David Bartrum's Blog
Motorbase 30th March 2012
I think at the British Touring Car media day was everyone playing a bluff. No one was showing their true hand and no one was going fast. Some of the boys with new NGTC cars were on the back foot and it looked a bit too early for Dynamics and it was certainly far too early for Triple 8. I think they needed another two months and I don't think anyone was keen to show their hand. We're not going to know the true situation until qualifying this weekend.
With the equivalency rules this year I don't think anyone will hold back. Qualifying is one thing and people can get a lap out of a car. Getting a race distance out of a car, particularly an NGTC car, could go well for us or could go against us. The NGTC cars are heavier, but they have bigger brakes, bigger wheels and more durable tyres that will last longer. I think the compensation is already in the car and I don't think they will struggle against our cars, and it could be the other way around. We've all got to get through this first weekend and see where the pace really is. It's all about whether the equivalency rules are kind to us or not. We'll see if the scientific way that the boost levels have been looked at is okay: we all know the boost levels for each other's cars and there are some surprises and some things that are not surprises, so we'll just have to see what comes.
Being such a short lap, Brands Hatch is a difficult one to judge from and it's only when we get to Donington Park and Thruxton that things will start to show. I don't think Brands Hatch will give a clear comparison of where we are as a lot of people are still learning.
We're probably the only team that has stayed with the same package. Even with the teams with Super 2000 cars and NGTC engines, the cars are new to them. Team Pirtek and Team Honda have been testing, but the car is new to them and you don't know the stresses and strains on a car until you are running down the straight close together and everything is going on. You then learn what will last and what won't. So we are possibly in a better position than most because we're sitting in the same equipment as last year.
We know what improvements we've made over the winter and we've got a base line with two out of our three drivers as well as a very good addition. Since the media day we've done quite a lot of work with the touring cars. We've carried out various modifications, so we've not run the cars since the media day. Michael Caine did some of the testing for us while Mat Jackson was away working with McLaren and Michael is very good with feedback. We've done mods to the suspension and gearbox and we put those mods onto the other two cars after media day. The cars have all had fresh engines and new corners because they did quite a lot of running in pre-season testing.
We ran the Porsche GT car in for an hour at Brands Hatch, and then went to Oulton Park for a proper test on the Friday. We then did the media day at Silverstone on the Wednesday and then came back to Brands on the following Friday. Daniele Perfetti drove it for the first time on the media day. Steve Parish came along on the Friday and did 19 laps as well. He did his run, came in, I opened the passenger side door and he said: "just get one, David!" He liked it a lot and he looked comfortable in the car and so the current mission is to find another 911 GT3R for Steve. We want to find him a partner for the season, but if we get a car in time for Oulton Park next weekend we've got a plan of who we want to put in with him: Nick Tandy.