BTCC Silverstone — September 24-25
The penultimate round of this year’s Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship took place at our local Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire. Running on the 1.64-mile national circuit, Silverstone is always all-action, and given its place as the ninth of ten rounds, things are always ultra-competitive as championships can be won and lost here.
Cooler weather this time, which gave the tyre technicians a lot to think about this weekend. So the two free-practice sessions on Saturday were very stop-start affairs as the teams tried to get temperature in the tyres and then to get the relevant data from the set-ups.
Once again, another hybrid failure on the cars and this time, yet again, it was Aiden’s. The British Touring Car Championship is a very tough competitive series, but when you have no hybrid in the all-important qualifying session, you are simply not competitive. So it proved to be for Aiden. There is no doubt that hybrid technology is a good thing in this current climate but only if it works. These units are immensely expensive to install and we have a fair expectation of them working properly. Doesn’t seem to be the case though. Final qualifying positions were Dexter in 22nd place on the grid for tomorrow and Aiden in 24th.
Off the line it was a decent start for both Dexter and Aiden, but as we were right in the middle of a congested pack into the first corner, progress was tough. With both drivers doing a great job Aiden was on the move and up to 20th when on lap 8, a squabble involving Jade Edwards and Michael Crees got out of hand and Jade Edwards hit an innocent Aiden spinning him off the track.
Then on the next lap, Dexter was also innocently hit and although he tried to continue, the major right-hand-front suspension damage forced him to retire on lap 17. Aiden also continued, but again the damage inflicted in his earlier spin slowed him down and as things deteriorated, he was forced to retire on lap 22.
Starting from 25th and 26th on the grid was disappointing for both drivers and team, and everyone was hoping for an incident-free race. Not to be however, as Dexter was hit heavily again and had to retire from being buried very deeply in the gravel.
With just Aiden left running it was great to see him steadily climbing up through the field to 18th position when a second safety car was required after Ricky Collard’s Toyota caught fire. Ricky thankfully escaped with nothing worse than some smoke inhalation.
With the race continuing after the safety car, Aiden was again one of the quickest cars on track ending up in 16th place having made up nine places in a typically fighting performance.
I think it’s safe to say that we were glad to see the back of Silverstone on Sunday evening. On the way to the grid for Race 3, Aiden suffered a driveshaft securing bolt failure on the formation lap, which delayed the start of the race and meant he never even made the start line.
However, Dexter had an excellent race from his 29th place start. Avoiding the issues going on around him he was continually making up places throughout the race with another very mature drive making up 12 places from his starting position. At race finish, Dexter was able to match his race number to his position with well-deserved 17th.
So, it is back to Brands Hatch in two weeks for the season finale and a chance to not only look back at this first BTCC with hybrid power and the lessons learned, but also to look forward to 2023.