Category: BTCC

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing adds to podium tally at Oulton Park

RCIB at Oulton Park

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team was able to celebrate a fourth podium finish of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season on a strong weekend on track at Oulton Park.

The West Thurrock-based team made the long trip to Cheshire ready to fight back from a tough weekend at Croft, where qualifying issues had hampered both Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff in their quest for points.

Having topped the times across the two free practice sessions, Leeds racer Sam led the team’s challenge in qualifying as he put his Honda Civic Type R second on the grid, lapping just 0.027s down on the pole sitting BMW of Colin Turkington.

Although he would lose places off the line when the lights went out, Sam quickly slotted into fifth place and maintained his position through to the finish despite close attention from Tom Oliphant behind.

Race two would follow a similar theme for the former series runner-up as he held station throughout the 18 lap encounter, defending well in the closing stages to keep the rapid BMW of Stephen Jelley at bay.

Seventh on the reverse grid for race three, Sam found himself up in the top four having avoided a chaotic incident ahead of the third lap and would dice with Oliphant’s BMW before crossing the line in fourth spot.

However, a post race penalty for Jake Hill meant he inherited third for a second podium finish of the season, leaving Sam 13th in the overall standings going into the summer break and fourth in the Independents’ title race.

Fife racer Rory was eager to get his title challenge back on track and qualified in fifth place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.

A strong start saw him move up into fourth place when the lights went out after battling ahead of Sam and the Scottish racer would hold his place to the finish despite a mid-race Safety Car period having been unable to match the pace of the three cars ahead.

A seventh place finish in race two saw Rory put more solid points on the board and he headed into the final race of the weekend hoping to impress from fifth on the grid.

Having held station through the opening laps, Rory was lucky to avoid the incident at the start of lap three that caught out a number of the front-runners and emerged in second place – but nearly six seconds down on leader Hill.

Hunting down the Audi ahead, Rory closed the gap until he was in a position to attack for the lead, which he did at Island on the penultimate lap. Unfortunately, the Honda would slide wide on coolant dropped earlier in the race and Rory slipped back to sixth spot where he would remain to the flag – then inheriting fifth when Hill was handed a time penalty.

At the half way stage of the season, he sits fourth in the overall standings and leads both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy.

A strong haul of points for the team, second only to the works BMW outfit, means Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing holds third in the Teams’ Championship and is second in the Independent Teams’ standings.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It’s been a really strong weekend for us as a team, and to come away from Oulton Park second only to West Surrey Racing in terms of points scored is fantastic when you consider how strong the BTCC grid is at the moment.

“Both drivers have done a great job on track, and it was good to see Sam pick up three solid finishes from the weekend and take another podium. He hasn’t had the rub of the green so far this season, and hopefully this weekend will lead into more strong results in the second half of the year.

“Rory’s pace in the last race was fantastic and that showed in the way he chased down Jake for the lead. Of course it’s a shame that he missed out on what would have been a victory but to come away from the weekend a point away from the top three in the championship is great for him and we need to work hard to maintain that.

“We knew that expectations would rise this season with the Honda and to be where we are in the Teams’ Championship at the half-way stage is a brilliant achievement for us as we aren’t a big team and we’ve shown that we can really take the fight to the more established front-runners.

“With a two-day test coming up to work on the cars, we’re confident of keeping our strong form going in the second half of the year.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It was important to get some good points after Croft and to beat 30 across the weekend is another solid haul. The car was strong all weekend and we were able to make some good progress in making improvements, which was reflected in the pace in race three.

“Of course there is frustration at what happened in the final race and I’m a bit disappointed for the team as I feel I let them down a bit with an error on my part. They had given me a great car and I was making the most of it until that penultimate lap when I had the moment at Island.

“In hindsight, I could have just settled for the position but these things happen in racing and we have to just put it behind us and look ahead to the upcoming test at Snetterton and then the second half of the season.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I’m really pleased with how the weekend has gone. To qualify on the front row of the grid and get so close to the BMW was great and that really set us up for race day as Oulton Park is one of the hardest circuits on the calendar to overtake.

“It provided a real platform for us to pick up a decent haul of points and while we didn’t quite have the pace I would have liked on race day, I can’t complain with three top five finishes.

“I had to drive with an eye on my mirrors more than looking ahead throughout race day and it certainly wasn’t easy, but hopefully the results we’ve secured this weekend can help kick-start us for the rest of the year.

“As a team, we’ve scored a load of points this weekend to go into the summer break in a strong position and given how the Honda has performed at Snetterton in the past, I think we can look forward to heading there for the next round in a months time.”

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the photography!

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing hope for return to form at Oulton Park

RCIB Ready for Oulton Park

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will hope for an upturn in fortunes when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championhip heads for Oulton Park this weekend for the fifth round of the year.

Having been regular contenders at the sharp end of the grid in the opening three rounds of the year, the West Thrurrock-based team endured a more challenging weekend last time out at Croft, where both Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff found themselves in the wars.

Fife racer Rory had gone into round four in a share of the championship lead, but a qualifying accident that left him at the back of the grid for race day meant his weekend became a case of damage limitation.

Fighting through to finish inside the top ten by the end of race three allowed Rory to remain inside the top six in the overall championship and second in the Independents’ Trophy heading towards the half-way stage of the season.

Eager to return to the kind of form that has seen him secure his maiden win in the series already this year, Rory goes into the weekend confident about running at the sharp end of the grid with his focus on pushing for strong points in all three races.

For Leeds-based team-mate Sam, the Croft weekend would also be largely decided by qualifying, with the former series runner-up one of a number of drivers who were unable to set a representative time thanks to a number of red flags.

That prevented Sam from being able to build on the pace he had shown in practice at the wheel of the #600 Honda, with the 30-year-old being left frustrated with a best finish of 13th.

Oulton Park however is a circuit where Sam has gone well in the past, taking two race wins and three further podium finishes during his BTCC career to date.

With the Honda having been a strong package at Oulton Park in the past – and free of success ballast – Sam goes into the weekend keen to try and fight for his second pole position of the year, with a trouble-free race day and a strong haul of points being vital for his championship challenge.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“Croft was our most challenging weekend of the year but we always expected that to be the case. Hopefully this weekend at Oulton Park will be more straightforward, and we can replicate the kind of results we secured in the opening three rounds.

“Despite his accident at Croft, Rory remains well placed in the standings and it would be good if he could at least maintain his front-running position going into the summer break.

“For Sam, hopefully this weekend will be the one where his luck changes. His speed isn’t in doubt, and it would be good if he could pick up the kind of results that his pace deserves.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I’m confident that the Honda is going to be a strong package when we get to Oulton Park.  At Croft, I paid the price for the first real mistake I’ve made this season so this weekend, the first aim is to stay out of trouble. The BTCC is a series where you have ups and downs – hopefully I’ve now got the down out of the way!

“Last season we saw Matt Simpson put his FK2 Honda on pole position before winning race one at Oulton Park, so I think we can be optimistic about a good weekend on track this time around.

“We lost a little bit of ground in the standings at Croft, and I’ll be pushing hard to try and make some of that ground back up this weekend.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“There is no doubt that the car is fast, and we’ve seen that it has been quick at Oulton Park in the past. However, aside from the podium at Thruxton, luck hasn’t been on my side and I’m not where I expect to be in the standings as a result.

“That does mean I go to Oulton Park running without any ballast which means we have to be aiming to qualify at the front so we can fight for some strong results. On paper, Oulton should be one of our better tracks and we have to try and make the most of it.”

Image thanks to Dickon Siddall.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing battles hard for Croft points

RCIB at Croft

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team battled back from a tough qualifying session to score more solid points from the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season.

The West Thurrock-based team headed for North Yorkshire in confident mood after Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff both took to the podium at Thruxton in the previous round, with hopes high of more success on track.

Despite showing well in practice with additional ballast on his car, Rory was left with work to do on race day after a heavy accident in qualifying before he’d been able to set a timed lap.

Fine work from the team to repair his damaged Honda Civic Type R allowed the Fife racer to start the opening race from 29th place, and he fought hard on track despite being on the less favourable hard tyre to work his way up to 18th place.

Battling towards the top ten in race two, Rory was well placed to get into a position to potentially benefit from the reverse grid draw before contact from the Subaru of Senna Proctor forced him wide at the hairpin.

The end result was a 14th place finish, but a storming drive in a wet final race saw Rory fight hard with the rapid BMWs of Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan to eventually cross the line in seventh.

It leaves the Scot sixth in the championship standings at the end of the weekend and second in the Independents’ Trophy.

Team-mate Sam was also left with work to do on race day after a number of red flags and traffic prevented him from setting a representative time.

From  26th on the grid, Sam showed the pace in the Honda to race forwards into the points before contact from Proctor at the hairpin dropped him back down the pack; with a further trip across the grass leading to a pit stop that saw him cross the line 23rd.

Fighting back to 15th place in race two, Sam would end the weekend with 13th in race three to secure two points finishes, although the Leeds racer was left to wonder what might have been.

Sam ends the weekend 17th in the overall standings and seventh in the Independents’ Trophy.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“Croft was always going to be a case of damage limitation and that definitely proved to be the case!

“Qualifying was hampered by multiple red flags and the rain and it didn’t go our way, with the accident for Rory and Sam being delayed in getting out for his final chance to set a lap-time.

“The real highlight for me from the weekend was the way in which the whole team worked hard in challenging conditions, and also the way that Rory took on the BMWs of Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington in race three.

“To see both drivers score points rewarded the team for their hard work and we’re looking forward to Oulton Park where we’re confident that the Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Hondas will shine!”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I have to say a huge thank you to the team for getting the car fixed for race day after what happened in qualifying as it was a big hit.

“To be honest, I hoped we could have taken more from race day but the tyre selections worked against us and when we got rid of the weight after race one, there wasn’t really anyone on the hard tyre in race two. Getting punted off the road also didn’t help….

“Had the final race been dry then I think we could have really pushed up the order because most of the grid would have been on the hard tyre, but we still did well on the wets and to make up seven spots and fight with Turkington and Jordan shows how competitive we are.

“It’s nice to pushing guys like that as a circuit where the BMW is so strong and hopefully at Oulton Park we’ll have a bit more luck.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“When you don’t qualify well, it can be hard to come back from it and sadly that proved to be the case for us this weekend.

“Despite that, I think we were on for a decent result in race one before I got forced off, which undid all of the good work that we had done to that point.

“It meant race two was another recovery drive and then we missed out on the one bit of luck we could have had in race three when everyone else was going to run the hard tyre and it rained.

“It’s been difficult again for me this weekend and hopefully my luck will turn at Oulton Park.”

 

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the photography.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing target strong Croft display

RCIB Ready for Croft

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will look to enjoy another strong weekend on track when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads for Croft for the fourth round of the season.

The West Thurrock-based outfit has been one of the real success stories of the 2019 campaign so far, with the decision to switch to a pair of Honda Civic Type Rs seeing the team vault up the order to become genuine front-runners.

The team makes the long trip to North Yorkshire – the home circuit of Sheffield-based title sponsor Cobra Sports Exhausts – having already secured three podium finishes this year, including a breakthrough win at Brands Hatch during the opening meeting of the season.

That win came thanks to Scottish star Rory Butcher, who sits in a share of the championship lead with nine of the 30 scheduled races now complete – and also heads both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

The 32-year-old is one of only two drivers on the grid to have scored points in every race so far this season and has already surpassed the total he secured across the entire 2018 campaign.

Twelve months ago, Rory secured a hat-trick of points finishes at Croft at the wheel of an MG6 GT, and has fond memories of the circuit having taken his maiden pole and race win in the Porsche Carrera Cup back in 2012.

Whilst the Croft circuit has traditionally favoured rear-wheel drive cars, resurfacing work across the winter could help bring front-wheel drive machines like the Honda closer to the outright pace, with Rory targeting a score of at least 30 points to maintain his challenge against the rapid BMW of defending champion Colin Turkington.

Leeds-based team-mate Sam Tordoff picked up his first podium finish of the season last time out at Thruxton, although there were mixed emotions for the 30-year-old – who saw victory slip through his fingers due to an electrical issue whilst leading race one.

Sam’s pace in the Honda has been clear to see from the moment he stepped into the car for pre-season testing, although bad luck in the opening two meetings of the year at Brands Hatch and Donington Park sees him trying to make up ground in the title race.

The 30-year-old has a strong record at his home circuit, taking pole position and a race win back in 2015 and two further podium finishes.

Currently sitting just outside the top ten in the standings, Sam heads for Croft without any additional success ballast on his car and will hope to replicate the strong qualifying performance he put in at Thruxton – where he snared pole position – before fighting for a big haul of points on race day.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“You only have to look at the results from recent seasons to see how strong rear-wheel drive cars are at Croft and in that respect, this weekend could well be a case of damage limitation for us.

“Whilst the new track surface should help, it’s still going to be a huge challenge to try and take the fight to the BMWs when you consider how fast they have been – and that this will probably be their strongest track so far.

“However, Rory and Sam have picked up strong results at Croft in the past, and we know that both drivers will go out and give it their all from the moment they hit the track. We just have to focus on ourselves and do the best job possible to maintain our strong start to the year.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Croft is a circuit that I really enjoy, and one that has good memories after taking my first pole and wins in the Carrera Cup there with Celtic Speed, who are still supporting my racing to this day.

“We go into the weekend in a fantastic position after a strong start to the season, although that provides us with a fresh challenge because of the extra weight we’ll have to carry when we get to Croft. That’s going to have an impact in qualifying and race one – particularly when it comes to getting the car stopped at the complex – but hopefully as we lose the extra ballast across the weekend, we can challenge for some good results.

“In the first three rounds, my target was to try and get at least 30 points on the board and I’m taking the same approach at Croft, although I don’t think it will be as easy to achieve.

“I’m hoping that the resurfacing work at the circuit will help us and provide more grip, but at the same time, I think the rear-wheel drive cars will still have the edge on us. We’ve just got to stay focused and get as much from the weekend as we can.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It was unfortunate to miss out on a win last time out at Thruxton but we showed really strong pace and hopefully we can carry that into this weekend.

“Croft is a circuit that has traditionally favoured rear-wheel drive cars like the BMW and the Subaru because the track was so abrasive, but the fact it has been resurfaced over the winter means there will be a bit of a step into the unknown for everyone. Looking at the lap times some of the support series have done in testing, it definitely looks like it will be a lot quicker, and hopefully tyre wear for the front-wheel drive cars will be less of an issue.

“I still think rear-wheel drive cars will have an advantage over us but I’m going into the weekend without any extra success ballast and hopefully I can make the most of that.

“The target has to be to qualify towards the front, and then push for some strong points on race day. The weather could also have an impact but wet or dry, I think we’ll be okay.”

Rachel Abbott, Cobra Sport Exhausts managing director, said:
“It’s been a fantastic season so far for the team and to see the Cobra Sport-backed Hondas fighting at the front of the grid in the first three rounds of the year has been brilliant.

“As our home event, Croft is a weekend that we always look forward to and hopefully Rory and Sam will be able to replicate the strong pace they have shown so far and can challenge for some strong results on track.”

Photo credit to Dickon Siddall (thanks!)

More silverware for Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing at Thruxton

Thruxton Success

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team enjoyed another strong weekend on track with a maiden pole position and two podium finishes from the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton.

The West Thurrock-based team headed for the fastest circuit on the calendar in confident mood on the back of a solid test at the venue last month, with drivers Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff both confident of challenging towards the sharp end of the field.

Having qualified on pole with a record-breaking lap, Leeds racer Sam made the ideal start to race one to lead the way into Allard for the first time and controlled the race from the front through the early stages.

Maintaining a lead of just over half a second over the chasing pack, Sam’s victory charge was ended by a battery problem that affected the power steering on his car, slowing him through the high-speed Church corner on lap 13 and allowing Andrew Jordan to get ahead on the run up Woodham Hill.

Fighting around the problem, Sam was able to fend off the newer FK8 Honda of Dan Cammish through the closing laps to secure second spot and his first podium finish of the year.

>From the front row of the grid for race two, Sam lost a place to a quick-starting Colin Turkington but held third in the opening laps before a clash with Cammish at the chicane saw him slip out of the podium places.

Dropping behind Jason Plato and Mat Neal as the additional ballast on his car took its toll, Sam would take the flag in sixth to add more points to his championship tally.

Heading into the final race of the weekend, Sam looked well set to fight for another podium finish as he ran fourth in the early stages but a further, unrelated, issue with the power steering instead forced him into the pits to retire.

Fife racer Rory qualified fifth on the grid despite carrying additional weight on his car, and came through the opening race unscathed to add more solid points to his tally – maintaining his position from start to finish.

Race two would once again prove to be a relatively quiet affair for Rory, who would post the fastest lap of the race before taking the flag in seventh to maintain his points scoring run.

With the team having resolved a damper issue on his car, Rory lined up fifth on the grid for race three, and a strong start saw to jump up into third place on the opening lap.

Battling ahead of Ash Sutton at Goodwood after an early safety car period, Rory would run in second place all the way to the finish and heads away from Thruxton in a share of the overall points lead, whilst also heading both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing sit third in the Teams’ Championship and second in the Independents Team Championship.

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It’s been a fantastic weekend after a tough Saturday where we lost a lap that would have given us pole. We didn’t quite have the pace to run at the front in race one or two but then found an issue with a damper ahead of race three. With that sorted, the car really came alive and it gave me the confidence I needed in the high-speed stuff.

“I was able to get ahead of Ash [Sutton] with a solid move out of Goodwood and hoped to push Josh [Cook] but he kept it nice and tidy and didn’t put a foot wrong. When Ash got a second wind, I focused on bringing the car home and we have ended up with some cracking points and a share of the points lead.

“It isn’t where I expected to be at this stage although I did think we could compete. I’ve kept the same mentality I had in the MG of racing hard, keeping it clean and bringing it home. When I have a fast car like we did in race three, we’ve got to push for those big points and some silverware.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating weekend for me but at least I’ve been able to put some points on the board after the troubles we faced in the opening rounds. To qualify on pole in the way that we did was amazing and I was controlling the opening race before we had the issue with the battery.

“That robbed us of a certain victory and had the race been a few laps longer, I doubt we’d have finished – so to salvage second was still a good start to race day. With the weight onboard in race two, we picked up more solid points and I was happy with how things were going at that stage.

“With the pace in the car, I think we could have pushed for another podium in race three and the fact we were unable to finish that one has spoiled the weekend a bit. Whilst I’m pleased to have got two solid finishes, I’m disappointed with how things ended.”

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“To come away from Thruxton with pole and two podium finishes is great for us as a team and it’s just a shame that a mechanical issue robbed us of what would have been a first win on the road. Both Rory and Sam have driven well this weekend, and we have once again shown that we are capable of taking the fight to the big boys at the front of the grid.

“With three rounds done, we’re in a great position in the championship standings but it’s important that we continue to work hard on our weak areas as a team because – despite enjoying another fantastic weekend – we can always improve.

“We need to keep our collective heads down and remember that it is a long season, and there are plenty more twists and turns still to come.”

Photo credit to: Dickon Siddall.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing maintains strong start at Donington Park

RCIB at Donington Park

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team maintained its strong start to the new Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season after showing front-running pace across the weekend at Donington Park.

The West Thurrock-based team headed to the East Midlands circuit on a high after a breakthrough victory at Brands Hatch earlier in the month, with drivers Sam Tordoff and Rory Butcher confident about fighting at the sharp end of the field.

Leeds racer Sam had endured a weekend to forget at Brands Hatch on his first outing in the team’s Honda Civic Type R, but looked well set to get his championship challenge underway after qualifying in a solid fifth place.

Running fourth in the early stages of the race, Sam battled his way up into the podium places after an early safety car period, but damage sustained in a clash with Josh Cook would then lead to him suffering a spin going into the final chicane.

Dropping down outside the points, Sam nursed the car to the finish to take 13th place and then went into race two focused on pushing back into the top ten.

Up into ninth within three laps of the start, Sam’s race was going to plan early on but a hit from behind going into the Craner Curves on lap seven resulted in a high speed spin across the grass that dropped him down towards the rear of the field. From there, Sam drove well to recover to 14th, although it was very much a case of what might have been.

Running the hard compound tyre in race three, Sam’s weekend ended with a 15th place finish.

Fife ace Rory was keen to build on his Brands Hatch victory but was left on the back foot in qualifying when he was unable to get a clear lap in the changeable conditions and was left down in 19th place on the grid.

The Scot fought his way forwards to eleventh in the opening race of the weekend and then set what would prove the be the fastest race lap of the weekend in race two with a storming run through to fifth.

Sixth on the grid for race three thanks to the reverse grid draw, Rory produced a battling drive on the less favourable hard tyre to secure fourth place and heads away from the weekend sitting just six points off the championship lead.

As at Brands Hatch, Rory also secured Jack Sears Trophy honours for the weekend.

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Qualifying was so disappointing as we didn’t get a decent lap in the conditions and it made race day tough. But I tried to make progress in each race and it worked. We got the fastest lap on the medium tyre and had the quickest car on the hard tyre in race three, which is really good.

“Before race three I thought it would be nice to try and get my tally for the day up to 30 points and that’s what we did. That is the goal for each race meeting and I’m always looking at the bigger picture and the season as a whole.

“The car was strong in the Thruxton test we did recently and whilst a little bit of ballast will hit us going there, we’ll be in the mix. It isn’t about fighting for pole, it’s about challenging for the points on race day that will be key later in the year.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Unfortunately this weekend has been yet another disaster for me. We had another strong qualifying performance to take P5 on Saturday, and I thought our luck had finally turned. However, the contact in race one eventually broke the car and spat me off, and it set the tone for race two. We were coming through nicely and then got turfed off again, which ruined my race.

“Being on the hard tyre in race three, we tried a few radical things thinking ahead to Thruxton. It seemed like a good time to experiment given that the rest of the day hadn’t gone to plan but sadly it didn’t work out, although we did set the fastest lap on the hard tyre.

“We just have to keep trying and keep plugging away because our time will come.”

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It’s been a bit of a mixed bag again this weekend. Rory has done a great job and has driven really well and it means he is right up there in the points after two rounds – and there on merit because he’s picked up some strong results and been right on the pace.

“Sam has been unfortunate with contact in two of the races and it means that he hasn’t picked up the results that he deserves once again this weekend.

“Clearly we have a fast race car and we can go to Thruxton feeling positive that both drivers will be able to push for the podium.”

 

Photo credits with thanks to LAP – Laborne Action Photography

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing keen to build on strong start

RCIB Insurance Racing at Donington Park

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will seek to build on a strong start to the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season when the series heads to Donington Park this weekend for round two.

The West Thurrock-based team secured its first win in the series at Brands Hatch earlier this month thanks to Fife racer Rory Butcher, who heads to the East Midlands circuit sitting fourth in the standings as a result.

Three top ten finishes at the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R marked a solid start to the campaign for the Scottish star, who also tops the Jack Sears Trophy standings for those drivers who went into the 2019 campaign without an overall podium finish.

Rory showed strong pace during testing at Thruxton last week where he was third quickest of the 29 drivers in action, leaving him to head into the Donington meeting in confident mood.

Team-mate Sam Tordoff by contrast endured a tough weekend at Brands Hatch that saw him fail to score on his debut with the team, with the Leeds racer one of a number of fancied runners to find themselves in the wars in Kent.

Despite that tough start, Sam was back up to speed during the Thruxton test, where the #600 Honda ended the day firmly inside the top ten.

Having been one of the pace-setters throughout pre-season testing, Sam now goes to Donington Park – a circuit where he has been victorious in the past – eager to get his championship challenge underway and with his focus firmly on pushing for a big haul of points.

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I’m feeling really good heading for Donington on the back of the results at Brands Hatch and the performance in testing at Thruxton last week. As a team, we are working really well and I feel we are in a strong position to challenge for some more solid results on track.

“The only issue we could face is that the weather forecast seems to be quite unpredictable but at the same time, we know that the Honda is a strong package regardless of whether it is wet, dry or mixed.

“I learned very early in my BTCC career how important it is to keep scoring points and moving forwards, because silly mistakes in qualifying or the opening race can really put you on the back foot for the rest of the weekend. That worked for me at Brands Hatch and I’m taking the same approach into Donington Park, where I’m eager to bring home three strong finishes.

“If we can come away with some more silverware then that will obviously be fantastic, but points make prizes when we get to the end of the year and we have to keep picking them up.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“We’ve got to the bottom of the issue that I had at Brands Hatch and the test at Thruxton has validated that, so now I can head for Donington Park with my focus firmly on getting my season underway.

“Realistically, I’d say we are around 30 points down on where we should be after round one, but it’s a long season and there is no need to panic. There is plenty of time to recover, and we’ve seen in the past how drivers can have a difficult start to the year and still be right in contention at the end of the season.

“I’m heading for Donington feeling confident as we had a strong test there before the season started and it’s a circuit where I have gone well in the past. With no additional weight to carry into the weekend, we should be in a position to qualify well and then hopefully we can put some good points on the board. For me, the season starts now.

“Regardless of what the weather conditions may be, I’m sure we’ll be right in the mix.”

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“Brands Hatch was very much a weekend of highs and lows and whilst it was great to see Rory get his first win, it was hugely disappointing for Sam because of the issues he faced.

“With both cars now fully back up to speed as we showed in the test at Thruxton, we head for Donington Park confident that both Rory and Sam will be able to fight at the sharp end of the field. Sam in particular should benefit from the lack of ballast he’ll be carrying, and there is no reason why both drivers can’t look to score big on race day.

“Having secured silverware at Brands Hatch, we’ve keen to add to it this weekend.”

Photos with thanks to LAP – Laborne Action Photography

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing secures first BTCC victory

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing secures first BTCC victory - Rory with his first silverware!

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team was able to celebrate a breakthrough victory after a dramatic opening to the new Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch.

The West Thurrock-based team headed into the season opener with high hopes of success on track after a solid pre-season testing programme with the Honda Civic Type Rs it is campaigning for the first time this year.

Fife racer Rory Butcher would enjoy a strong start to his season having qualified eleventh on the grid for the opening race of the year in a tricky session held in damp conditions on Saturday afternoon.

Early morning rain on race day led to a gamble on tyres for the opening 24 lap encounter of the year, with Rory electing to go with wet tyres on his Honda – as was the case for most of the drivers ahead.

Whilst that proved to be the wrong call as the anticipated heavier rain didn’t arrive, Rory fought hard to secure a top ten finish as the third best driver on wet tyres.

An eighth place finish followed in race two on the less favourable soft tyre, with the reverse grid draw putting the Scotsman fourth on the grid for the final race of the weekend.

Whilst he slipped back to fifth early on, Rory fought back ahead of Tom Ingram’s Toyota into fourth place and then took advantage of a battle between Stephen Jelley and Matt Neal to pass both drivers in one go exiting Graham Hill Bend on lap 16.

Lapping quicker than leader Tom Chilton ahead, Rory set about trying to chase down his rival before eventually crossing the line in second place for his maiden podium finish. However, a post-session penalty for an on-track incident for Chilton then promoted Rory into first place – meaning a first victory for both driver and team.

Rory also secured Jack Sears Trophy honours for the weekend thanks to his combined results across the three races.

Leeds-based team-mate Sam Tordoff however endured a challenging start to his season as a result of an unidentified issue with his car that would hamper his challenge on race day.

Despite an off in qualifying that resulted in him losing his quickest time, Sam had qualified ninth on the grid for race one only for his race to come to an end on lap two when on-track content damaged the rear suspension on his car.

At the back of the field for race two as a result, Sam fought his way forwards to 19th place at the finish and then just missed out on the points with 16th in race three as he was unable to build on the pace shown throughout pre-season testing.

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type, said:
“It isn’t the way that you want to win a race, but you need a bit of luck in the BTCC sometimes and I’ll certainly take it. I’m so pleased to be the person who gives the AmD team its first win, and it’s an amazing feeling to be able to call myself a BTCC race winner.

“I’m delighted with the weekend as a whole as we battled back from qualifying. I stayed calm and tried to progress in each race, and I knew that we could take advantage of it we had the chance to be near the front.

“I can’t thank the team enough and we showed strong pace in each race in different conditions. The only mistake was not to roll the dice on the tyres in race one, but it’s a nice feeling to have some silverware and I’m buzzing about the way things have gone.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type, said:
“It’s hard to know what to say about the weekend to be honest. We had such high hopes of a strong performance but there has been a fundamental issue on my car that we just haven’t been able to resolve.

“We have to just put Brands Hatch behind us, and my season will start when we get to Donington Park in a few weeks time.”

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal:
“This really has been a weekend of mixed emotions for us as a team. We came here with such high hopes of a strong performance for both drivers and the fact we were disappointed with our best ever qualifying performance shows how our expectations have been raised this year.

“On one hand, I’m delighted for Rory with the results he had gained on track as he has done a great job and has shown why we rate him so highly as both a driver and a person. He’s been on the pace throughout race day and for him to take our first win is brilliant.

“On the other, it’s so disappointing for Sam as he has been quick throughout testing and then when it mattered today, he has been unable to show it through no fault of his own. His car will be stripped down when we get back to base to get to the bottom of the issues there have been today, as the results are certainly down to something with the car rather than anything he has done behind the wheel.

“When we get to Donington Park, we’ll look forward to both cars running towards the sharp end.”

Pics with thanks to LAP – Laborne Action Photography.

Introducing…the 2019 AmDTuning/Cobrasport with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Grid Girls!

Meet Serena and Michelle

On the eve of the first live qualifying sessions for the first rounds of the 2019 Kwik Fit BTCC season (Brands Hatch this weekend), many thoughts and discussions are understandably around the drivers, who has been looking sharp in testing, and the new car and team set ups for the season ahead.

But, we thought we’d break a little with tradition and instead introduce our loyal grid girls for the season ahead in advance of the race days.

Before we introduce Michelle and Serena separately, we thought we’d just remind readers of what it is that the girls have to endure for the team. Many would be forgiven for thinking the roles are simply to be a glamourous representive of a driver for a few minutes before a race, and indeed, this is part of the job description. But, in addition to wielding the driver placards before each race, Michelle and Serena need to leave their already very busy lives (see below) to get to the tracks around the country, more often or not staying overnight in hotels away from their families to sometimes stand in the pouring rain, or freezing cold, or very occasionally, blazing sunshine…all the time with a smile on their faces. Not only that, but the grid girls also have fans of their own and as representatives of the team and the team sponsors, the girls spend much of a race day posing with fans, signing autographs and having chats, trackside or in the team garage.

We think we are particulary lucky to have Michelle and Serena represent our team because, glamour and style aside, they are HUGE petrolheads themselves, as you’ll now discover:

Michelle: Those of you who have met Michelle previously will firstly recall her extremely bubbly and approachable personality, but many others may also remember her when she was a 2017 promo girl for Mike Brewer and Ant Anstead from Wheeler Dealers (Sky Discovery Channel) for their “classic rumble” charity build event at NEC.

Michelle's Cosworth

As a big motorsport enthusiast anyway, Michelle has attended BTCC events for many years, starting off like many others watching from the fences and was then lucky enough to make it onto the grid as an AmD Grid Girl for the 2018 BTCC season during which time she worked on track with: Tom Boardman, Glynn Geddie, Sam Smelt, Josh Caygill and Ollie Jackson. For this season she’ll be with Sam Tordoff.

Off track, Michelle has also recently been a featured fashion model on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ with Phillip and Holly. On non race weekends she can be found at race tracks and at Ford events, where she has achieved multiple concours wins with herm and her partners Escort Cosworth “Monte Carlo”. Michelle then became the owner of her “very own” Escort Cosworth which she love to show at events around the country. At present she (the Cosworth!) is currently undergoing a restoration which Michelle has been a huge part of, which included stripping down the engine to cleaning every nut and bolt ready to enter into her first concours season.

Serena:

For last season (2018) Serena worked on grid with Rory. Considering the remarkable season that Rory had, we think Serena must have been a calming influence! Prior to the 2018 season, Serena had promo experience, but just not on the grid, but had also been involved in motorsport for years in a different capacity as Serena’s father was a former endurance driver in a Lola t70, Fastback Mustang and a Camaro.

Serena's RS Turbo Phase 1

Also, like Michelle, Serena has her own passion for cars, and RS Fords again too, coincidently, as she currently owns a Mk4 Escort RS Turbo that she herself has been ‘tracking’ for years.. and she is now rebuilding the car back to standard. Serena is also heavily involved in her husband’s gorgeous Mk3 Escort RS Turbo (Phase 1)  which is a gold cup winning modified concours car.

serena on track

Serena, like Michelle, was also a promo girl for Discovery TV’s ‘Wheeler Dealers’ and for Mike Brewer’s and Ant Anstead’s “Classic Rumble” charity build-off at the NEC two years ago. Along side the BTCC grid work this season, Serena is also doing a charity modelling competition for ‘UK Calendar Girls’.

With this much knowledge and experience about cars and track racing amongst the grid girls, we sometimes wonder if they give the drivers tips and advice before each race, as well as representing them in all weathers!

Laser Tools Racing in readiness for Opening Rounds at Brands Hatch

Aidens Moffats Mercedes 2019

As the first rounds of the new BTCC season approach, Aiden Moffat and his Laser Tools Racing team have been extensively testing his Mercedes-Benz A-Class touring car after its mega strip-down and rebuild over the winter months.

The big news for 2019 is that the car is now fully prepared and maintained at Laser Tools Racing’s new facility in Scotland. “We are now fully in control,” explained Aiden, “We have built an all-new facility which gives us the engineering and preparation capability together with full bodyshop and painting, which means that we can also offer customers full race car preparation and repair.

“The Mercedes was completely stripped down to a bare shell, then carefully examined and repaired where necessary after the punishment these cars take over a full season’s racing. We then took the opportunity to carefully examine the structure of the body shell and with assistance from our race engineers, it has been carefully modified to increase strength and stiffness, optimise the weight distribution and we’ve made it lighter as well.

“This has paid dividends already, as we’ve been track testing at every opportunity, visiting Snetterton, Donington, Oulton Park, Knockhill, two days at Croft and now we’ve just had another two days at Brands Hatch.

“And I’m immensely proud to say that the car has behaved impeccably, which gives me tremendous confidence for the season ahead. With the bright new livery, and the fact that I am the most focussed, excited and eager for a new season than I have ever been before, I am really looking forward to it.

“In my opinion, the BTCC is getting more competitive every year. Every team and every driver are stepping up their game, so we have to do the same. Our biggest aim this year is consistency; that can be a challenge of course, but now that we are preparing the car in-house and with the obvious improvements we’ve made, it is certainly a realistic challenge.”

The 2019 BTCC season kicks off at Brands Hatch over the weekend of April 6/7.

More details from:

www.lasertoolsracing.co.uk

www.aidenmoffat.co.uk