Jack Goff sets the pace during opening practice at Thruxton

Jack Goff sets the pace during opening practice at Thruxton

Jack Goff

Eurotech Racing’s Jack Goff set the pace during the opening British Touring Car Championship free practice session at Thruxton.

Goff clocked a quickest time of 1:16.454, three tenths of a second adrift of Tom Ingram’s qualifying lap record from last season, and edged out Ciceley’s Adam Morgan by 0.100 seconds.

The rest of the top ten were split by just over half a second, with Matt Neal third ahead of 2016 Thruxton winner Andrew Jordan and the Subaru Levorg GT of Ashley Sutton.

BTC Norlin’s Chris Smiley was next, with Rob Collard, Matt Simpson, Dave Newsham and Colin Turkington rounding out the fastest ten runners.

It was Turkington who would bring the session to a halt at half-distance, clouting the kerb under braking for the chicane and pulling up a number of TV and audio cables. With the cabling strewn across the entire length of the chicane, officials were forced to halt proceedings to remove the hazard.

Though a number of drivers struggled under braking at the final chicane and cut the inside corner, the session passed otherwise without incident.

View from the PaddockDamian Meaden

I chose to base myself at the final chicane for this first practice session, a decision that served to highlight some potential plot points over the course of this weekend.

Scarcely a lap went past when the marshal tasked with judging track limits next to me didn’t radio through to the course officials with the phrase ‘A, B’ then the corresponding driver number.

In this case, ‘A’ refers to the inside left-hand corner at the final chicane whereas ‘B’ is the following outside right-hander as the cars accelerate down the main straight.

The marshal in question has been told to radio through if drivers touch either sets of prominent orange markers on each of these corners, unless they make a visible mistake. Given how often drivers were being pulled up during that first practice session, we could have some very frustrated drivers by tomorrow afternoon.

It was also interesting to see the variance in line through the final chicane. The quicker cars certainly took a healthy amount of kerb on entry, whilst others favoured the approach of avoiding them and applying tighter steering through the corner – in the case of Team.HARD’s Volkswagen CC, this certainly led to an amount of rear-end sliding.

The ambient and circuit temperatures were certainly starting to rise by the end of the session so, with Goff only three tenths off the qualifying lap record already, I’m inclined to believe predictions that Dunlop’s new tyre is set to provide us with the fastest lap times yet here at Thruxton.

Free practice two gets underway at 12:35.

Session results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 31 Jack GOFF Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 20 1:16.454 0.000
2 33 Adam MORGAN Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 21 1:16.554 0.100
3 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 16 1:16.588 0.134
4 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 125i M Sport 19 1:16.845 0.391
5 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 17 1:16.849 0.395
6 22 Chris SMILEY BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 19 1:17.144 0.690
7 5 M Rob COLLARD Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 19 1:17.147 0.693
8 303 M Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 18 1:17.155 0.701
9 17 David NEWSHAM BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 22 1:17.157 0.703
10 4 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 24 1:17.227 0.773
11 55 Jeff SMITH Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 21 1:17.252 0.798
12 24 Jake HILL TAG Racing Volkswagen CC 20 1:17.319 0.865
13 2 M Tom CHILTON Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 12 1:17.387 0.933
14 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 19 1:17.394 0.940
15 3 Mat JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 19 1:17.400 0.946
16 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 13 1:17.496 1.042
17 66 Josh COOK Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 15 1:17.617 1.163
18 11 Rob AUSTIN Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis 23 1:17.636 1.182
19 18 M Senna PROCTOR Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 18 1:17.677 1.223
20 12 Mike EPPS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC 24 1:17.721 1.267
21 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 20 1:17.781 1.327
22 23 M Daniel LLOYD MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 22 1:17.793 1.339
23 7 Stephen JELLEY Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 19 1:17.810 1.356
24 48 Ollie JACKSON AmDtuning.com with CobraExhausts Audi S3 19 1:17.812 1.358
25 300 Luke DAVENPORT Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 19 1:17.861 1.407
26 61 Will BURNS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC 24 1:17.986 1.532
27 99 M Jason PLATO Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 17 1:18.024 1.570
28 10 Ant WHORTON-EALES AmDtuning.com with CobraExhausts Audi S3 23 1:18.167 1.713
29 40 M Árón SMITH MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 20 1:18.599 2.145
30 30 Martin DEPPER Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 22 1:18.626 2.172
31 20 M James COLE Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 18 1:18.843 2.389
28 M Josh PRICE BMR Racing Academy Subaru Levorg GT 17 1:18.931 2.477

Complete session results.