Dave Newsham couldn't hide his excitement after topping the timesheets at the end of the official British Touring Car Championship test at Silverstone. The Scotsman has moved from the Special Tuning team to join Team ES Racing and showed the potential of the turbo-powered Vauxhall Vectra this afternoon.
Newsham clocked a 58.965s to outpace the Hondas of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal and felt at one with the car throughout the afternoon.
“It's been awesome hasn't it, just awesome. We did a lap, one of the first flying laps and set the fastest time and after everyone else had been pounding around and we'd been sitting in the garage to go out and go even faster we seem to be able to turn it on whenever we like. The car is just awesome, it was brilliant at the Brands Hatch test and it's been brilliant here too, it's just really quick”
Team Principal Chris James will partner Newsham this season although he had to use a 2011-spec engine in today's test. Despite that, he still finished ninth quickest and with Newsham topping the timesheets, James was a proud man leaving Silverstone.
“It's been an amazing day, how can you not say it's been an amazing day when Dave has been fastest all day, he's obliterated anybody's time around here previously.”
“My time of 59.6 was sixth tenths faster than that of James Nash's race pace last season, we had a race set up all day, we never had anything like a qualifying set up today, after Thursday the team doesn't need to prove anything, we know we had an enthusiastic professional quality team, we'll do our talking on the track this year, it's been a great day.”
The performance was all the more impressive considering that James had damaged his car in testing at Brands Hatch on Thursday. The repair job, coupled with the speed out on track today, has pleased Team Manager Andrew Dean.
“From where we were last Thursday obviously with the state of Chris's car I think the team deserve an enormous amount of praise to get it here in a running condition and still prepare Dave's to a high standard.
“Obviously the team are still learning the cars and still learning to work with two cars because it's a big step up for them from one car, but I have to say my initial impression of the guys is that they are massively enthusiastic and very capable so hopefully as the season goes on and we gel as a team we can build on some decent results.
“To come here and be quickest today is a bit of a surprise, didn't expect that, Dave's obviously an accomplished driver and the cars a proven package. We have the benefit of having all the set up data from Triple Eight as well but it's all very well having all the kit and information but if you don't know how to use it then it's no good to anyone.
“I'm quietly pleased with the performance of not just the drivers but with the team today as well.”