Simon Belcher declared that a dry day of running during his latest British Touring Car Championship test at Oulton Park showed ‘big improvements’ as his maiden season edges ever nearer.
The Swindon racer endured his first meaningful dry weather running during a test since confirming his graduation from Renault UK Clio Cup to the BTCC for the coming season, following back-to-back Masters Cup titles in the one-make category.
Despite a damp Oulton Park circuit greeting the morning stages of the group test for several BTCC teams on Tuesday (4 March), the conditions brightened to allow for Belcher to experience a consistent phase of running using the slick Dunlop tyre compound in his Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
Improving his pace as the day passed, Belcher reported significant gains with set-up, saying: “This was the first opportunity I’ve had to have some solid track time in the dry and we made really good progress. It started out wet but then did dry up mid-to-late morning, we kept bringing our times down and down all day and we’ve certainly got more stability in the car now.
The KÄRCHER-backed racer added that, although still chasing the experienced opponents, the team remain now in a good frame of mind.
“We’re not right up there with the front-runners and we obviously don’t expect to be at this stage, but, all in all, for our first proper dry run – especially with me being new to touring cars – we’re in a good position”, he added. “I don’t think the times we managed at Oulton were too shabby at all.”
“The car felt good on Tuesday, there are definitely some big improvements from the handful of dry laps we managed previously at Silverstone – the car is considerably better”, he added, “It’s all really exciting, all very positive and the car is still in one piece which is the important thing!”
The Toyota man is scheduled to continue his introduction to the series an appearance at the following test session held at Brands Hatch next week, before joining his competitors for the official pre-season Media Day at Donington Park on Tuesday 18 March.