Over fifty competitors from a plethora of motorsport championships continued their preparations for the 2014 season during the annual general test day at Thruxton yesterday (18th February).
Leading the on-track entries in the mixed conditions were a large continent from the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and its band of support championships.
Four BTCC champions were on show for the viewing public including Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, who shared a new-for-2014 Honda Civic Tourer and one of last season’s hatchback models.
Reigning champion Andrew Jordan and team-mate Martin Depper were out in their Eurotech Honda Civic’s, while 2009 victor Colin Turkington was joined by team-mates Rob Collard and Nick Foster in a trio of BMW 125i’s.
The other BTCC attendees were Marc Hynes and Sam Tordoff sharing a single MG6, Rob Austin in his Audi A4, United Autosport’s pairing of Glynn Geddie and James Cole in a single Toyota Avensis, and Aiden Moffat in his Chevrolet Cruze.
The Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup was represented by Pepe Massot with reigning champions JHR Developments, Century Motorsport duo Jamie Orton and Tom Oliphant, and United Autosport’s Luke Davenport. There was one Porsche Carrera Cup GB car on track too, with Nick Tandy doing some development work in the new 911 GT3 car.
Defending Ginetta Junior champions HHC Motorsport ran Lando Norris in one of their Ginetta G40J’s, with him joined on track by JHR quartet Jamie Chadwick, Jack Mitchell, Dan Zelos and Alex Sedgwick, Total Control Racing duo Matt Chapman and Jamie Caroline, and R&J Motorsport trio Ryan Hadfield, Ben Pearson and Jonathan Hadfield.
There was a strong group of the new-for-2014 fourth generation Renault UK Clio Cup cars too, with SV Racing running KX Akademy proteges Ash Hand, Alex Morgan and Ant Whorton-Eales, while Team Pyro also ran three cars, for Josh Files, Mike Bushell and Rob Smith, as well as a third-gen Clio Series car for Ollie Pidgley. Josh Cook and Craig Milner were on track with 20Ten Racing, while Lee Pattison ran with JHR.
In the open-wheel sessions, Formula Ford front-runners JTR, Jamun and Falcon Motorsport were on track. Sam Brabham, Jayde Kruger and Max Marshall ran with JTR, Harrison Scott, Chris Mealin and Ricky Collard with Falcon, and Juan Rosso for Jamun. Formula 3 cars were also present, with Alex Lynn and Sam MacLeod driving a pair of current Carlin-run Dallaras, while an older Dallara F3 machine was piloted by Will Arif and David Gillett.
There were also some historic racers getting some miles under their belts ahead of the Easter Revival meeting in April. Keith Kenward ran a Jaguar MkII S-type, Stuart Kestenbaum and Michael O’Birien drove classic Formula Ford 1600’s, and Mike Gardiner put his MkI Lotus Cortina on track.
The day didn’t pass without drama, with a heavy incident for Moffat at the high-speed Goodwood/Church section bringing his day to an abrupt end. Hand had a late off in his Clio, causing damage to one rear corner, while Sam Brabham and the Hadfield brothers were amongst those to take trips across the grass in the tricky conditions.
“It was fantastic to see so many drivers out on-track at the test day,” said BARC Business Manager, Ian Watson. “Whilst the weather was mixed, that did give everybody an excellent opportunity to get some practice in for whatever the great British summer may choose to throw at us this year!
“There was a large variety of cars on the circuit, and the feedback from drivers and teams afterwards was that it was a tremendously useful and productive day as they prepare towards the fast-approaching 2014 season.”
A large gallery of images from the day can be found on Jakob Ebrey Photography’s official Facebook page.