Reigning TCR UK champion Dan Lloyd has described the “buzz” he enjoys from driving at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, as the pair of TCR Europe practice sessions marked his first laps of the Belgian circuit in a touring car.
The Brutal Fish Racing driver has previously raced at the 3.52-mile track in a Motorbase-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the Spa 24 Hours.
Despite this previous experience, Lloyd told TouringCars.Net he experienced the “same sort of buzz,” and enjoyed the “rare” experience of enjoying a circuit despite not setting the overall pace.
He also noted the challenges of the shortened practices in terms of building tyre temperature, with many drivers only completing a handful of laps across both sessions today [7 June].
“You get such a buzz from this circuit, I’ve only ever done it in a GT car,” explained Lloyd.
“But jump out of a touring car and you get the same sort of buzz. You get so used to driving at so many circuits and it’s very rare that you get out smiling regardless of your position.
“But it’s crazy with only 25 minute sessions. Us guys, we get released at the back, so by the time we’re out of the pit lane you’re down to 23 or 22 minutes by the time we start.
“In the first session, I ran all the way through. I had some brakes to bed in, and I did nine laps. The second session I did three laps. It’s tough, especially at a circuit like this with Eau Rouge and Blanchimont it’s crazy.”
Lloyd placed 12th in opening practice, and improved to sixth in the afternoon, but admits the Honda is not the favourite this weekend at Spa.
Despite this, he is confident as he carries less weight this weekend – both due to Balance of Performance adjustments and shedding his late-entry weight from Hockenheim – and believes “piecing everything together” will be the key to his weekend.
“It’s not the favourite for sure but we’re looking competitive at the moment,” he said. “My pace was really good at Hockenheim but we didn’t quite get the results.
“We’ve lost a lot of weight here this weekend, in both BoP and my extra compensation weight I had to carry there because I was a late entry.
“This morning we suffered a bit with a braking issue that we carried from Hockenheim but we managed to solve it for FP2.
“Big improvement, we were P6 and we didn’t run new tyres so that’s really good. Definitely some more improvements to be made for myself and for the car.
“We’ll see what happens tomorrow. The Peugeots and the CUPRAs and the Audi are very, very quick here. But I see no reason why if we piece it together why we can’t be fighting with them.”
Before his victorious TCR UK campaign last year, Lloyd enjoyed success in the TCR International Series, and is pleased to “be at the sharp end” again in TCR competition after missing the season opener before securing a late deal to compete with the Brutal Fish Racing Team.
“It’s something I’ve done before – I’ve done TCR International before and got podiums there. But it’s nice to come here and keep performing and be at the sharp end,” Lloyd said.
“Like I say it’s just such a difficult championship for so many reasons, for example the track time, you come here with no testing and you’re immediately expected to deliver.
“I haven’t been to this circuit in three years and you’re expected to go through Blanchimont flat in five laps, so it’s really challenging.
“But that’s what makes it fun, so I’m enjoying it at the moment.”