We have been waiting for a long time for this moment and it has finally arrived… BTCC is back!The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s 60th anniversary campaign has sparked into life last weekend at Brands Hatch, with arguably the most decorated line-up in its history, full of race winners and five champions that prepare themselves to battle for the most coveted prize in British motorsport.
Rob’s Blog is home to HiQ’s dedicated BTCC blogger, racing star and fan favourite Rob Austin. Known for his loyal following, aviator sun glasses and competitive nature Rob will be providing an insight into the championship, the team and himself by focusing on his thoughts and feelings after each round. Rob will also be discussing the lighter side of life in the paddock.
Finally… the British Touring Car Championship is back! Have we all missed it? I know I for one have! Since the 2016 season finished we have been keeping ourselves busy – all the way through the off-season. We’ve moved workshops, redeveloped the Toyota, put the work in to get our sponsorship in place, decided on colour schemes, clothing and all the little things that are easily forgotten.
Well that’s it, the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is now over. Congratulations to our champion Gordon Shedden, a worthy victor, and commiserations to Sam Tordoff who had led the championship for so long only to lose it during the final race of the season. I have to say, I admire how Sam handled himself throughout, I’m really not sure I could have been so composed in his situation.
More progress and a trophy but still no luck.When I committed to this move to Handy Motorsport I knew there would be a lot to learn and a lot to adjust to for everyone involved however I felt the package as a whole would be a winner.
So coming in to round 8 of the BTCC we were put on the back foot before the weekend even started when we received a 1 second time penalty for an incident at Knockhill, this was my third strike and meant we had to start at the back for race 1.Now I love this championship, nothing else comes close.
A hard fought points haulI love Knockhill! It’s my favourite circuit in the UK next to Thruxton, and although it favours the cars driven by the rear wheels, off the back of our podium result at Snetterton I was excited to see what we could do.
Finally…!In my last blog I said that we had turned a corner and we were expecting things to start to turn around, well after only qualifying 23rd and not having a clue why… to say we were devastated would be an understatement.
Hindsight is a frustrating thing for me as I look back on the first half of the season. A lot of things have gone right. I am able to focus much better for a race weekend now and I’m far less stressed out driving for Handy Motorsport rather than running my own team.The car is a much more suited base car than the Audis.
Another step forward and 3 solid points scoring results... But, frustratingly, still miles away from our full potential!So I came to Thruxton very excited off the back of two very strong races at Donington, hoping the issues from previous weekends were behind us and that we could have a clean run at the race weekend at one of my favourite circuits.
A good job considering...So overall we were happy coming away from Donington having made progress with the car, shown pace and taken away two sensible results. However, until race 2, it seemed like I had done something horribly wrong in a former life and fate was against us.