Power Maxed Racing team boss Adam Weaver expects Vauxhall to be frequent front-runners in the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after securing an early podium at Brands Hatch.
Vauxhall returned as a Manufacturer BTCC entry for the first time since 2009, securing third place in the final race of the day thanks to Tom Chilton.
The latter added to a further two top-10 visits earlier in the afternoon, results which gave team boss Weaver food for thought over a potential championship attack in the NGTC Astra’s maiden season.
Asked to sum up his joy by The Checkered Flag afterwards, team boss Weaver said “It’s hard to quantify it really. I’m just really happy for all the guys. It’s deserved for those guys for all the hard work they’ve done to go home with three trophies. I’ll look forward to putting those in the cabinet at the base.
“I think that, with the pace we’ve shown already, we could be seen as a real threat in this championship run now. We had a little bit of luck at the end with [Austin’s race two exclusion], but everybody needs to have a bit of it at some stage.”
The podium came via BTCC returnee, Chilton, who came closest to threatening Team BMW in the final race of the day from pole position.
“It was perfect”, said Chilton. “It’s our first event of the year and we’re still learning the car. It shows what a great job Power Maxed Racing has done and to get a podium is brilliant. It’s put me right up there in the championship in a new car – it’s amazing. I didn’t expect it at all.
“The BTCC has 32 of the best drivers in Britain and some of the best teams in the world, so to get a result is very difficult – especially a podium, so I’m absolutely over the moon. It was quite special and for us, it felt like a win.”
Chilton’s aquisition by Power Maxed Racing came through a more senior source. The 12-time BTCC race winner was pointed in the team’s direction by Series Director Alan Gow, Weaver grateful to have an experienced hand helping development of the Astra.
“It’s great to have Tom Chilton on board; I don’t want that to take away the efforts of everybody else though”, said Weaver. “It really is man and machine being up there. There’s no way a great driver can do it without a great car and vice versa.
“It was very, very clear that when Colin [Turkington] caught him he had a tremendous amount of pace. We told Tom that we were comfortable in letting him past and that’s what he did, because we’re happy with third and the points it brings.”
Weaver also sung praise of Chilton’s rookie team-mate, Senna Proctor, who finished as top rookie in all three races.
“Very [impressed]. I think Senna was capable of getting into the top 10 in that last race. However, to win the Jack Sears Trophy he knew he had to finish, so while he was being beat up left, right and centre he made the right decisions to bring the car home in one piece. We’ve come away with cars that don’t require much fixing too which is always a bonus.”