“Christmas came early” for Mike Bushell today (29 October) as he got behind the wheel of a Motorbase Performance BTCC Ford Focus at Snetterton for his prize test for winning the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup.
In the test provided by the Clio Cup’s tyre providers Dunlop, Bushell got the chance to do a couple on installation runs around the Norfolk circuit before competing a full race distance on soft compound BTCC tyres.
Bushell, who was joined on the test by provisional Formula Ford GB champion Jayde Kruger, received coaching throughout from BTCC race-winner Mat Jackson. Relishing the experience, the 25 year old admits the test has heightened his desire to be on the touring car grid next season.
“The BTCC car is definitely a different beast to the Clio,” he said. “It’s a lot heavier, there’s a lot more grip and obviously more power. I found the limit a few times, mowed the lawn, but it was an amazing experience – it’s been like Christmas come early.
“I was very surprised by the soft tyres and it was a good opportunity to test them. I was amazed at how quickly they drop off, when I felt the grip max-up I took a little bit too much out of them. I’ve got aspirations to be in the BTCC next year and this prize was almost like a first test for that.”
Motorbase BTCC team manager Olly Collins was impressed by his performance, commenting: “We did a couple of short runs, which were more familiarisation than anything, and then Mike had his race run on the soft tyre which was quite a challenging thing to do. After the warm-up procedure he then had to manage the tyre and did a good job.
“Running on softs was probably the most challenging thing Mike could have done really, he set a good time early on and had a very good approach with good feedback. Obviously, he is looking at progressing into touring cars sooner rather than later and so the experience was very valuable for him. Mike was good to work with and he did seem to enjoy himself!”