BTCC Thruxton — June 3-4
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport was at the superfast Thruxton circuit over the weekend to contest round four of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign. Boasting the highest average speed of any circuit visited by the BTCC, Thruxton is a real test as the drivers control their cars on a knife-edge throughout the Hampshire circuit.
On Saturday’s very fast qualifying session (the top ten drivers were achieving average speeds of around 112mph around the 2.36-mile circuit), the five fastest drivers broke the 1 minute 15 second barrier with LTR driver Jake Hill finishing in a creditable P5 with a lap time of 1:15.928, just .439 seconds behind the P1 qualifier, Ashley Sutton.
Jake blasted his BMW past CarStore Power Maxed Racing’s Mikey Doble off the line and briefly ran side-by-side with acknowledged Thruxton expert Josh Cook on the opening lap, before he settled into fourth position. Crossing the finishing line 16 laps later, Jake took fourth place to collect more championship points and a second-row starting position for race two.
With Jake starting on the second row, we saw an almost carbon-copy getaway as the opening bout saw Jake and Cook go side-by-side going into the Complex for the first time, with Ingram’s car also getting slightly tagged in the tussle.
When the dust settled it was the same five drivers at the top of the order with the gaps between them remaining relatively stable until the finish, with Jake’s second P4 of the day.
With the reverse-grid system for the final race of the day Jake started on P9 with WSR driver Adam Morgan on pole position. Another great launch off the line saw Jake embroiled in a battle with several drivers but kept himself out of any drama to maintain his position.
As Jake pressured Dan Cammish for eighth place, he looked to capitalise on an error from Cammish coming out of the complex, but as he went around the outside at Noble, Cammish shut the door and Jake was forced onto the grass. This lost momentum meant Jake dropping down to 10th place, from where he took the chequered flag to round out a positive day's racing at Thruxton.
Jake commented after the race: "It was a successful weekend at Thruxton when we look at the results, but ultimately I found it pretty tough behind the wheel and want to be back battling at the front! We struggled with balance and had to work through some changes across the practice sessions as we searched for the optimal setup of our BMW 330e M Sport and I owe a lot of thanks to the guys and girls at WSR for that.
"Qualifying, the car felt much better and we were able to grab a P5 to put us in the mix for race day. Races one and two were mirror images of each other with two P4s, and we rounded the day off with a P10 and leave Thruxton with some good points in the bag. Big thanks to the team as always and we'll be working harder than ever to get back to the front in a couple of weeks' time at Oulton Park."
Jake departs Thruxton 4th in the Drivers' Championship with 130 points as the championship heads to Oulton Park for round five of the 2023 season on June 17 - 18.