Top ten the target as AmDtuning.com heads for Thruxton
The AmDtuning.com team will hope for a return to form this weekend when it heads to Thruxton for the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The West Thurrock-based team enjoyed a solid start to the 2012 campaign at Brands Hatch with two points finishes, but then hit trouble at Donington Park a fortnight ago, where it was forced to withdraw from the weekend after the opening race due to an engine issue with its turbo-powered Volkswagen Golf.
After that disappointment, the team will now aim to bounce back in style at the quickest circuit on the BTCC calendar – a circuit where it enjoyed its best weekend of the season last year with two top ten finishes.
Attleborough-based driver Ollie Jackson has previous experience of driving the AmDtuning.com VW at the high-speed Hampshire circuit having taken part in a successful test at the venue back in February while preparing for his first full season in the BTCC.
With more time behind the wheel of the car since then, and with the issues that halted his weekend at Donington having now been resolved, Ollie heads to Thruxton in confident mood as he looks to take steps back up the championship standings.
"I'm really looking forward to Thruxton," he said. "The team is well prepared and we have sorted the problems we faced at Donington, so the car should be in perfect condition. I tested the car at Thruxton before the season started which will be beneficial for me, but the conditions are likely to be different when we return this weekend so we'll still have some work to do on set-up when we get into practice.
"It looks like it might be wet which means it will be a bit of learning curve for me, especially at a high-speed circuit like Thruxton, but my aim remains to break into the top ten and that is what I'm going for this weekend."
Team boss Shaun Hollamby revealed that work to remap the engine following Donington Park had led to the team uncovering a number of improvements that should help improve performance during the weekend ahead.
With the Golf having run well at Thruxton previously, and with Ollie's test seeing him close to the race pace displayed by former AmDtuning.com driver Tom Onslow-Cole during last season's meeting, Hollamby insisted that top tens are a realistic aim for the third meeting of the campaign.
"We spent two and half days testing the engine on the dyno after Donington Park to make sure that everything is working as it should do," he said. "The problem we had was the difference between a very worn old engine that had done a full season and a brand new engine. If we'd kept running the new one as it was, we risked damage that would have prevented us racing at Thruxton. Instead, we've got the engine sorted and found some improvements that set us well for this weekend.
"After the disappointment we suffered last time out, I expect to see us knocking on the door of the top ten this time around and I see no reason why that won't be the case. Thruxton was our best weekend of the season last year and with the changes we have made to the car since then, I'm feeling confident. Ollie set some encouraging times when we tested there before the season started, and if we can replicate the kind of pace we showed in the opening rounds at Brands Hatch, I think we'll be on for a good weekend."