MATT AMES

JAMES “Subaru will face a hard time at Thrux­ton”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Com­ing up next on the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship ros­ter is Thrux­ton in 10 days’ time. It is one of those cir­cuits that fans, vol­un­teers and driv­ers all look for­ward to. It is su­per-quick and su­per chal­leng­ing: just what a mo­tor racing cir­cuit should be.

One of the teams that won’t be look­ing for­ward too much to the visit is the Team BMR Subaru squad. Its Levorg is very new – com­pleted on the eve of the open­ing rounds at Brands Hatch – and it has done very lit­tle test­ing so far.

But one of the no­tice­able things about the car so far is that the chas­sis is strong – look at Colin Turk­ing­ton’s qual­i­fy­ing pace at Don­ing­ton Park in the mixed con­di­tions. His sixth row start is a sign that the chas­sis is pretty good. The four-strong Subaru crew – which in­cludes Ja­son Plato, James Cole and War­ren Scott on the driv­ing strength along­side Turk­ing­ton – has a de­cent car un­der­neath it. But the speed traps are what lets the es­tate-shaped car down at the mo­ment.

There aren’t any real straights at Brands and, over the two speed traps (at the start-fin­ish line and then an­other on the Cooper Straight). The av­er­age deficit there was al­most 4mph slower than the pace­set­ters. At Don­ing­ton Park, it was al­most 5mph. Those fig­ures are likely to be ex­ag­ger­ated at Thrux­ton, the fastest cir­cuit on the cal­en­dar. If it is go­ing to hurt, it is likely to hurt badly there.

There are sys­tems put in place in the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship to make sure that the cars are lev­elled up on power, but these are only part of any so­lu­tion. If the en­gine has prob­lems that the team or tuner Moun­tune has yet to solve, then the BTCC tech­ni­cal boffins aren’t likely to just hand out ex­tra boost to push the car up the grid.

The engines had to be brought in from Ja­pan, be­cause the units are not on sale in the UK. That meant de­liv­ery took time and, in the rush to get the cars ready, that was just an­other de­lay in the full pres­sure process.

There is still work to be done on the pow­er­plant, and it does need some more time on the dyno be­fore it will be any­where near ready to reach its full ca­pac­ity. There are other tweaks that the team will want to im­ple­ment when they are per­mit­ted to – but there will be much tech­ni­cal wran­gling be­fore that will get the green light. There is a way to go but, don’t for­get, this is a three-year pro­gramme.

There were al­ways go­ing to be teething trou­bles and it seems that the en­gine is the stum­bling block right now. Go­ing to Thrux­ton, it is go­ing to be more painful than at most places.

There will be tough times ahead for Team BMR

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