Rob Austin says that he is aiming for a podium finish in all ten events of the 2014 British Touring Car Championship season, with the Exocet Racing driver aiming for similar form to the start of 2013.
Austin started the 2013 season with strong form, taking a podium finish in the first race of the year, before suffering a sizeable shunt in the final race of the day. The Pershore squad are hoping to emulate that podium form in 2014, except across all ten race meetings.
“OK, Brands Hatch is where it all starts again and if we can show the same sort of form there as we did last March – this time across all three races – then that’d be the perfect start,” said Austin. “But I want more than that – much more. I want us to be pushing for podiums at all ten race events and I genuinely believe that is realistic.
“Everyone in the team is asking more of themselves and the car. I know they will all deliver – the rest is up to me and I’m hungrier than at any time in my career to win. There’s an added pressure to perform for all the fans who’ve so kindly invested in the Rob Austin Racing Owners Club scheme – I’ll be wearing all their pictures on my roof with great pride.”
Austin added that the team’s times at the pre-season media day, which he ended in 21st, were not representative due to the tyres the team opted to use.
“We saw a few others throwing soft compound tyres at it to get their times down – something we don’t have the budget for on a test day,” explained Austin. “All I can say is that certainly on medium compound tyres and on what has been one of our weaker circuits in the past I am confident we will have very strong race pace when we return to Silverstone for the race event in September.”
This weekend will also mark the BTCC début of the team’s new signing Hunter Abbott, who will compete under the AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing banner. Abbott is looking forward to returning to the Brands Hatch Indy layout after a number of years away from the circuit.
“This time last year I was shouting at the TV watching Rob get an awesome start and leading the first race of the season,” said Abbott. “Being on the grid myself this year is a great feeling and I’m really happy to be back at Rob Austin Racing.
“I’m looking forward to my first experience of Touring Car racing and being back at Brands after a couple of years away! For me Brands is all about gaining experience in the car and on a BTCC grid, building on the couple of days testing I’ve done so far and converting from GT to BTCC driving styles.”
Abbott will be looking to get back behind the wheel at full fitness after suffering with a cold whilst at the wheel of his Audi (nicknamed ‘Panzer’) last week.