Rob Austin says he is “massively fitter” for the resumption of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season at Snetterton, with the Audi driver “feeling very good” for the second half of the season.
Austin has embarked on a programme of physical fitness during the six-week summer pause, gaining significant muscle mass in the hope of making further gains up the grid. The 34-year-old has scored a best result of fifth so far in 2015 and currently lies 14th overall in the drivers’ standings. Despite his fitness gains he is not optimistic of claiming a first podium of the year at Snetterton.
“I’m no lighter but I am massively fitter,” said Austin. “According to little machine at Freestyle 360 who’ve been getting me in to shape I’ve gained six kilos of muscle. Physically I’m feeling very good.
“Looking ahead to Snetterton – we had some problems on the test day there which prevented Hunter [Abbott], who was doing the driving, from getting a run on new tyres. We had been hoping that test would also tell us if a few things we’ve done to the car will improve its pace in qualifying but again the problems we had prevented that so we’re going there with a few unknowns still.
“We don’t expect to be challenging for podiums at this one, but I’m hopeful we can be fighting for top ten results.”
Abbott has also had a busy few months since the previous round at Croft, and with his wife expecting a baby things are not likely to get any less busy.
“It’s been a hectic two months since we last raced at Croft,” explained Abbott. “I’ve raced the UK’s fastest road legal VW Campervan at Bug Jam, spent three weeks in China and Hong Kong on business and, in between all that, I’ve built a nursery. I keep trying to persuade Susie to push the baby out before Knockhill so I can still join the fun in Scotland!
“I like Snetterton – Rob and I had a great win there together in British GTs in 2008 – but last year in touring cars it was one of the worst circuits on the calendar for us.
“We’ve made a lot of changes which should improve the car for this type of circuit. I’m not sure how much we’ve improved compared to the others because of the problems at the test where we didn’t get more than ten laps at any meaningful speed. It’s going to be a case of wait and see…”