Mighty Moffat storms to second at soggy Silverstone
In torrential rain, Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat produced a tremendous drive to bag second place in Race 3 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone, on Sunday September 29
It marked Aiden’s first podium finish since his win at Silverstone last year and the best-ever race result for the newly-introduced Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50.
Earlier in the weekend Aiden continued his development of the Infiniti during the two free practice sessions, working closely with engineer Federico Turrata to find extra pace in the car and work on its set-up. The short, 1.6-mile Silverstone National Circuit needs a car that has good aero on the fast Wellington Straight and good handling through the four corners on the lap. Aiden worked hard to find the perfect set-up during free practice, and come qualifying continued to work on the balance of the car. He ended the session 19th, but in terms of a lap time, just four-tenths of a second away from pole position.
Aiden started the opening race of the weekend on the option tyre, Dunlop’s softer compound, and he was on his toes from the start of the race to try to gain places. The race started on a damp but drying circuit leaving his rear-wheel drive Infiniti at a disadvantage on the slippery track, but he battled up to 18th spot before contact with Bobby Thompson’s Volkswagen CC. The clash delayed him and dropped him back into 19th place at flagfall.
“The car took a long time to work the heat into the tyres,” explained Aiden post-race. “I had no grip, really, for the first few laps and I was sliding around, and I’ve never raced a rear-wheel drive car in the wet, but once the tyres switched on and offered traction, the car was a lot better. Suddenly, the pace was there but then I got hit by Thompson and that affected the steering and damaged a wheel.”
Aiden’s second race suffered with dramas even before the off, as the car ground to a halt on the formation lap with a broken prop-shaft. The car was quickly pushed off the track and returned to the pit lane where the Laser Tools Racing mechanics set to work to repair the car and use the remaining laps as a test session. Aiden did return to the circuit and worked on the car to ensure it was competitive for the third race.
The final race was a lottery thanks to the weather. Sunshine and rain. The track was damp with drizzle in the air as the cars came to the grid but the majority of the grid was on slick tyres. An early incident necessitated the deployment of the safety car and as the pack slowed, Aiden heard, “Box!” through his intercom, the instruction from engineer Federico Turrata to pit for wet tyres. Aiden dived for the pits, dropping down the order as he did so but as he returned to the track it proved to be a brief drop on the lap chart. One lap later, with rain increasing, more of the field headed for the pits which moved Aiden up the order.
Aiden was 15th on the restart but soon found his extra traction coming into play; ahead of him all cars bar one were on slick tyres and it wasn’t long before he moved through the pack and raced alongside Jack Goff whose Volkswagen CC was also on wets. Now at the front of the pack, Aiden was briefly ahead before Goff fought back. However they also had to contend with Ash Sutton whose Subaru was also on wets but was a lap down. There was a brush between Aiden and the Subaru, which didn’t help Aiden’s race and cost him time against Goff. In his efforts to catch up again, Aiden pushed harder than ever through the fast right-hander of Copse Corner and the car ran wide onto the slippery, painted kerb and spun like a top. In a move like a well-rehearsed stunt from The Fast and the Furious, Aiden did a 360 degree spin in front of the pack, but quickly dropped it into first gear and accelerated away to quickly regain his second place.
Aiden commented: “After the spin, I asked the team how far ahead of third place I was and the answer as 20 seconds. After that, I backed it off and settled for second place rather than risk another moment. In a way I am a bit frustrated because I could have won that race but for the spin, but I am delighted that we have had a second place.
“It reflects the hard work done by the team and how far that we have come since July and the debut of the car. To score a podium is beyond our expectations, especially to do it in those conditions. It’s an amazing feeling, and I’d like another podium before the end of the season.”
Aiden’s second place is his best finish of the season and marks the best-ever result for the Laser Tools Infiniti Q50, an outstanding achievement for the tight-knit team that has only operated the car for three months.
The final rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are at Brands Hatch, Kent, on October 12/13 with all the raceday action shown live on ITV4.