BTCC Thruxton (2) — August 27-28
Hot and sunny at Thruxton Circuit for our second visit of the season. This is the only circuit where there is an exclusive tyre that isn’t run on any other race venue. This is due to Thruxton’s high speed, subsequent constant loading on the tyre all around the circuit and the very abrasive track surface. Because of this it is crucial to manage the tyres that you are using throughout the weekend. On the Saturday for the first practice session we therefore decided to run on previously-used tyres to check on the notoriously patchy reliability of the engine and hybrid package we have been given, rather than chase ultimate speed.
As a result of this we ended the session with Dexter in 17th and Aiden in 20th, with a slight scare for Dexter as he had an off at Church Corner towards the end of the session. This is not a great place to go off as you are doing around 130 mph, but fortunately there is plenty of run-off and Dexter was able to bring the car home.
For the second practice session, the boys were deliberately driving many laps, with Aiden doing 20 and Dexter doing 22. Everything seemed to be working quite well and it was good to get so many laps under their belts. Then, five minutes to go, Aiden was hit from behind by Nic Hamilton and was spun about, ruining a good lap. Quite a lot of damage to Aiden’s Infiniti and the team did well to get the car repaired in time for the all-important qualifying session in the afternoon.
Aiden was noticing that he was having trouble stopping the car locking up under heavy breaking and he thought this was costing him a couple of tenths of a second per lap. On the final run, the same braking issue re-occurred, and again Aiden had a lock up. At the flag it was Aiden in 18th and Dexter in 22nd. A mere 0.4 of a second quicker and Aiden would have been 6th!
On the grid it was Aiden in 18th and Dexter in 22nd and both cars got clean getaways and were lucky to avoid the worst of the side-swiping and bumping around them. The result of this was that after two laps, Aiden was up to 16th and Dexter was maintaining 22nd. Dexter was then caught up in a battle between the two Team Hard Cars with the result that he was hit hard in the passenger sill and door area and lost a place.
As the race went on, Aiden was involved in an intense battle with Dan Lloyd in the Hyundai that became more hard-fought into the closing stages. At the flag it was Aiden who kept 16th place — excellent driving from Aiden given that our M-Sport engine is slightly down on power again. Dexter was also battling with those around him and on lap 12 of 16 was able to pull two places back before ending in 21st, so he will start Race 2 one place higher than Race 1.
Long delay before the start of Race 2 due to a terrible crash in the Ginetta’s race, which left a lengthy delay as both drivers needed difficult extractions from their vehicles and subsequent hospital treatment. For Aiden the race was a processional affair as he made a place up to 15th on the first lap and then had it taken away from him on the last lap to finish where he started in 16th.
Dexter on the other hand got a good start and was minding his own business on lap 4 coming out of the chicane when he was tagged by a Toyota and the resulting damage forced him to retire.
Aiden made a blistering start and was up to 14th on lap 1. Dexter started at the back due to his retirement from Race 2 and was fighting hard which brought him up to P22 quite quickly.
Aiden had noticed some smoke coming into his cabin on the start grid and was worried that (yet again) the hybrid system was overheating and malfunctioning. The system was checked remotely and the hybrid system was functioning correctly, so something to watch during the race. However, after just seven laps there was definitely smoke coming into the cabin and Aiden had to pit as his eyes were stinging. The smoke was from an exhaust fault and Aiden could not continue the race as his eyes were so painful. The circuit doctor attended, Aiden’s eyes were bathed and he was perfectly OK, but another race ruined through component failure.
Dexter had a consistent race finally finishing in a creditable P19.
Laser Tools Racing’s Chloe Grant (GB4 Championship) joined Aiden and Dexter in the Q&A session in the afternoon and was welcomed by everyone.
So as the season progresses, we move on to Silverstone in 4 weeks’ time for the penultimate round of 2022.