Airwaves Racing want to pick up at Oulton Park where they left off at Thruxton, protecting their lead in the Independent Teams' championship in this weekend's three races at the Cheshire track.
Mat Jackson has led the team's challenge and picked up his fourth podium of the season so far in the last Thruxton race, the Ford Focus driver chasing home reigning champion Jason Plato. The balance of power between turbocharged cars – such as Airwaves' Fords – and the older-spec normally aspirated cars – including Plato's Chevrolet Cruze.
“TOCA have brought in some regulation changes which will help our normally aspirated rivals and should see them gain some more speed,” said team manager Olly Collins. “This seems a little strange as a normally aspirated Chevy with Plato has won more races than anyone else including the last race. It will be interesting to see just how much it helps them, we will find out soon enough!”
The Oulton Park track is one that, in theory, shouldn't advantage one car over another, and Collins expects the turbocharged cars lack of engine braking to be an obstacle for the team. The Cheshire track, is, however, a place of happy memories for Jackson, who is chasing his second win of the year having won at Donington Park in April.
“Oulton Park is one of my favourite circuits on the BTCC calendar and where I took my first win in the BTCC back in 2007; let's hope we can make it win number 14 on Sunday! Since our last race at Thruxton we have used the long break to reflect on our performance in the first three rounds and try to extract a little more from the car, which I think is essential going into Oulton Park since the latest TOCA rule change will see the normally aspirated car of Plato 62kg lighter than us, which around Oulton Park will really hurt us due to the rollercoaster nature of the circuit.”
Central to Airwaves Racing's chance of winning the Independents' title is Liam Griffin. After a shaky start to the year the BTCC rookie has steadily improved and, like his more experienced teammate is looking forward to racing on one of his favourite tracks.
“After a hectic start to the season this has been quite a nice break to regroup and get things in perspective,” he said. “Oulton Park is one of my favourite circuits and when combined with a growing confidence in the car and three rounds worth of BTCC experience I am hopeful that I can have a good weekend. I think the TOCA approach so far to equalisation is a sensible one as long as it does not become a case of he who shouts loudest gets his own way!”
Qualifying for the Touring Car field is on Saturday, with the three 15 laps races on Sunday all broadcast live on ITV4.