Reigning champion pips Ash Sutton during pre-season test
The 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship Season Launch concluded at Brands Hatch earlier today (12 April), with reigning champion Tom Ingram setting the pace at the only official pre-season test.
Weather conditions fluctuated throughout the day as the running was interrupted by several rain showers during both the morning and afternoon sessions.
Ingram’s flying lap during the closing stages of the morning proved to be the pacesetter, as the BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 star pipped NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton.
Three-time champion Sutton held top spot for much of the session, but eventually had to settle for second ahead of his Ford Focus team-mate Daniel Rowbottom.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK’s Rory Butcher and NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Cammish were next in the order, before the fastest of the afternoon runners – headed by Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill.
The day had commenced under glorious sunshine as the cars and stars of the BTCC completed the annual photocall, shortly before thousands of fans flocked to the famous Kent venue for the on-track action, as well as a lunchtime pitlane walkabout.
Conditions deteriorated as the day progressed, with a number of teams packing up early, whilst the likes of Team HARD, CarStore Power Maxed Racing and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK kept running until the finish – gaining valuable track time on the Goodyear wet tyre.
The next official running will be for the opening rounds of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, which take place at Donington Park on 22/23 April.
Tom Ingram said: “It has been a bit wet… very wet in fact. We did some running in the morning, which went very well, and the car has felt pretty good. Hopefully, we can keep that going into next week when we arrive at Donington Park. We have a test scheduled there tomorrow too, but we have our fingers crossed for some dry running as we haven’t much of that during pre-season.”
Ash Sutton said: “The car felt pretty good, but the mixed conditions haven’t made it completely straight forward. The trucks also ran at Brands Hatch last weekend, which meant the track felt quite greasy even when it was dry. In truth, the serious business begins at Donington Park next weekend and I’m sure it will as close as ever throughout the field.”
Dan Rowbottom said: “We had some good running in the morning, but it was a bit of a washout this afternoon. The first session was really productive, and we made some good progress in the dry. Ash [Sutton] was P2, I was P3 and Dan [Cammish] wasn’t far behind, plus Sam [Osborne] had a decent run, so generally it was good run for the team. Roll on Donington Park next week!”
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Official Pre-Season Test – Brands Hatch
1. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 47.928s
2. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK +0.048s
3. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +0.146s
4. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +0.325s
5. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +0.331s
6. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +0.632s
7. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +0.648s
8. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +0.838s
9. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +0.881s
10. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +1.056s
11. Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +1.095s
12. Ronan Pearson, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +1.107s
13. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +1.134s
14. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +1.165s
15. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +1.255s
16. Nick Halstead, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +1.383s
17. Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +1.468s
18. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +1.607s
19. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +1.640s
20. Will Powell, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +2.125s
21. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +6.531s
22. Jack Butel, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +6.582s
23. Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +6.953s
24. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils + 19.661s
Please click here for the full 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship entry list.