WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Brett Smith was satisfied with tenth position given that a recurring fly-by-wire issue hampered his qualifying for the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone.
Smith was aiming for a top six start for race one but had an interrupted qualifying session as his Honda Civic Type R repeatedly cut out throughout the half-hour session.
He told TouringCars.Net that the car went into a fail-safe mode as a result of a fly-by-wire issue, which caused him to stop on track and prompted a red flag with five minutes of the session remaining.
“Obviously every car went to fly-by-wire a few years ago,” Smith explained. “So a fail safe on that is that once you go past the 100% position – absolutely flat out – the fail safe is to cut out.
“Basically a bolt has fatigued, and I’m not sure what’s caused that because unless I can produce about a tonne of pressure the bolt has just failed! But it was checked last night and it was absolutely fine.
“We’re a little bit perplexed as to what has caused that. We’ve obviously replaced that bolt now.”
Although he was happy with the damage limitation of starting P10, he admitted that it did hinder his efforts in qualifying.
“I was actually up three quarters – I think a tenth up on the lap it first happened. And that was the exit of Luffield, so last corner on flat chat and just had to get myself to the line.
“Second time it happened I was three quarters of a tenth up through the exit of turn one, about to brake into turn two and it’s happened again.
“The only way to actually do anything is you’ve got a reset trips button in the car – that didn’t work – so I had to do a full master switch reset. That kills the car completely, and then obviously all the boys are thinking I’ve had an accident or something!”
Despite this, Smith is encouraged by the pace he feels he has at his disposal at the 1.6-mile Silverstone national layout, as he feels there is more to come.
“It happens in Motorsport – it’s better to be P10 knowing that I’ve got the pace to be P5 than to be P5 knowing that I’ve put an absolutely banzai lap in and then when the race comes I’ve only got the pace to go top 15,” he said.
“It’s going to be eyes looking forward, not going to be concerned about looking behind and just try to catch up to Goffy boy!”
After a strong showing at Silverstone last year and good practice pace, Smith was hoping for more from qualifying.
“Going into the weekend, because of how strong we were last year, I would have been really happy with the first couple of rows.
“But that’s touring cars everyone moves forward. I realised in free practice two that a top five was realistic. That wouldn’t be too far beyond the realms of possibility.
“Again, there’s potential. But I said top ten just because of how close everyone is. P10 was a minimum and the fact that I did that on my first run on new tyres, just getting my eye in, I was happy.
“I think the pace was there for a top six but the car wasn’t agreeing with me! I’m OK with the top ten.”
Smith has chosen to run the harder compound rubber in race three, and is keeping his expectations realistic in an attempt to bag solid points.
“Because the hard tyre hasn’t traditionally worked around here – we’ve elected to go for race three just to try to make the best of what we can in race one and two,” said Smith.
“Maybe try to get a reverse grid result and hopefully a bit of carnage kicks off in race three! But just trying to make hay while the sun shines.
“The pace has been there all year, but Sundays haven’t been particularly lucky for me. But the aim as a minimum is to try to get three top 15 point scores.”