Renault UK Clio Cup duo Brett Smith and Charlie Ladell got their first taste of the high-speed Thruxton circuit last week, with both leaving the Hampshire venue buoyed by their efforts.
Smith is stepping up to the BTCC support series this year from the Michelin Clio Cup Series with reigning champions Team Pyro, while Ladell (pictured) is continuing with the WDE Motorsport team with which he made his series debut last year.
Both drivers were in action over the course of the two-day test last week, with Ladell enjoying dry running on Wednesday afternoon before being joined by Smith and a number of other drivers from the series for the largely wet Thursday action.
Testing at the fastest circuit in the country ticked a big box for Ladell as he prepares for his first full season in the Clio Cup.
“It was really important to do that test, I’ve never raced around there and the first few laps we pretty daunting. It’s nothing like anywhere that I’ve been before,” said Ladell.
“Overall I was really happy with my pace in the wet and in the dry I was starting to find some good speed before it rained. It’s nice to see where roughly we are against some of the others so early in the year. It was a really positive start.”
Smith, who was joined on track by his father Jeff in his BTCC Honda Civic, was encouraged by his run and hopes to build on it with more test days before the Brands Hatch season opener on April 4/5.
“I’ve never seen Thruxton before, I’ve not even been to watch dad race in touring cars, so it perhaps wasn’t ideal to be testing what is still a relatively new car to me on such a daunting circuit,” commented Smith.
“It was good to get an idea of how the car behaves in dry and wet conditions. Now it’s going to be about honing the car more to my liking in our remaining tests. The Clio Cup car you can change more parameters and play around more with the suspension so there is definitely more to come.”