Media Day at Donington Park saw the launch of the two new BTC Norlin Racing Honda Civic Type R British Touring Car challengers for 2018.
Despite a damp start to Media Day, the morning consisted of several press engagements for drivers Chris Smiley and James Nash prior to the official car unveiling at 11am.
Following the unveiling, Chris and James took to the circuit to complete their first test afternoon in the recently rebuilt Hondas.
With the circuit still damp from the morning rain, James was the first of the pair onto the circuit. Slowly building on each lap, James was pleased with how the car was responding.
Unfortunately, a trip across the grass resulted in a return to the garage for some work, meaning that the car remained parked up for the afternoon. James was pleased with how the car felt and is looking forward to further track time.
“It was great to get some laps in the BTC Norlin Racing Honda Civic, the balance of the car felt good straight away. I’m excited to be working with the team, and I can’t wait to get stuck back in at Brands Hatch.”
Chris Smiley made the most of the test time and spent many hours circulating the Derbyshire circuit. Starting his session on wet tyres, he was able to get a feel for the new car in the wet conditions. It didn’t take long before he was ready to get out on the slicks and set about tuning the car for dry conditions.
Finishing the day in the top ten was a bonus, however with lap times not the focus for the day, Chris achieved exactly what he wanted and heads to the test day at Brands Hatch feeling comfortable in the Honda.
“It was a really good day in the car which give me the chance to experience both wet and dry conditions, as well as working on setup with the team. My first impressions of the package are great and we know where we need to focus our attention for our next two days of testing.”
The team, which is only in its second year of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, has big ambitions for 2018. The ingredients to better 2017’s achievements are already in place, and with the team heading down to Brands Hatch for two days of testing, no stone will be left unturned.
Team Manager Bert Taylor was positive about preparations for 2018. “It was a mixed day for us, especially with James’ track time being cut short.
“However, we have lots of positives to take away from the afternoon’s running and we will be back on track on Thursday to continue improving the cars. It is great to be back at the track!
“I want to thank the team who’ve worked incredibly hard to get the cars built to such a high standard and whom continue to make me very proud of what we have achieved.”
Photography: Jay Adair