After leaving Geoff Steel Racing before the races at Thruxton Clio Cup champion Dave Newsham got his first chance in a Special Tuning Racing SEAT Leon at Donington Park, testing alongside new teammate Tom Boardman.
Running with the same coffeedrops.co.uk sponsorship and race number that graced the BMW in the opening two events Newsham's new charge is radically different – front wheel drive and pulled along by a NGTC turbocharged engine.
The day's running was dominated by wet weather, with several downpours meaning that even when it wasn't raining track conditions were still treacherous for the Inverness-based driver.
“The car felt great,” said Newsham. “It was a little bit frustrating that we couldn't get any good dry running with the bad weather, but we've learnt a lot in the wet and we seemed to be quick, as quick as the rest of them here today anyway.”
“What dry running we had in the morning we were a little bit off the pace, but we were on old tyres and I was familiarising myself with the car. I was still in RWD drive mode quite a bit to begin with and it took me a while to get out of it, but running in the wet sorted that, because the car was moving around quite a lot! Overall though, it was really positive and I can't wait for Oulton Park!”
The three races at Oulton Park will be only the second time the Special Tuning squad has fielded two cars, and the additional challenge is obvious, it also offers new opportunities to both team and drivers, as Boardman explains.
“Having Dave on board is great for the team, we can learn more about the engine and the chassis with a different driver on board, and for me if we can be as quick as each other then sharing data is the ultimate. Last time we had that was at Silverstone last year with Phil Glew, but even though it was just the one round it was so good just to get some different feedback. At this level of racing having a team-mate is really beneficial, every little bit of information you can get really helps.”
The June 4-5 meeting is also the home event for Tom and the team, and after scoring his first BTCC podium at the previous round, the team will obviously be hoping for another good weekend from both of their drivers.