportunities for the BTCC season, interested parties can contact the team at

You can also follow Chris James and the team at and on twitter at @chrisjamesbtcc.