Laser Tools Racings Flying Scotsman Moffat takes third touring car career win
Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat scored a breath-taking win in the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on Sunday as his Mercedes-Benz A-Class fended off the snarling pack.
For Aiden it was a major boost after a difficult season and he instantly claimed it as his most satisfying race win, the third of his BTCC career.
Aiden’s weekend started well with the eighth fastest time in qualifying around the 1.6-mile Silverstone National circuit, his time just 0.177s away from the fastest time in the ultra-competitive session. “That was really important as we have struggled of late in qualifying,” commented Aiden. “Me, Alain Menu (Aiden’s driver coach), and my engineers Federico Turata and Chaz Cleland, have all being working hard and going through everything to try to find that extra something! I have worked on my mental approach, on my driving and tried things that we have never tried before. I always race well, so to qualify well was crucial and this sets us up for the weekend.”
The regulations in the BTCC stipulate that a driver must use the “option” tyre in one of the three races and for Silverstone it was the harder compound Dunlop, which was slower than the prime tyre. Aiden elected to use it in the opening race and get the pain out of the way, but the tyre did its job of shuffling the order as Aiden struggled to 14th place, the best of those drivers running the hard-compound option rubber. “It didn’t go off,” explained Aiden, “it just never switched on in the same way that the prime tyre does. But I have used it now and lots of the others have yet to do so, meaning now I can make progress.”
Aiden started the second race from 13th on the grid and soon carved his way into contention, some brave driving bringing him past the drivers on the less-effective option tyre and moving into seventh place by the end of the race. “The car felt really good. We made some minor adjustments and it worked well, so that was a really positive race. No damage, good pace — excellent!”
Better was to come for Aiden as Le Mans winner David Brabham pulled the number seven out of the hat for the reverse grid draw for pole position for race three. That meant that Aiden would start the last race from pole with just 27 kilos of success ballast on board.
Race 3: Aiden blasted away from the grid to lead the pack into the first corner, his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class building a small lead early in the race. However, as Tom Ingram’s Toyota Avensis carved through the pack, it reached second place and started to chase Aiden’s Mercedes, the gap between the two cars coming down. “We struggle at Silverstone for pace because of the shape of our car,” explained Aiden. “It’s like a brick in a straight-line and the Toyota is more slippery so he was closing. And then the safety car came out….”
This interruption to the race bunched up the field and left Aiden in full-on defensive mode to the chequered flag. Behind him were Ingram and his title rival Colin Turkington, with a further three cars glued to their tails. Aiden drove magnificently as he absorbed the pressure, never putting a wheel wrong as he fended off the pack behind. It was a third career win in the BTCC and the sweetest yet.
“I knew that I had a good chance in that race but it is never easy defending and having Ingram and Turkington behind made it worse! They are two of the drivers that you definitely don’t want behind you, as they are so good! I told myself I could win and I just had to make sure that I didn’t make a mistake, and with those two fighting for the championship and needing points I knew that they weren’t going t do anything silly. That was the hardest race of my life and the most special win, more than my first one because it was so tough.”
Aiden left Silverstone 17th in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and eighth in the Independent Drivers’ Championship with three more races to run. The next rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be at Brands Hatch, Kent on September 29/30 and all the raceday action will be shown live on ITV4.