BTCC Donington GP - August 26-27
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport continued to shine brightly as Jake Hill showcased his exceptional driving skills, securing two remarkable podium finishes at Donington Park and maintaining his position as the third contender in the intense 2023 BTCC Drivers' Championship battle.
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport and Jake Hill were back in action for round eight of the championship as the series returned to the GP configuration of Donington Park for the first time since 2002.
Saturday proved to be a challenging day for both Jake and the team, grappling with issues of pace and brake-locking throughout the day. Nevertheless, they persevered and managed to secure a sixth-place qualification. Following a penalty stemming from the previous Knockhill race, Jake took his place on the starting grid in his BMW 330e M Sport, positioned at P9 for the opening race on Sunday.
Race 1 unfolded under wet conditions, setting the stage for an exciting challenge at Donington Park. Right from the start Jake found himself immersed in a spirited midfield battle, aiming to surge ahead. Despite gaining ground initially and moving up to the eighth spot, Jake faced setbacks due to contact with a competitor, which dropped him to 11th place. However, Jake soon after delivered an overtaking masterclass as he carved his way up the order.
The quickest man on track, Jake made a remarkable progression from 10th to 3rd place, overtaking a remarkable eight cars in just ten laps, soon finding himself hot on the heels of reigning champion Tom Ingram. Engaging in a fierce battle, Jake valiantly pursued Ingram, even going door-to-door into the final corner. Unfortunately, a push onto the grass dashed his hopes, but he managed to cross the finish line in 3rd place. An ensuing penalty for Ingram promoted Jake to the 2nd position, marking his 40th career podium in the British Touring Car Championship.
Race 2 commenced with a stellar start for Jake. He engaged in a tight duel with Sutton as they approached Redgate corner, allowing Ingram to seize the opportunity and make his move to secure the second place before then taking the lead. This saw Jake now charging after the championship leader and as the race unfolded, Jake made several attempts to pass, drawing almost alongside on the final lap before Sutton squeezed across Jake’s nose and forced him to back out of the move, Jake ultimately taking home another well-earned podium, his 10th of the season.
The final race of the day, Race 3, as usual featured a reverse grid draw that placed the top 12 finishers in reversed positions. Jake commenced the race from P10 and quickly found himself locked in a thrilling side-by-side battle with fellow team member Colin Turkington in the opening lap. Jake eventually sealed the move on the entry to the Esses to put himself into ninth place.
With the top four in the championship all running together, Jake led the quartet of drivers before the drama began on the sixth lap. As the trail of cars ahead ran through the esses, Morgan clipped the tyre barrier and moved it onto the racing line, and Jake, a few cars back in the train was unsighted and clattered into the tyres, tearing off the front wing, headlamp and part of the bumper.
Remarkably he only lost one place to team-mate Turkington, but battled back past the four-time champion and began pressuring Rowbottom until he also hit the tyres at the chicane, forcing Jake to take evasive action but losing places to Sutton, Ingram and Turkington.
Somehow Jake managed to battle his tattered Laser Tools MB Motorsport BMW home to a very hard-fought P8, his 22nd points-scoring finish of the season.
As Donington Park's chapter came to a close, Jake retained his 3rd position in the Drivers' Championship, trailing reigning champion Ingram by a margin of twenty points and leader Sutton by 62 points. The forthcoming challenge awaits at Silverstone in two weeks' time, as the team embarks on the penultimate round of the season.