Just three days after an action-packed opening weekend of the 2015 season at Brands Hatch, the drivers and teams from the BTCC support championships were back in action today (8th April) for Thruxton’s official pre-event TOCA test.
With the Hampshire circuit unable to have three days of track action in a row, the circuit has to run the official test day in advance of the meeting rather than on the preceding Friday like the other meetings on the calendar.
While the Porsche Carrera Cup GB was not represented as the championship isn’t visiting the fastest circuit in the UK this season, drivers were in action from MSA Formula, Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, Ginetta Junior Championship and Renault UK Clio Cup.
Dan Ticktum continued his positive start to the 2015 season by adding the fastest time at Thruxton to a podium finish at Brands Hatch, his best lap of 1m 13.334s putting him just five hundredths of a second ahead of Sandy Mitchell.
Mitchell’s Arden team-mate Ricky Collard was third fastest at his home circuit, with Sennan Fielding and Lando Norris close behind as the top five was separated by less than four tenths of a second – with a second splitting the leading twelve cars of the eighteen car field.
Only 14 of the 25 drivers that competed at Brands Hatch at the weekend took to the track at Thruxton, with Jamie Caroline topping the times at the scene of his maiden Ginetta Junior win last year. The other winner last May, Dan Zelos, had to settle for ninth, 1.123s off his rival.
Caroline’s best effort of 1m 30.744s was just over a tenth of a second ahead of Brands race-winner Billy Monger, with rookies Dave Wooder, Cameron Roberts and Stuart Middleton impressing to notch top five times within half a second of the top-spot.
Renault UK Clio Cup
With new Dunlop rubber for the series this year, the top three runners got beneath the existing Thruxton lap record off 1m 23.443s set back in 2004 by Ed Pead – with Ash Hand the quickest with a lap of 1m 23.125s edging out Ashley Sutton and Brands victor Ant Whorton-Eales.
Seven tenths further back from Whorton-Eales were Paul Rivett, Jack Mitchell and Rory Collingbourne, the trio separated by just 0.085s at the end of proceedings. They were amongst thirteen cars on track which also included Dan Holland, who returned in the morning after his part in the Brands incident before withdrawing with neck troubles.
Ginetta GT4 Supercup
As was the case at Brands Hatch at the weekend, it was HHC Motorsport and specifically Jamie Orton who set the pace at Thruxton, his best lap of 1m 14.953s seeing him edge out team-mate Carl Breeze by just 0.041s.
Tom Oliphant was hot on their heels though, finishing up just 0.116s off the top spot, finishing up over eight tenths of a second ahead of the third HHC car of Will Burns. Michael Caine was just seven thousandths further back ahead of fellow former BTCC racer Ollie Jackson and Bradley Smith.