Tom Chilton says that he and the Motorbase Performance squad ‘can’t afford another bad round like Thruxton’ as the British Touring Car Championship resumes at Croft in North Yorkshire this weekend.
Chilton had briefly led the championship standings during the second meeting of the year at Donington Park, but last time out at Thruxton he finished outside the points in the first two races, before salvaging three points in the final race of the day.
That has left the Reigate racer 34 points adrift of the top of the table, as he heads to the recently resurfaced Croft circuit.
Last year Chilton scored a podium finish in the final race of the weekend, taking second. The 34-year-old has never previously won at Croft, but believes this weekend presents an opportunity to pick up good points with his car which has less ballast, 18 kg, on board.
“We ended on a high at Croft last year with P2 – we all need to keep that momentum going now to remain in our top position in the championship,” said Chilton. “It’s all very close at the top as always.
“We can’t afford another bad round like Thruxton. Everybody has been working hard on the car and thinking ahead to Croft.
“We all have a new circuit to work with this year as the tarmac has been resurfaced. It’s a lot smoother now. This will be the same for everybody to learn as nobody has tested on it.
“We just need to be fast from the minute we start our engine, especially now that I’m not carrying as much championship ballast going into this weekend.
“It’s a good opportunity to qualify high and score lots of points.”
Team Manager Oly Collins is hoping that the team can adapt quickly to the new circuit surface to steal a march on the opposition, as none of the teams have yet tested on the circuit since its new coating was laid.
“Croft will be really interesting this year;” said Collins. “The circuit has been completely resurfaced since we were last there and none of the BTCC guys have been on the new track yet. So we’ll all be learning that together.
“Tom is still in a good position in the championship, but with a little less weight than we’ve been carrying into the last two events. Hopefully, we can capitalise on that and look for a solid points haul this weekend.
“We had a strong meeting here last year with podiums and points. Traditionally it’s been a RWD favoured circuit but we competed with them last year so the aim is to achieve the same results again.”