The Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing team has targeted points at Donington Park this weekend, as it prepares for its second event as a British Touring Car Championship outfit.
The team faced a setback before their debut in the series at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago, after it was forced to withdraw its second Infiniti Q50 from the weekend.
But despite a concerning start to its BTCC activities, the rookie team made gradual progress and ended the weekend with a pair of top 20 finishes to its name, as Derek Palmer Jr claimed 20th in race two and 19th in race three.
And after the disappointment of being a car down for the opening round of the season, the team will be further boosted this weekend with Richard Hawken set to make his debut in the second Q50.
Palmer was pleased with the running that he and the team had achieved at Brands Hatch, but insisted that his ambitions were set much higher ahead of the visit to the Leicestershire circuit.
“With such limited testing going into the start of the season, we wanted to learn more about our car and the package we have produced,” he said. “We achieved this and also had great reliability with only a small power steering issue in race one.
“I think looking to Donington we want to see another big step forward with the car and ultimately move further up the grid.
“That [points] has to be the goal really. Of course it’s going to be tough, but we showed at Brands that the team is capable of delivering improvements throughout a race weekend.
“If we continue doing that, and we get the rub of the green, then yes, points are a possibility.”
Hawken, meanwhile, insisted that he had prepared rigorously for his debut in the championship, but much like his team-mate a fortnight earlier, had his sights set on learning about his car before moving forward.
“The BTCC is a tough championship to both get in to, and compete in, so over the winter I undertook a very serious fitness campaign with the help of a personal trainer that has prepared me physically,” he said. “I think no matter what you do, nothing can prepare you enough though.
“Essentially, Free Practice 1 will be getting used to the feel of the car, as well as collecting critical data for the engineers to work with. FP2 is where I aim to start nibbling time out of the lap as we prepare for qualifying in the afternoon.
“Ultimately I am a racer, so I want to do as well as I can. However, being a debutant and not having had the experience from the first race weekend, or testing for that matter, I am looking to finish all three races well, hopefully without drama.
“If I can break into the top 20 I will pat myself on the back and consider than an achievement for my first weekend.”