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Dave Newsham: ‘We underachieved in 2013’

Dave Newsham headed into his third campaign in the British Touring Car Championship driving for his fourth different team and in an NGTC car for the first time.

Speaking to, the Inverness based racer reviews his season as a whole and looks ahead to the 2014 campaign, where he will drive an NGTC Ford Focus for

Newsham made his NGTC debut in 2013, driving the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis after two years in S2000 machinery – firstly a BMW 320si, then a SEAT Leon before winning two races in the Team ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra.

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“They are quite different,” Newsham explains on the differences of driving the S2000 cars and NGTC cars. “You are carrying more weight, you have to use the brakes a lot more and they feel a little less cumbersome than the S2000 car.

“The steering is different on an NGTC car; it doesn’t feel like it has the finesse of an S2000 car.

“Our car was set up quite differently to others; our car was quite a lot stiffer. The S2000 Vectra was quite soft and felt nice while the NGTC car tended to crash over things a lot more.

“It’s something we improved on the car over the year; it’s been gradual progression so it’s difficult to say what the differences are from the beginning of the year to the end.”

2013 saw the introduction of a new regulation which stipulates that all the NGTC cars had to run the Dunlop soft tyre for one of the three races, which had to be declared before the qualifying session.

“It’s a quicker tyre and as such, it goes off quicker,” adds Newsham.

“Unfortunately, we had a heck of a lot of DNF’s and they nearly always tended to be when we ran the soft tyre. We probably only finished about half of the soft tyre races which is a shame as I have a reasonably smooth driving style.”

Newsham also felt that the regulations for the running of the tyre could be improved as most of the teams’ tended to run it in the final race of the day, thus negating any potential advantage of running it.

“It wasn’t a bad idea to bring it in,” he continued. “I think it would be good if it could be changed, maybe to have it drawn out of a hat.”

Newsham also confirmed that the idea had been brought to the attention of Alan Gow, the BTCC series director: “I think it might have been mentioned but it’s not out in the new rules so it is staying as it is for next year. They need to do something with it though.”

The highlight of the season for Newsham came in qualifying at Silverstone, the penultimate round of the campaign. After a testing campaign to date, Newsham put the #17 Toyota on the second row of the grid for the opening race of the day.

“Silverstone [was a high point], qualifying third with quite low boost as well so I think it was a genuine P3. We’d just changed engineers at that point and the car came alive then.

“The downside was the race three gaff when I spun it as I was going past Colin [Turkington] and that put us on the back foot for the rest of the day.

“The main downside was Knockhill, that was just an awful weekend,” continues Newsham. “We broke the chassis in first practice which meant we sat out the second session and only just made it out for qualifying.

“We cobbled the car together and it was nowhere near ready and I qualifying quite a way down the grid. The rear chassis broke in the final race; I had a gearbox issue in the second race.

“It was my home race and I wanted to do well, I had a lot of visitors there and it ended up a complete disaster.”

The 46 year old also admits that he learnt a lot from racing with Colin Turkington in 2013: “I’ve learnt a lot from him, he doesn’t give one point away, he defends and fights for every single point and that’s something I can remember for next season.”

Newsham also sang the praises of three other drivers who impressed during the campaign: “Sam Tordoff in the MG was pretty much a match for Jason [Plato]. I know Sam from my time in Clio’s.

“Adam Morgan as well had a cracking season in a car similar to ours.”

Newsham admits that he feels that Speedworks underachieved during the 2013 campaign considering the package the team had.

“I would think that we underachieved really considering what we had,” Newsham added. “Some of that was down to the engineering of the car but we also had way too many issues and mechanical failures.

“Every time we had an issue with the car, the team remodified the part again to make sure it didn’t go again. We never had the same failure twice but we had a lot of failures.

“This will stand the team in great stead going into the new season, they’ve ironed out a lot of the problems but without a shadow of a doubt, we underachieved this year.”

Newsham’s place on the 2014 British Touring Car Championship grid has already been confirmed as he moves to the team for his fourth season in the Championship.

“For us, it’s all about getting the money together to do it and sponsors aren’t interested in talking to you until they know what you’re doing and what team you will be with.

“It’s nice to get the deal done early. It’s fantastic, we can get the sponsors enthused about it, get the money in place, get some testing in early next year and get me gelled with the team and the car.

“I’m massively excited about taking on AmD and the Focus. Shaun [Hollamby] is a fantastic guy, we spoke every year about getting together and this year is the right time. We’ve got the right car, the right personnel – some of which I’ve worked with before – and I’m massively pleased about the deal we’ve put together.

“We can go to the Autosport Show with my name on the car, my sponsor’s logos on the car.”

Speaking about the possibility of winning the title with the AmD Focus, Newsham added: “It’s not impossible but a long long shot.

“Obviously, AmD are supported by Motorbase and Motorbase are a team capable of winning the Championship.

“We want to be up there mixing it with the works guys, that’s for sure.”

Newsham feels that with new regulations for the Jack Sears Trophy the eventual winner will luck into winning it.

“The winner of it will have lucked into it really,” admits Newsham. “I think to win that you will either have to qualify poorly and race well from the back and I don’t want to be doing that.

“I want to be qualifying well and fighting the works cars up at the front, so we hopefully shouldn’t be in with a shout of winning the Jack Sears Trophy, that’s for sure.

“It’ll give somebody in the middle of the grid a chance of winning a trophy as positions are easier to make up at the back than at the front.

“It’s one of those trophies that is a bit of nonsense really, it’s not something which any of us can plan on winning really. It would have been great if they had chosen a different way of doing it and give us something to aim for but as it is, it isn’t something anyone can aim for.”

“They’ve got the right thing there by giving it to an Independent driver,” admits Newsham. “Maybe the most Independent wins, podiums, Pole Positions, something like that maybe?”

Newsham and the AmD Tuning Ford Focus will be at the Autosport Show, up at the NEC in Birmingham over the 9th – 12th January while the official BTCC Media Day takes place at Donington Park on March 18th, with the opening rounds of the 2014 campaign taking place on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit over the 29th/30th March 2014.

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