As the British Touring Car circus prepares for a trip to Knockhill – by now a fixture on the calendar of Britain's top national racing series – all the talk is of Gordon Shedden.
With Shedden odds on to be one of the leading drivers during the weekend at the Fife track Dave Newsham is aiming to use some of the same home support to take a first podium result of his BTCC career.
For some for the Special Tuning Racing driver to consider Knockhill his home round may seem farfetched. The reigning Clio Cup champion is based a three hour drive north in Inverness, from where he runs his successful Norscott coffee vending machine business.
To twist the definition of 'home' further Newsham originally hails from the North-West of England, but moved to Inverness in 1994 to start his business and now he considers himself every bit a Scotsman.
He explains: “My first ever race on four wheels was at Golspie kart track about 60 miles north of Inverness. I won my second race there and was also the local club champion.”
“There's a lot of Scottish blood running through my family's veins as well: my dad was half Scottish and my wife's grandfather was from Orkney, plus both my kids who are now into their teens were born and raised here and I couldn't have wished for a better upbringing for them.”
“Inverness might be three and a half hours' drive from Knockhill but people up here are used to driving long distances to get to events. And from what I'm hearing a lot of people from the area will be driving to Knockhill for BTCC weekend and that makes me feel great. It brings a bit more pressure but that only adds to the buzz.”
Newsham is now three weekends into his season with the SEAT running squad, having run the first two rounds with Geoff Steel Racing and enters his home round off the back of his best weekend to date. He took three top ten finishes away from Snetterton and getting his first taste of leading in the opening laps of the final race, showing what he calls genuine mid top ten pace.
It is this pace he hopes can make it a pair of home racers on the Knochill podium on September 4.
“Gordon's been in the BTCC for five years now and is always the big name when the BTCC comes to Scotland,” he says, “but I was ahead of him in one of the races at Snetterton for a while. I don't think I got the results I merited there either so I'm going to Knockhill pretty fired up. I really want to be on the podium and believe that the SEAT, given its past results there, is capable of it.”