Chris James had a lucky escape in testing at Brands Hatch - Photo: StevenKnightley.com

Chris James had a lucky escape in testing at Brands Hatch - Photo: StevenKnightley.com

Chris James' second BTCC season started with an unwelcome bump during testing at Brands Hatch, the Luton based driver crashing his Vauxhall Vectra at Paddock Hill Bend.

James was reportedly running with teammate Dave Newsham around the Kent track, presenting a photo opportunity in Team ES Racing's newly acquired  S2000 Vectras.

James reported pain in his leg after the crash, but he was otherwise unhurt in the accident that resulted in heavy damage to the front of the car.

“It’s the biggest impact I’ve ever had,” James told The Checkered Flag. “I put the rear wheel on the gravel on the exit of paddock and the car just snapped.”

“There’s a lot of damage done to the car and is an obvious set-back with the Media Day and first official test coming up on Monday, but my team have done a fantastic job of stripping the car down following the accident and will be putting in the hours over the weekend to get it ready.”

Battle-scarred Team ES Vectra - Photo: @chrisjamesBTCC

Battle-scarred Team ES Vectra - Photo: @chrisjamesBTCC

Despite the unwelcome headlines James and his Team ES Racing outfit left Brands Hatch taking “some positives”.

“Myself and Dave [Newsham] were running 50-second laps with Dave dipping in to the low 49s,” James said. “We also learnt we'll be needing a different sixth gear for Brands Hatch.”

For comparison  Matt Neal's pole position lap for the 2011 race was 48.210 seconds. James, Newsham and the rest of the team will return to Brands Hatch for the opening races of the 2012 championship on March 31-April 1, following the series' media day on Monday (March 19).