JAMES “Subaru will face a hard time at Thruxton”
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