Laser Tools Racing Report Mighty Moffat takes maiden British Touring Car Championship win
Our Laser Tools Racing BTCC driver Aiden Moffat wrote himself into the history books on Easter Sunday by winning the opening race at Donington Park and scoring his first ever win in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The 20-year-old delivered a mighty performance from fourth on the grid for the first of the three races at the Derbyshire circuit as he sprinted to the first corner on the tail of the race leaders. By the end of the opening lap, Aiden had worked his way to third in his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class. He then grabbed second place at the Old Hairpin on lap three as he passed Rob Austin’s Toyota Avensis. His next target was race leader Tom Ingram and he soon swept on to the tail of the leading car and surged past on lap five at the top of the dauntingly fast Craner Curves to lead a BTCC race for the first time.
However, Aiden’s nerves had to cope with the remaining 11 laps and the sight of cars scattered around the circuit, which could have heralded a safety car period, which in turn would have wiped out his lead. Thankfully, the race continued without intervention, allowing Aiden to run out as the race winner, the fourth different victor in the first four races. Aiden’s winning margin was 1.5 seconds as he controlled the gap to three-times champion Matt Neal (Honda Civic) and set the fastest lap of the Independents’ division for the non-factory teams. In addition, the fans watching on television voted Aiden’s pass of Ingram as the best of the race in a social media poll!
“I felt that I had a great car underneath me,” said Aiden post-race as he faced ITV’s cameras as a race winner for the first time. “It was a hard race because it was a case of managing the gap and looking after the tyres once I got into the lead but I felt that I had a good chance in this race. I knew that Tom (Ingram) was on the harder, option tyre which isn’t as good as the prime tyre and that he was carrying 66 kilos of success ballast so I knew that I could get ahead and I saw that he was a bit unsettled through the Craner Curves. I made my move there as soon as I could and got away while he was defending from the pack behind. I’m tempted to stop racing for the day and go to the pub and celebrate!”
A very proud Bob Moffat, Aiden’s father, said: “I knew the potential was there and after a good qualifying, Aiden was out of traffic and had more opportunities to make progress. He raced really well early on to get himself into the lead and then drove superbly to manage the gap and look after the tyres. It was a really mature performance and one that makes the years of hard work so worthwhile.”
Aiden had little time to enjoy the celebrations as race two was just a few hours away and he had to race with 75 kilos of race winner’s ballast for the first time in his BTCC career. Also, Aiden would have to run the harder, less-preferable option tyre in that second race and his heavy Mercedes would inevitably lose pace against the lighter cars. However, the Flying Scotsman produced a storming display of defensive driving to fend off the pack for as long as possible and he ran in the leading group for the first two-thirds of the race, However, inevitably the weight and the harder tyre started to tell and he fell to 14th at the end of the 16-lap race.
“It was hard with the weight,” explained Aiden. “The car didn’t want to stop and it didn’t want to turn! I held on for as long as I could but in the end I just couldn’t hold back the pack any longer.”
Aiden started the third race from 14th on the grid and, on a wet and slippery road after a heavy rain shower, soon battled his way up the order. However, he was tagged into spin that dropped him to 24th place, but the Scot fought back to a tremendous eighth place at the end of the race, picking off cars lap after lap in treacherous conditions.
“I really felt that I drove well in that third race,” said Aiden. “The car felt really good and I was able to pick them off early in the race but then I was hit and spun. I thought I was out of contention but in those conditions the car felt great and I just kept on pushing.”
Aiden, the latest race winner in the history of the BTCC that began in 1958, left Donington Park in 12th place in the overall championship standings and sixth in the Independents’ competition.
The next stop for Aiden Moffat and the Laser Tools Racing team is Thruxton, Hampshire, on May 6/7.