AmD Tuning’s Mike Bushell says his Brands Hatch début for the team was a “superb weekend” after he left the Kent circuit as the early leader of the British Touring Car Championship’s Jack Sears’ Trophy for the best rookie.
Bushell, who admitted that he wasn’t totally at one with the handling of his Ford Focus, finished 21st in the opening race on Sunday before improving to 17th using the soft tyre in race two and then taking his first-ever BTCC points with 11th in the final race of the day.
As a result, Bushell takes a 14-point lead into the second round of the season at Donington Park in two weeks’ time.
“Race three was a superb way to end the weekend,” said Bushell. “We’d struggled a bit with the balance of the car earlier on but we made improvements throughout the day and it was certainly at its best in race three. We tried a lot to try and solve the problems we were having and it made a real difference.
“I also feel that I drove my best race in race three, and I think I improved as the weekend went on and I gained more experience of the car in a racing environment. I didn’t actually realise that there was a trophy on offer for scoring the most rookie points across the weekend so to then be called onto the podium after race three was fantastic.
“It was brilliant to come away from my first weekend as a full-time touring car driver with a trophy, and a great reward for the team.”
Team boss Shaun Hollamby praised Bushell, who was only competing in his second-ever BTCC event having made his début in 2013, for obtaining three race finishes and continuing the team’s strong form in the ever-changing Jack Sears’ Trophy.
“I’m really pleased,” said Hollamby. “We did struggle a bit at times with the balance of the car but with the improvements we made, Mike did a good job – as he did all weekend.
“It’s a big learning curve for a driver coming into the BTCC but he acclimatised well and kept his nose clean. He brought the car home in every race and battled with Jason Plato in the final race, so I think we have a good base to work with.
“It’s also pleasing to end the weekend with some silverware and it continues something of a love affair for us with the Jack Sears Trophy. Since it was introduced, everyone who has driven our car has won at least once and hopefully this weekend will be the first of many victories this year!”