Rory Butcher is optimistic of ending his British Touring Car Championship season on a high at Brands Hatch this weekend, with the Toyota driver saying he ‘has a feeling that [the car] will really fly’.
Butcher heads into the season finale sixth overall in the drivers’ championship, 19 points adrift of fifth-placed Josh Cook.
The Scot has had a strong run of form in recent weekends, standing on the podium in four of the last six races, including a double win at Silverstone last month, to be the highest-scoring driver in the last two meetings.
The 34-year-old has a reasonably strong record on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, having stood on the podium with second in the last race of 2019, followed by claiming pole position at the circuit last year, and he was set for a win before a late puncture denied him the result.
“I’m feeling really good going to Brands Hatch,” said Butcher. “I’ve enjoyed the way we’ve been building momentum recently, and the Toyota has been strong at similar circuits this season so I’m confident it will suit the track well and that we will hit the ground running again this weekend.
“Any opportunity to be let loose on the full Grand Prix loop at Brands is just amazing. It’s such an iconic track, from the speed you can carry through the fifth-gear sequence of right-hand bends at Hawthorns, Westfield and Sheene Curve to the cambered corners that make it such an awesome, old-school challenge.
“It’s a great place to end the season and I’ve always tended to go well there, right back to my days competing in the BTCC support series, although I lost a lot of points last year due to the puncture so hopefully it will be much kinder to me this time round.
“One thing’s for sure – to get to drive the Corolla on the ‘GP’ circuit in the form it’s in at the moment will be incredible, and I’m really excited to get out there.
“With the work we’ve done on the car and all the progress we’ve made, I’ve just got this feeling inside that it will really fly at Brands Hatch.
“I believe we have the potential to fight for silverware come rain or shine, and if we can come away with another trophy or two for the cabinet, that would cap a great end to the season and would definitely be a job well done.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Team Principal Christian Dick says the team has high confidence heading to the Kent circuit, particularly as Butcher has finally ‘clicked’ with the Toyota car in his first season with the team.
“It’s been an exciting adventure and inevitably a learning curve with two new drivers on-board this year,” summarised Dick of the season so far. “We are now very much in the groove as I think our recent performances demonstrate, and in many ways it’s a shame that there are only three more races left.
“We certainly go to Brands Hatch feeling brimful of confidence. The ‘GP’ circuit is a favourite amongst drivers for very good reason and a massive challenge from both a driving and engineering perspective.
“With the developments we have brought to the car over the past few months, I have no doubt that we will have a potent package at our disposal.
“The Corolla’s characteristics make it well-suited to the track, and we’re all looking forward to getting out there in FP1 to see how we stack up.
“Rory is obviously on stellar form at the moment – he has fully clicked with the Toyota, and that is shining through in his performances.
“It has been great to watch his confidence grow as he has increasingly settled into both the car and team, and another strong showing would set him up well for a real title push from the word ‘go’ next year.”