Donington Park Free Practice Report


15 April 2017

After a very chilly morning at the Donington Park free practice, BTC Norlin Racing had mixed results at the first session, with Northern Irish man Chris Smiley finishing in P8, whilst team mate Dave Newsham had a trickier session ending in P30.

“I had a solid performance at the Donington Park free practice session” said Chris.

“I was very happy with how the morning played out and the car was running on old tyres, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can get out of the Cruze this afternoon.

“This is really only my second touring car meeting. I obviously done a few rounds last year but this is all new to me.

“I’m learning how to work the tyres, learning how to work the car. I’m playing around with the brakes and the set up.

“It’s all brand new and it’s a brand new team. It looks like the same car from last year but it isn’t the same, we have completely changed the car so we’re all still learning about it, but it all looks positive!”

An upbeat Dave Newsham said “Free practice did not go according to plan, as it was beset with issues, all of which have now been addressed. Our weekend starts in free practice 2!”

BTC Norlin Racing are currently back at the garage working on further tweaks for the next session at 12:25.

The top 17 positions were separated by less than a second which shows that there is very little separating the drivers.

The depth of young talent is really on show in this year’s Championship, as the average age of the top ten is 26 years old. With Chris recently turning 25, he has shown that he is right at home in the BTCC.

Free Practice 2

It was time to take to the track for the second session of the day and the team have been busy dialling in the changes.

The team have good data to go on as the conditions are similar to media day which took place at Donington Park just over 4 weeks ago on 16th March.

The sun has started to emerge from the clouds, which sees a large number of teams going for the dry tyres.

Weather aside, there was not a dull moment at the afternoons free practice session. After 40 minutes of back and forth action, the top 24 were separated by less than one second. The top 4 were separated by 0.040 seconds.

Free practice 2 was rounded out by Chris Smiley finishing in 8th place and Dave Newsham in 12th.

Team manager Bert Taylor added “I am delighted that FP2 ended with both our cars in the top 12. The team has worked really hard on ensuring that we keep pushing, and Chris and Dave delivered great runs.

“We still have improvements to make, but are optimistic that we have a great package for qualifying this afternoon.”