Airwaves Racing is hoping to kick off its season proper at Thruxton after two challenging race weekends so far in the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The team has grappled with both set-up and reliability issues up to now, but is quietly confident that this weekend at Thruxton in Hampshire (4-5 May) will see a reversal in fortunes.
The Motorbase squad has a good record at Thruxton, with Mat Jackson taking a second place in 2011 and a win in 2012 driving the S2000 specification Ford Focus ST. Jackson is adamant that this must be the turning point in the season if he is to challenge for the overall title, as he is currently sitting in tenth in the championship standings just behind his team-mate Aron Smith.
Jackson comments, "Since Donington we've gone back to basics to try and find the pace in the car. We’re basically starting again from scratch from what we've learnt so far and trying a completely different set-up to move try and move forward."
"Thruxton will be pivotal for us this season; we need to get some solid points this weekend to get back in the fight for the championship and our fortunes have to change!"
Smith goes into the weekend with perhaps a less radical approach to set-up, feeling that his car was much improved at Donington and on the right track to becoming competitive with the front-runners.
"The Hampshire circuit is one that the Irishman relishes, commenting "I've always loved Thruxton; it's the track on the calendar that I count down the days in anticipation! The track is the fastest in the UK and one of those tracks that every lap is on the edge, from what I've learnt at Donington our car was strong through the high-speed sections which will suit Thruxton. I'm hoping that this weekend will be the start of our championship."
The relentless speed and abrasive nature of the track will make it a difficult challenge for those teams bringing brand new NGTC cars there for the first time, and tyre management will undoubtedly be crucial. With chassis settings key in this regard, all eyes will undoubtedly be on the two Airwaves Racing machines to see if the changes the team has made can deliver stronger results.