28 September 2020

A battling performance by the BTC Racing team during an incident-packed sixth meeting of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship was rewarded with a quartet of top-ten finishes on Silverstone’s National Circuit over the weekend (September 26-27).

Racing at its iconic home track, the Brackley-based outfit overcame a number of mechanical issues and engine woes during rounds 16, 17 & 18 of the twenty-seven round series to secure six points-finishes at the Home of British Motorsport.

Struggling to unlock the straight-line speed needed on the powerhouse circuit, Tom Chilton took top honours for the BTC Racing trio during a damp and chilly Saturday qualifying session, securing P9 (just 0.345s off pole). Despite being less than a second-off a front-row start, Josh Cook found himself back in P12 while Michael Crees wrestled with the set-up and balance on the Clever Baggers with BTC Racing Honda and ended the session disappointed in P23.

“If you look at the whole weekend and analyse the results, we’ve had two cars in the top-ten and they were both in the podium fight in the last race."

Sunday’s opening race delivered a mixed bag of results for the BTC Racing threesome. After a steady start, Cook managed to break his way into the top-ten in the early laps, holding 10th position to the finish line. Chilton was running well before being forced to take evasive action to avoid coming together with Neal’s errant Honda and dropped down the order to take 15th at the flag.

Unfortunately, Crees’ race was short-lived, with the Clever Baggers-backed racer tipped into a spin heading into Maggots-Beckett’s on lap 5, leaving the #777 stricken in the gravel.

Race two delivered plenty more drama with both Cook and Chilton moving up the grid to collect another haul of points for the championship campaign. After sparring with the works-Honda, Cook eventually crossed the line in P6 with Chilton bringing the #3 Civic home in P11.

Starting from the back of the grid, Crees was making excellent progress to close-in on the points-scoring zone before an engine failure forced him into the pits on lap 14, recording his 2nd DNF finish of the day. Racing against the clock before the final contest, the BTC Racing crew completed a full engine change on the #777 Type R ensuring that Crees made the grid with just minutes to spare.

Following a red flag incident, a restart was declared with a new shortened distance of 12 laps for race 3. Regrettably, the day would end on a low note for Crees with an oil leak on the #777 car ending his hopes of reclaiming a result from a challenging weekend.

A frenetic end to the day followed. Cook’s initial start off the line saw the #66 Civic steal into P3 at the first corner, with the Bath-based racer looking good for a podium as the chasing pack loomed large in his mirrors. A stunning multi-car pass from Chilton with a late lunge at Brooklands fired the #3 Civic up the order to briefly take fourth before a fierce battle ensued as the front-running pack duelled door-to-door for the final podium spot. After trading places numerous times, the pair finally brought the brace of BTC Racing FK8s home in P7 and P9, adding to the squad’s points tally.

Having secured four top-ten results at the Home of British Motorsport, BTC Racing maintains its 5th and 3rd spots in the Overall and Independent Teams standings. Tom Chilton remains in 7th and 3rd place respectively, with Josh Cook moving up to take 12th and 11th in the points.

A zero-score weekend for Michael Crees has unfortunately dropped the Kent-racer into 2nd in the Jack Sears Trophy Standings, albeit, just 8 points off the lead, with BTC Racing trio returning to action in two weeks time as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads to Croft in North Yorkshire for the seventh meeting of the season on October 10-11.

Bert Taylor Joint Team Principal:

“It’s been a difficult weekend for the whole team. I think the story of the day would be we came, tried hard, and came away with very little on paper. But looking at the positives, we made a step forward with Josh’s brake issues, sorted out a few problems and worked our way back up to the front.

“If you look at the whole weekend and analyse the results, we’ve had two cars in the top-ten and they were both in the podium fight in the last race. It feels painful, as we want to win, but it’s not that bad. Ultimately the whole garage has got its mojo back after a really hard six weeks.”

 Tom Chilton #3:

“We just struggled with straight-line speed all weekend and it always shows up at Silverstone. It was rather painful at times, but I’m happy with my performance this weekend. There’s nothing else I could have done. I really enjoyed the final race, it was a great battle.

“We were just unfortunate with mechanical failures all day. I had a power-steering rack break in each race, so we need to get to the bottom of that. I’ve never had that before in all my years of racing. Even though we were down on power on the straights, we were very competitive around the corners.”

Josh Cook #66:

“We had brake issues again on Saturday so that was reflected in our qualifying results. Once again, the chassis is strong but this weekend just further highlighted the straight-line issues that we’re having.

“As a team, we’re trying to understand why and how to rectify it, but at the moment we are just sitting ducks. We have to find a way out of this. We’ve shown what happens when it’s about the chassis, the car is a weapon. We’ve got the car so well hooked-up, it feels mega to drive but we can’t control what happens in fifth and sixth gear.”

Michael Crees #777:

“After the highs of last weekend at Thruxton, this was a weekend to forget. We had mechanical problems in qualifying which upset the balance of the car, and meant that we were way down and out of position in P23. We changed the set-up for race 1, and the car felt really good before we were taken out.

“Starting from the back of the grid in race two, we had a good start getting up to 17th and then the engine blew. The lads all did a mega job to get me back out onto the grid for race 3, and we had another good start before the red flag. Unfortunately, we had another engine fault, with an oil leak and it was game over.

“After what happened in race 3 though, I just feel really happy that Butcher is ok after his crash. That’s what really matters.”


Qualifying: Tom Chilton #3: P9, Josh Cook #66: P12, Michael Crees #777: P23

Round 16: Tom Chilton #3: P15, Josh Cook #66: P10, Michael Crees #777: DNF

Round 17: Tom Chilton #3: P11, Josh Cook #66: P6, Michael Crees #777: DNF

Round 18: Tom Chilton #3: P9, Josh Cook #66: P7, Michael Crees #777: DNF