BTCC Silverstone - September 23-24
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport, and driver Jake Hill had a mixed weekend at Silverstone, marked by moments of glory and frustration. The team clinched their fifth victory of the 2023 BTCC season before encountering electrical issues that dashed their race two ambitions.
The weekend started on a high note as Jake Hill led the timesheets during the opening free practice session. He continued to demonstrate strong form, finishing in fourth place in the second practice session.
Qualifying saw the return of the top-10 shootout format. Jake initially claimed provisional pole position after the first 30 minutes of qualifying, heading into the shootout as the driver to beat. Despite putting his BMW 330e M Sport on pole by a significant margin during the shootout, his fastest lap was invalidated due to track limit violations.
In the dying moments of the session, Jake made a final attempt and secured a fourth-place grid position, missing pole position by a mere 0.045 seconds.
Sunday - Race 1 - Hill Clinches Victory with Last-Minute Tyre Call
In a thrilling start to the BTCC’s penultimate 2023 event, with the evocative Silverstone as the venue, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport driver Jake Hill pulled off a strategic masterstroke in the opening race. With drizzly conditions causing chaos on the pre-grid, teams and drivers faced a critical decision regarding tyre choice. While most of the top contenders opted to stick with slick rubber, Hill and a few others made a late switch to Goodyear wet tyres, a decision that proved pivotal.
As the rain intensified just minutes before the race, it became clear that Hill and his fellow wet tyre adopters had made the correct call. When the lights went out, Hill, confidently piloting his BMW 330e M Sport, surged into the lead before the first corner. Thanks to his mature and consistent driving, he maintained this position and claimed victory in this first race. Jake's fifth win of the season marks a personal best for the most amount he’s had in a single season and makes it three years in a row that he's tasted victory at Silverstone.
Jake Hill shared his thoughts after the race: "There were no safety cars in Race 1, so that was a surprise — so many people were still on slicks. We were sat on the grid, and I thought let’s just do it. The risk versus reward just didn’t add up for me and it came through."
Race 2 - Pole Position Start and Misfire Woes
Starting from pole position in the second race, on a rapidly drying circuit, Jake Hill appeared to be on his way to securing a second victory of the day. Meanwhile, title contenders Sutton and Ingram were working their way up the order behind him. However, a safety car intervention nullified his lead and dramatically changed the course of the race.
After the safety car, Jake continued at the front of the field before disaster struck. An electrical misfire, caused by a failure of a control part, saw Jake drop down the field and into 12th place.
While this would ultimately have given him pole, he was hit from behind by a rival at the race’s final corner and dropped to 20th.
Race 3 - Start in P20 — finish in P8
Jake recovered to eighth in Race 3, overtaking twelve cars but suffered another misfire – this time a less-impactful one – for the final 10 laps.
" A weekend of massive highs and massive lows,” commented Jake, “Overall, a fantastic job by all the Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport crew, the car's handling was incredible all weekend just let down by electrical issues and championship fight over.
"Let’s go home to Brands and have some fun!"
Despite the ups and downs, Jake's victory in Race 1 showcased his racing prowess and strategic thinking, making it a memorable event for Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport. Jake now leaves Silverstone remaining 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship and looks to end the season on a high as the team returns for the season finale at Brands Hatch in two weeks' time (7 - 8 October).