“What more could we have asked for than six points finishes?” said Triple Eight Race Engineering chairman Ian Harrison. “James finished in the top six and Tony in the top ten in all races. The cars have run well, we're competitive and we've learned a lot too. The whole team is now very much looking forward to Donington. A good start to the season and strong foundations to build on.”
Harrison's Triple Eight with Collins Contractors outfit enjoyed a superb start to the 2011 British Touring Car season, James Nash coming away with a podium and a fastest lap from race one, while new teammate Tony Gilham took points in all three on his series debut.
In their first weekend with the NGTC turbocharged engine the team brought good testing pace into the race weekend, Nash qualifying fourth on grid and finishing second, delivering the trophy to his mother on Mothers' Day, though he reportedly neglected to deliver her a card!
Nash then added a fourth place in race two – after slipping back on the opening lap – and a sixth in the final race of the day after a battling performance to fight through the field after an “annoying” clash with Mat Jackson at the very start of the race dropped him back to 13th.
Gilham – entering the BTCC from the Porsche Carrera Cup support paddock – put together three points finishes, making him the leading newcomer in all three races.
“I'm very satisfied with my performance today. My aim coming into the weekend was to get into the top ten so to score three points finishes is great and a huge boost for my confidence,” said Gilham. ”I've learned so much too. I've been racing rear wheel drive but not only is the touring car front wheel drive, the brakes are different and the gearbox is different too. Basically all I've learned over the last three years has gone out of the window!”
The pair's combined scores put the team third in the teams' standings after the first weekend with Nash third in the drivers' points behind Jackson and reigning champion Jason Plato who won two of the day's three races.