Moffat maintains BTCC progress on home soil
Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat maintained his impressive performance in the second half of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship by rounding his weekend at Knockhill with a top 10 finish.
Aiden, whose Laser Tools Racing team switched to an Infiniti Q50 mid-season, arrived at his home circuit after a productive test day at Snetterton at which 2017 BTCC Champion Ash Sutton also drove the car and offered feedback. With a few tweaks implemented after the test, the team was in confident mood ready for qualifying especially as Aiden had started the day second fastest in free practice. The 30-minute qualifying session was interrupted with a car in the gravel trap, but Aiden battled to 12th in the session, despite twice being caught up behind slower cars around the frantic 1.2-mile lap.
Aiden learnt another lesson at the start of the opening race, which is how the rear-wheel drive car coped with the steep uphill nature of the start line at Knockhill. After bogging down a little, Aiden lost ground on the run to the first corner, but soon stuck out his elbows to try to wriggle up the order once more. From 15th, Aiden stormed his way through the pack to secure 11th place at the end of the first race of the day and to score his first points in the Infiniti.
“That feels really good to get points with the new car,” Aiden said post-race. “I bogged down a bit at the start and then struggled to get the tyres temperatures up quickly but once the tyres came in, I was able to make progress. It’s so good to feel that you are part of the race and not just watching it!”
For race two, Aiden started 11th on the grid and again bogged down a little at the start. “The way the regulations work, all the electronics for rear-wheel drive cars is based on the BMW’s rather than our car so we are having to adapt to the limitations of that as there are no other rear-wheel drive cars running the same engine as us. So, we are learning all the time and I was better off the line, but still lost a bit of ground and then I got stuck behind Matt Simpson’s Honda Civic. Like me, he’s an ex-oval racer so he knows how to defend!”
Aiden finished 13th and was just outside the top 12 for the reverse grid draw. However, he gained one place on the grid when fellow Scot Rory Butcher was given a grid penalty and Aiden started 12th, eager to finish his weekend on a high. The race began with incidents on the opening lap and a safety car period, but Aiden avoided all the dramas. Running on the regulation option tyre, the slower and harder compound, Aiden had to adapt his driving style for the different rubber. On the restart, Aiden stormed into the top 10 and was involved in a great battle with champions Colin Turkington (BMW 330i M Sport) and Ash Sutton (Subaru Levorg).
Ultimately, the Infiniti Q50 took ninth place, the best finish in the car’s history, to the delight of the hard-working Laser Tools Racing team. “I reckon I could have done better,” said Aiden post-race, “but I am really pleased that we are competitive now. We are up in the top 10, scoring points and suddenly I love racing again! I wish Silverstone were next weekend and not in two weeks’ time, because I want to carry that momentum straight away. All the enjoyment is back and it is amazing how far we have come in just three race weekends. Silverstone can’t come quick enough!”
The next venue for Aiden and the Laser Tools Racing team in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is at Silverstone, Northants, on September 28/29, with all the raceday action live on ITV4.