Paul O’Neill believes that he – and his Chevrolet Cruze – have the potential to challenge for a win at Thruxton this weekend. The GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed driver is still wary of the threat posed by the turbo cars – O’Neill himself is racing a normally-aspirated car.
Currently eighth overall in the championship, O’Neill has enjoyed a strong start to the season. Last year at Thruxton the Widnes racer managed his first podium of the season and he is hoping for at least more of the same this year. He has already taken one podium in the current campaign, although Donington Park last time out delivered just six points.
“Donington was a tough weekend, but it’s forgotten now and I’m looking forward to Thruxton,” said O’Neill, 31. “Despite the change in boost, the turbo cars will still be quick over a single lap in qualifying and we have to aim to get into the top six on the grid and go from there.
“At the minimum, we have to target a podium finish on race day and a win could possibly be on the cards; Thruxton is our best chance yet.”
O’Neill also pointed to tyre wear as a key factor at Thruxton – although the NGTC drivers are seeminlgy faster in a straight line their engines weigh more – which could prove critical when it comes to preserving tyres over the duration of a race.
“Thruxton is mainly one long corner so there is going to be a lot of pressure on the front left tyre and it could cause problems for the turbo cars when they are on the power,” added O’Neill. “I’ll be happy to pick them off and work my way to the front.”
Meanwhile John George, in the sister GoMobile car also believes that stronger results could come for him at Thruxton. Last season the Cornish businessman took his only points finish at the Hampshire venue – and he has only been in the points six times in his entire career.
“The turbo cars have been turned down a bit and Thruxton is a circuit that should suit our car,” he said. “Donington was a difficult weekend for us, but I’ve always gone well at Thruxton and it’s the closest thing I have to a home circuit, so I’m looking forward to it.
“The circuit may be high speed, but it’s not a high torque track like Donington, which is where the turbo cars had a big advantage. We need to see what impact the turbo change has, but I’m confident we’ll be stronger this weekend.”
Team boss Marvin Humphires remained cautiously optimistic about the team’s chances at the weekend.
“Paul and John have both gone well at Thruxton in the past and we’re looking forward to the weekend,” he added. “As ever, we go into the weekend aiming to do the best job possible and we are optimistic about our chances.
“We need to see what impact the change in boost has on the turbo cars but Thruxton is a circuit that should suit the Chevrolet. However, we have to wait and see what happens when we hit the track for first practice.”