EXCELR8 targeting final push in closing BTCC rounds
EXCELR8 Motorsport is aiming to cap its maiden British Touring Car Championship season with a flourish as the team heads to more familiar ground for the penultimate race weekend of the season at Silverstone.
After the adventure of Knockhill in Scotland, the BTCC heads back to well-known territory for three races around the Silverstone National Circuit. As one of the most frequently used venues in British motorsport, the track is well known to both the team and its drivers – Rob Smith and Sam Osborne – and represents the first chance at a determined final push for points this year with the twin MG6 GTs.
Despite its relatively simple layout, Silverstone National is still a real challenge. With over 30 cars on the grid and a short, sharp 1.6-mile lap, the track demands that teams hit the ground running and also provides drivers with plenty of chances to attack. Silverstone is a more forgiving venue, with plenty of run-off, meaning drivers can take more risks, and teams can go more extreme with setup in an attempt to find an advantage in the ultra-tight pecking order of the BTCC.
EXCELR8 heads to the second-last BTCC meeting of the year high on confidence, after an incredibly promising series of results at Knockhill, where both of its drivers were knocking on the door of top-20 finishes, despite having never competed at the venue before.
The team hopes that the lessons learned and the adaptability it showed in Scotland can help it challenge for more points across the final two rounds of the year.
Rob Smith says: “I’m really looking forward to Silverstone as it’s a place where we can just go all-out-attack and push for some points across the last few races. Knockhill was actually incredibly positive for us, our results there were perhaps better than expected, and Silverstone gives us a chance to try and put everything we’ve learned this year together and really go for it. I haven’t actually raced around the National circuit since 2016, but I’ve lost count of how many laps I’ve done there throughout my career. While it’s basically just three corners, the racing it creates is incredibly tight. We can go a bit more radical with the setup there and take more risks, so it’s a great chance to show just how far we’ve come since the start of the year.”
Sam Osborne says: “It’s nice to be heading to a more ‘comfortable’ circuit and it’s another new chapter in my BTCC career, and one that I’m really looking forward to. We have to hit the ground running this weekend, both in terms of setup and driver performance. We can really push the cars and the setup at Silverstone, and the smallest changes can make big differences around there as it’s a simple track, which means that any mistakes or deficiencies are punished. I remember last year racing in the Clios our engine wasn’t quite right, and it was costing us tenths on each straight. But it’s a great circuit, and we’re going in fully aiming at the points.”
EXCELR8 Team Manager Oliver Shepherd adds: “Silverstone should be a really good weekend for us. We’re back on familiar ground and the recent discussions with both drivers have been very productive for us as a team, so I feel we’re all in a good place and ready for this one. We’re all pumped to go out there and fight this weekend, and I’m expecting big things from both drivers. Silverstone is a circuit where you can really push the limits. There’s plenty of runoff so the drivers don’t have to worry about putting the car in a fence and can really just go for it. I’m expecting good things across these final six races of the year.”
Qualifying for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship gets underway at 1515hrs on Saturday, September 28. Sunday’s first race is scheduled for 1200hrs, with the second outing at 1435hrs, and the weekend finale at 1720hrs. All races will be shown live via ITV4, and live timing will be available all weekend via tsl-timing.com.