Preparations for the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship are in full swing after a number of teams took to the track ahead of the season opening race weekend on the 3rd/4th April.
Champions Team WSR were present with a brace of cars, one which current Champion Colin Turkington and Elf Renault Clio Cup Vice-Champion Alex MacDowall shared, and an orange car for Andy Neate, whose name was on the side of the car which Colin and Alex tested in. Both Neate and MacDowall are looking to join the BTCC grid for the 2010 campaign.
Colin was on track in 2 of the 55 minute sessions and was immediately on the pace, while MacDowall took slightly longer to get fully up to speed, once he did, he was looking quicker than the orange BeeEmm which Neate was in.
Dick Bennetts, team principle of Team WSR said about the test: “Alex was pretty impressive and we’re in good dialogue with him. Andy’s obviously itching to race again and has been associated with the team for some time now. Both coped very well considering there was a huge mixture of weather and track conditions. For Colin it was a chance to shake off some of the rust. Clearly he’s not lost any of his touch and was stunning.”
Motorbase were also in attendance, running a single car for Rob Collard, who looks likely to remain with the team for the 2010 campaign. Rob was on fire in the car all day, really attacking it, even when the snow storm arrived towards the end of the day.
The third BMW team in attendance were newcomers Forster Motorsport, who were running their new BMW, acquired from Mat Jackson. The former Mini drivers have secured both of the ex-Mat Jackson cars. The team ran the 07 car which Jackson took to 7th in the standings. Both of the team's drivers, Arthur Forster and Martin Depper testing in the new car, but both had small problems, and the first session saw the clutch go. Hopefully the next test at Rockingham will run smoother for the team.
Tom Boardman was at the test in his 2009 WTCC Seat, the same one that he will be in for this seasons BTCC. Tom only confirmed his return earlier in the week, and was running his Special Tuning (UK) with Club Seat Seat Leon on Dunlop tyres for the first time. Boardman didn't complete many laps during the opening part of the day, but in the following sessions completed plenty of running, before a slight scare in the final session when there appeared to be a small fire coming out of the exhausts.
The final BTCC team at the Thruxton test was Team Dynamics, running a single car for Matt Neal, Steve's son. Like Collard, Neal was immediately on the pace, and had a trouble free day, apart from all the cars on track, causing problems in the tight areas of the track. Matt's Civic had a second hand bumper by the end of the day. The car was still in its new all while livery, which is promoting Honda UK's new Mugen Civic range.
Also at Thruxton was Stephen Jelley, Turkingtons team mate at Team RAC/WSR in 2008 and 2009, and Jonny Adam, Collards team mate from 2009. Neither driver took to the track during the day, but were seen talking to their former teams during the day. Adam was there, helping out the TCR Clio squad.
With the start of the season 5 weeks away, teams and drivers will be out testing, getting ready for Media Day on the 23rd March, at Brands Hatch, before the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is go on the 3rd and 4th April, at Thruxton.
Photo credit: BTCC.net