Team Shredded Wheat Racing were testing three potential newcomers to the British Touring Car Championship on Wednesday as part of the Dunlop Prize Drive Day.
The event gave three championship fighting drivers from other national series a chance to test out the Motorbase Performance owned Ford Focus ST for a track day at Snetterton. The three stars are all looking to make the step up, with the day providing useful track time with Rory Butcher coaching the trio.
Matthew Hammond, the MINI Cooper Pro Class Champion, Reece Barr, the MINI JCW Class Vice-Champion and Jamie White who won the BRSCC Ford Fiesta Championship this year.
Each driver would get the equivalent of a qualifying run, followed by a race simulation around the three-mile Norfolk circuit.
Hammond was first to take the car out, saying; “It is a mega car to drive. I didn’t think about the test all year as I was focused on the MINI Championship, but since knowing I’ve won the prize drive I’ve been buzzing. The MINI Challenge and Dunlop provide this route through the classes to a BTCC test. I can’t think of a better way to finish the season”
While he was use to the model, the test was a step up in power for White, who said: “The Focus is a phenomenal car to drive, so responsive with great feedback. It’s been such a good experience. In saloon car racing the Dunlop BTCC is the pinnacle and the prize makes you want to race harder to win the test opportunity!”
The only driver not to have won a championship this year was Barr, but runner-up in his maiden season in MINI Challenge, along with his experience in more powerful touring cars, ensured he was quickly into the swing of things.
“The grip level was just amazing. Once the tyres were up to temperature the performance was so consistent. Going straight to the MINI JCW class was one of the best decisions I made as the sequential gearbox, power and the racecraft needed has helped me today”
Motorbase has yet to announce their drivers for the 2018 season, with one driver; Bobby Thompson already confirmed to make his debut next year with Team HARD, after winning the VW Racing Cup.