British Touring Car Championship title sponsor and tyre provider Dunlop has provided three standout performers from the UK’s extensive club racing scene with a testing opportunity behind the wheel of a Motorbase Performance-prepared Ford Focus ST.
BRSCC Ford Fiesta Champion Jamie White, MINI JCW Class Vice-Champion Reece Barr and MINI Cooper Pro Class Champion Matthew Hammond all descended on the 2.99 mile Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk for Dunlop’s Prize Drive Day under the supervision of Motorbase driver Rory Butcher.
The test has a proven track record in developing the latest domestic talents in the sport, with Ant-Whorton Eales, Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell and the 2017 BTCC winner, Ashley Sutton, all attending the event since it’s inception in 2012.
White, Barr and Hammond all enjoyed a stint behind the wheel of the race-winning machinery.
“It is a mega car to drive,” admitted Hammond.
“I didn’t think about the test all year as I was focused on the MINI Championship, but since knowing I’ve won the prize drive I’ve been buzzing. The MINI Challenge and Dunlop provide this route through the classes to a BTCC test. I can’t think of a better way to finish the season”
“The grip level was just amazing,” agreed Barr.
“Once the tyres were up to temperature the performance was so consistent. Going straight to the MINI JCW class was one of the best decisions I made as the sequential gearbox, power and the racecraft needed has helped me today”
The trio were unanimous in their praise of the car’s performance, whilst White admitted the test had spurred him on to strive to an even higher level in the future.
“The Focus is a phenomenal car to drive, so responsive with great feedback. It’s been such a good experience. In saloon car racing the Dunlop BTCC is the pinnacle and the prize makes you want to race harder to win the test opportunity!” he said.
Dunlop’s Motorsport Communications Director James Bailey praised the performance of all three drivers and commended Motorbase for their assistance in running the programme.
“All three drivers performed strongly. They raced hard all year to earn and win this opportunity, and in doing so have proven that the MINI Challenge and Fiesta Championship are important and credible steps on the ladder to the Dunlop BTCC.
“Motorbase Performance did a fabulous job giving our three Dunlop Champions a thorough and realistic BTCC race run experience that will help all three in the next step in their careers.”