Four drivers competing in Goodyear-supported national series were given a test outing in a British Touring Car Championship car at Snetterton last week.
Goodyear arranged the test for the champions, allowing them to get behind the wheel of a Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus ST.
Taking part in the test were 2021 TCR UK champion Lewis Kent, 2020 Focus Cup winner Andy Godfrey, 2021 MINI Challenge champion Dan Zelos and 2021 BRSCC Fiesta Championship runner-up Luke Pinder.
The quarter were joined by MB Motorsport’s Ollie Jackson at the Norfolk circuit for expert advice.
A fixture on the calendar since 2012, the annual test day has helped numerous drivers to make the transition to the BTCC, including three-time champion Ash Sutton.
“We had a very successful Goodyear prize drive test on Wednesday at Snetterton,” said Motorbase Team Manager Oly Collins.
“I was delighted with the approach from all four drivers. They each took on board the instructions well – and in extremely tricky, damp conditions – drove impeccably throughout the day.
“We probably shouldn’t be surprised each year at the ability and professionalism of these drivers as the prize is there to reward Goodyear Champions. They’ve earned the chance to do this and so often do it very well.
“The four drivers are each in different stages of their career, which is what I find so great about this programme. Some use this as a stepping stone to the next stage of their careers and some treat it as a dream come true and just relish the chance they’ve been given.
“Either way, it’s designed for the drivers to enjoy it and take something away which will help them in the next stage of their Motorsport experience. All four drivers were a credit to their championships and a joy to work with.
“The prize drive is a fantastic reward offered by Goodyear in conjunction with Motorbase Performance which has been running now since 2012 offering a variety of drivers the chance to experience a day with a BTCC team.
“They get to experience not just the driving side of a BTCC car but also how a team works at this level what the team has at its disposal in the BTCC.”
Zelos, 23, said that he is targeting a BTCC drive in the near future, having enjoyed his first taste of BTCC machinery.
“It was pretty surreal, to be honest – a very special day, and a great reward for all the hard work we have put in,” said Zelos.
“Having never driven the Ford before, I was really pleased with my pace straight out of the box, especially considering the car had been deliberately set up to be very ‘safe’ given the conditions. It was a lot of fun to drive, and it’s pretty clear why it’s a race-winner.
“Looking forward, the BTCC is 100 per cent where I want to be – it has been since I first joined the TOCA package in Ginetta Juniors – and this test has further whetted my appetite and fuelled that fire.”
Pinder took part in the test because Rob Smith, the Fiesta champion and someone who has already raced in the BTCC in 2019, was unable to attend.
“It was really good, I really enjoyed it,” said Pinder. “A massive thanks to Goodyear, Motorbase Performance and Rob Smith for letting me come in his place.
“The car is completely different [to the Fiesta.] It’s not even comparable!”