In an initiative ran by Dunlop, official tyre supplier for the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship), three champions from series which are supported by them were given the opportunity recently to test at Snetterton.
Motorbase ran the Ford Focus RS at the circuit with current driver Ollie Jackson on hand to provide coaching and mentoring throughout the day.
Kyle Reid, 2018 MINI Cooper Pro champion had to wait a year for his opportunity due to work commitments but it is one that he revelled in and said that it’s good preparation for the JCW class in the MINI Challenge.
“It’s been a great experience. I’m racing in the JCW class of the MINI Challenge next year and it’s a step towards BTCC. There’s a strong link between the MINI Challenge and touring cars and the handling characteristics are similar.”
James Gornall who was formally champion in the British GT won that competition this past season and for him he saw it as a dream come true and he said the reason why he started in the MINI’s was having the BTCC and this test as well in mind.
“Getting to drive a BTCC car is a dream come true,” said Gornall. “Two reasons I chose to race in the MINI Challenge were to learn about driving a front-wheel drive car and for the possibility of this test.
“I quickly felt quite comfortable. The Dunlops, as we used in the MINI Challenge, allowed me to push even though the track temperature was very cold. The JCW cars prepare you very well in learning about car control and feel quite similar to a BTCC car in their behaviour.”
One familiar face potentially to BTCC fans also took part in the form of Andy Wilmot who previously drove half a season in the Welch Motorsport Proton Persona in 2015 but he wasn’t able to show his full potential. A few years on and he won the Focus Cup and secured the test and he said the test showed why the Motorbase car was running towards the front of the grid.
“Thanks to the Focus Cup and Dunlop for providing this opportunity. The power delivery of the car was impressively smooth and despite the wet conditions I was able to feel why this was a front-running car in 2019,” said Wilmot.