Milltek Sport's round up of the first big Motorsport weekend of 2016 season
'A weekend of fast paced, Milltek-flavoured motorsport brought more than its fair share of ups and downs for the teams concerned'
April is traditionally the month when the British motorsport calendar well and truly comes alive, and this year was no exception. Last weekend saw a number of highly significant race meetings both in the UK and in Europe, with Milltek backed and supplied entrants opening their accounts with solid results in the British Touring Car Championship and Germany's famous VLN Nurburgring race, though the Zest Racecar Engineering team endured a frustrating weekend at the British round of the Hankook International Endurance Series.
Now in very rude health indeed, the BTCC looks set to once again recapture the drama and interest that made it such a massive success story throughout the 1990s. Kicking off in the traditional surroundings of Brands Hatch, the 2016 season opener consisted of three closely contested sprint races, with success ballast and, for the final fixture, a reverse grid. Milltek was well represented up and down the field, with the newly built team BMR Subaru Levorgs joining the Focuses of Motorbase Performance and Maximum Motorsport, and all enjoyed a hectic weekend of racing.
Race 1 saw Tom Ingram take a popular maiden win to reinforce just how competitive the BTCC still is, while the Motorbase Performance pairing of Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan finished 8th and 11th. Maximum Motorsport's Stewart Lines was down in 22nd, just behind BMR driver and all round BTCC legend Jason Plato, and ahead of the other Levorg of James Cole in 25th. BMR's Colin Turkington and Warren Scott were forced to retire.
Race 2 was won by reigning champion Gordon Shedden, a win made all the easier thanks to contact between the chasing duo of Tom Ingram and Rob Collard at Druids. Andrew Jordan and Mat Jackson scooped 4th and 5th for Motorbase Performance, the latter narrowly avoiding going off on an oil spill at Graham Hill bend. The BMR Levorgs placed 13th (Plato), 19th, 20th and 21st (Cole, Turkington, Scott), the former enough to give Subaru their first ever BTCC points. Steward Lines was forced to retire his Maximum Motorsport Focus.
The third and final race of the opening weekend was won by Adam Morgan in his distinctive Mercedes A-Class, just ahead of the BMWs of Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff. Andrew Jordan managed to snatch 4th place from the works Honda of Matt Neal on the drag race to the finish line, while Colin Turkington added to BMR's modest point haul with a 12th place finish. The remaining Levorgs crossed the line in 16th, 18th and 19th, with the Maximum Motorsport Focus bringing up the rear in 28th.
Team BTG's newly completed, Milltek shod Ford Fiesta ST lined up for the daunting VLN1 race at the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife on Saturday, with the driver pairing of Dale Lomas and Lucien Gavris doing well to bring the hard charging hot hatch home first in class and 122nd overall. The result was made all the remarkable for coming so soon after the car was built (the race was very much its competitive debut), while the pair's fastest lap of 10min 11sec was quicker than a number of more powerful rivals, including Team Adrenaline Motorsport's BMW 325i E90. Very much a giant killing performance from all concerned then, and one which the BTG Team will hope to build upon later in the year.
The Milltek sponsored and supported Seat Leon Cup TRE of Zest Racecar Engineering endured a weekend to forget at the 24 Hours of Silverstone, a round of the Hankook International Endurance Series. The race brought soaking wet conditions that made an already tricky outing all the more daunting and contributed toward Lucas Orrock making contact with the car in front, a mere hours into the race. Fixing the damage sent the team plummeting down the order, and though the car did eventually make it back onto the track, it was only for a short while, the Leon's engine letting go after a few more hours. The ZRE team and drivers Lucas Orrock, Andy Hack, Jon Cullom and Rob Cullom can at least take heart from the fact that they were on the pace early on, the former even the fastest man on track for a time. All will hope for better luck at the 12 Hours of Zandvoort on the 6th-7th of May.