In recent weeks, the Power Maxed TAG Racing Astras have enjoyed massive success both on and off the racing circuit...
Power Maxed TAG Racing delivers the goods at Donington and Thruxton.
We started the year in style thanks to Senna Proctor’s unprecedented victory at Brands Hatch. For those of you who missed the occasion, the northern wonder took the chequered flag in sensational style after starting from twenty-seventh on the grid, piloting his Astra K like a man possessed.
The team was understandably on a high as the second round of the season drew near, an event held – as tradition dictates – at Donington Park. The Derbyshire-based racing venue was subjected to a comprehensive overhaul following successful takeover by MotorSport Vision (MSV). The changes implemented have vastly improved the site and its facilities, meaning even the cold and rain didn’t deter thousands of BTCC fans (including
Performance Vauxhall designer, Julian) eager to see Senna do battle with those looking to score a huge haul of points.
Thankfully, it was to be another weekend of firsts for Power Maxed Racing, but this time around, it was the turn of our other driver, Josh Cook, to take top honours. Both Astra pilots consistently placed in the top three during free practice, a session used to test the setup of each car and one which ensures their tyres are scrubbed-in and ready to race. Tyre scrubbing is vital; each car has a haul of twenty-four black circles at its disposal during race weekends, and as we all know, fresh rubber is notoriously slippy. With this in mind, drivers will run through their allocation of tyres during free practice, ensuring at each set is subjected to at least one heat cycle, which effectively rubs away the glossy outer layer.
The Saturday morning’s forty-five minute qualifying session saw Josh take his (and the team’s) first pole position on the undulating twists and turns of Donington’s shorter National circuit. Obviously, we were ecstatic, but the best was yet to come...
Sunday morning dawned drier than the previous twenty-four hours, but it was still cold. Our engineers monitor track temperatures closely, not least of all because a shift of just one degree can affect tyre temperature and fluctuations in pressure, causing huge changes in the way rubber behaves during a race. You wouldn’t notice much difference on a typical road car, but with tyre pressures on our Astras
measured to within a tenth of a psi, we can’t afford to be complacent, especially when we’re about to start racing from the front of the grid!
“Lights to flag” is a term used in motorsport to describe a driver leading a race from start to finish. It’s a seldom seen occurrence, and is understandably respected by motorsport professionals and racing fans alike. To achieve this feat whilst simultaneously bagging your firstever win in the BTCC (one of the closest-fought and most competitive championships in the world) is something few can lay claim to. We’re delighted to report that in yet another landmark victory, our Bath-based ginger ninja, Josh, can do exactly that. He achieved victory in spectacular style, taking the win more than two seconds ahead of the pack. You might not think that’s a long period of time, but consider the fact that the packed grid of thirty-two cars is separated by less than a second at many of the circuits visited throughout the season.
Unfortunately, an incident beyond our control saw Senna start the second race of the day from the back of the grid. Worse still, he had to retire from the third race as a consequence of damage sustained to his Astra. It was down to Josh to keep us in the points. No pressure, then?!
A third place finish did the trick. Two podiums in one day was a great achievement for both driver and team, giving us the points we needed to leave Donington leading the Teams and Manufacturers standings. A very big deal indeed.
Round three of this year’s championship saw teams descend upon Thruxton, which proudly claims to be home to the fastest race track in the UK. The Hampshire circuit has played host to some of the greatest thrills and spills in the BTCC’s sixtyyear history, although we were hoping to avoid the latter after our arrival! The circuit surface is known to be rough and notoriously harsh on tyres. Couple this with weather expected to deliver the hottest weekend of the year, and you can see why Team Manager, Martin Broadhurst, was beavering away in an effort to determine the best tyre pressures for the expected driving conditions. Put it this way, Thruxton’s reputation for being rough on tyres means it’s the only circuit BTCC partner, Dunlop, will allow a single slick compound to be used. Unless rain falls, all cars will run on the hardest compound all
weekend! Thankfully, good weather held, and it was another round of firsts for Power Maxed TAG Racing (at this rate, we’re going to run out of things we can do for the first time!) due to both Senna and Josh take podium finishes during the same weekend of racing.
Josh had a fantastic second race, which saw him almost half a second up on any other driver. He scythed his way through the pack, setting yet another fastest lap as he did so. He took the victory comfortably, adding another huge trophy to his everexpanding cabinet of silverware. Senna drove equally as impressively, never dropping below seventh place from the start of free practice through to his seriously pleasing finish of third place at the close of the weekend’s final race. We’ve had to buy a new trophy cabinet. No, really, we have. I’m not kidding!
Where does all this glory position us in the championship? At the time of writing, we’re still in first place, with an enviable lead in both the Teams and Manufacturer standings. Josh is just one point adrift of the top spot in the battle for the Drivers title.
If you’re planning to view the team in action at any of this season’s remaining rounds, be sure to check out Optimus, the Power Maxed shop trailer, which accompanies us wherever we happen to be racing. The giant truck is stocked full of our latest range of care car products, Power Maxed TAG Racing official merchandise and, most importantly, our brand new racing simulator. It’s the very same equipment used by Josh and Senna to hone their driving skills, and we’re offering impressive prizes to the fastest event attendees to have a go at beating the pros.
In other news, we’ve just enjoyed the inaugural Power Maxed Coventry Motofest, where Senna performed full-race speed runs in front of more than 100,000 spectators lining the city’s ring road, which was closed for the duration of the event in order to allow hundreds of extraordinary street and race cars strut their stuff at rapid pace around what would ordinarily be the preferred local route to Ikea! Missed out? Don’t fret. There’s always next year...
This track ain’t big enough for the both of us
Josh celebrates his first BTCC win, a hard-earned victory
At the time of writing, PMR is leading both the Manufacturers and Teams standings
Strong performances from both drivers
Senna proving the Astra K really is a race car for the road!