Motorbase Performance completed their extensive pre-season preparations for the forthcoming British Touring Car Championship season yesterday, finishing off at Oulton Park on Tuesday.
The Kent-based team have been involved in comprehensive testing programmes during the off-season, taking to the circuit for three days at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal, followed by additional UK running at Brands Hatch, Donington Park and latterly Oulton Park.
Testing for the team focussed predominantly on the new tyre compound introduced by Dunlop for the coming season, although it also allowed new signings Luke Davenport and Martin Depper to get acclimatised to the Ford Focus NGTC car.
“The way that we’ve approached this testing programme this year has probably been the best for us whilst competing in the BTCC,” explained Team Manager Oly Collins. “It’s been great having the benefit of all three cars running and we’ve averaged over 1,500 km in each car, which collectively is around the same as a full season in the BTCC. The reliability of the cars throughout has been great as usual thanks to the guys in the team.
“The guys have yet again done an outstanding job of building the third car. It often gets overlooked as the Motorbase cars are so reliable, but it’s a real testament to the level of talent within the team and their meticulous work ethic that they always turn out a cracking car.
“A lot of work and development has gone into the cooling system this winter. We’ve been working very closely with Mountune and Pro Alloy, making improvements and trying to find any edge at all over the competition. We finished last year with a pretty good car at every circuit and everything we learnt has some relevance going into this year, but it’s all about tuning this into the new tyre. We’ve also got the hard compound tyre which is going to be used more frequently this year.”
Mat Jackson is the team’s most experienced driver, with the 35-year-old entering his 12th season in the BTCC and his seventh season with Motorbase.
“We’ve had a great warm-up to the season starting and everyone is upbeat heading into the first round at Brands Hatch,” said Jackson. “Having such an extensive programme in place has helped us to try some new things on the Focus and also given us that all-important bit of extra track time to get our heads around the new tyre.
“We know that we have a strong package and hopefully the changes that we’ve made this winter should hold us in good stead going into the new season.”