BTC Norlin Racing left Silverstone Circuit on a high, after securing their first podium finish in their maiden year of the British Touring Car Championship.
It was a day of personal bests at Silverstone as Dave Newsham finished third in Race three and won the independents trophy for the second time this season, and teammate Chris Smiley came home in 7th.
After an extremely competitive qualifying session on Saturday, Newsham started 15th and Smiley in 20th. Known for their race pace and ability to move forward, both drivers did just that with Dave making up eight spaces and Chris with 2.
The safety car was brought out due to a collision involving several drivers with Rob Collard and Will Burns requiring medical attention which then brought out the red flag. We wish both drivers a speedy recovery.
Dave’s goal was to get a clean start and to stay within the top 6-10 positions in order to get a good grid position for the last race of the day. Newsham had a few entertaining battles with Colin Turkington on the way to his P7 finish.
“To gain a couple of places has put us in a good spot for the next race, especially now being on the medium compound tyre” said Smiley.
“The only way we want to go is forward. We’ve seen how well Dave did with the medium tyre, and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same!”
It was a similar goal for race two for Dave Newsham, which was to hold onto the top 6-10 positions to be included in the reverse grid draw. After a lot of back and forth action, Newsham held onto 9th place after losing ground to Austin, Huff and Shedden.
Smiley made the best of race two by making up a credible 7 places and coming home in 11th. “We’ve made good progress this weekend, especially in race two. I kept my nose clean and gained places. We’re on the medium tyre again, whilst most are on the hard, and will make more progress in the final race today!”
For the second time this season, Dave found himself fortunate enough to secure pole position due to the reverse grid draw, which would see him pursue a podium finish. Chris was promoted one space and started in tenth place due to Ash Sutton being moved to the back of the grid for an incident in the previous race.
Dave made a sluggish start in race three which allowed Huff to dart into P1. An accident early on produced the safety car which resulted in Dave’s lead getting reduced and immediately was under attack from Ingram, Austin, Morgan and a surging Matt Neal who ended up taking the spoils.
Newsham put on a masterclass to regain positions that saw him hold off Tom Ingram for 3rd place on the podium. Smiley achieved his highest ever BTCC placing in P7.
After taking to the podium for the first time this season, Dave Newsham was delighted with the result, but admitted that he felt there was potential for better results.
“It is an incredible achievement for the team to get onto the podium – it’s our first year! I can’t thank Norlin and our sponsors enough. I like to think I’m doing the business for the guys that put me here.
“The car was just mega. I had the pace and I gave myself a strong talking to after the worst start of my life. I could have even won it had I done better there. It’s like a win for us. Every time we go out we’re learning more and we’re hitting the sweet spot. It’s a shame for us that the season’s coming to an end.”
The podium at Silverstone meant a lot to the new team in the Championship, few more so than Chief Engineer, Steve Brady. “It was a great weekend for us, and I have to thank the team, as it is the result of everyone working together that has achieved this. We have great people, and the results in our first year have shown this.”
Chris Smiley was pleased with his result, securing his best result of the season also. “The car felt great and we kept getting quicker and quicker as the weekend went on. We have made some really good progress as a team, and we are aiming to finish the season on a high at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks.”
It is quite a challenge putting together a new team, whilst competing hard for results on the track. Team Boss, Bert Taylor knows this only too well, but under his leadership, the team has shone in 2017.
“We knew that we had all the ingredients for running in the top ten and podiums this year, and I couldn’t be happier that we have now achieved our final goal for 2017. Everyone has worked so hard, and the results are a reflection on the entire team.
“I would like to thank everyone that has supported us this year. We are a new team and it has been quite a rollercoaster. I am glad that they came on the journey with us, and I cannot wait to see what we can achieve at Brands Hatch.”
The team now heads to the final round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, which will be held at Brands Hatch on the GP Circuit on the weekend of 30th September and 1st October.
Photography: Jay Adair