BTCC UP­DATE

In re­cent weeks, the Power Maxed TAG Rac­ing As­tras have en­joyed mas­sive suc­cess both on and off the rac­ing cir­cuit...

Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS -

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...

WORDS Si McNally PHO­TOS Peter Aldridge

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!

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