David Bartrum's Blog
Motorbase BTCC blog – 27th August 2012
Race day at Snetterton was a big day for us. Every now and then, things go right and the summary of that weekend was that it went right. Saturday morning we pitched up with the NGTC car and didn't know what was going to happen.
On race day we started from a very apprehensive 16th spot on the grid, because you are right in a whole world of hurt there in touring cars. But Mat Jackson kept it together and raced it round to P8 in the first race, which was brilliant. That was already more than we were expecting. It was really just a shakedown. But we came to race two and Mat went P6, so happy days. For the last race of the day we didn't come out of the grid draw that well but Mat went out and got P4. He had one slide when there was an issue with the power steering and that cost him a podium. But to get a P8, P6 and P4: I'd have had that deal if it had been offered before the weekend.
We did two free practice sessions, qualifying and three races and the car didn't miss a beat. That was all the running it had and it was in full public view. But it wasn't all about the NGTC car. Aron Smith did a sterling job as well. In race one, we made a bit of an underestimation. The big worry at Snetterton is always tyre wear, because it is a hard circuit on tyres. The decision we made on set up was too conservative and we didn't go aggressive enough. When we looked at the tyres after the race they were mint and he was slow because of the car we gave him.
For race two we went more aggressive and Aron was more aggressive as well and he got a good result. In race three, he didn't get anything out of the reverse grid and he was P10 on the grid, but he raced through to P6 and he wasn't that far behind Mat in P4. So Aron had a very good weekend and if he'd had a better car for race one, I think he could have been on the podium. I really want Aron to get his first podium because he deserves it. But Snetterton was an excellent weekend for him. It was one of his best weekends so far and showed the turn of speed he has got. He kept out of trouble in race one, which is crucial.
The great thing about the new car is that it scored 31 points at Snetterton, which was one of best scores of the season so far, and Aron hauled some good points as well.
After Snetterton we went back to the workshop in a hurry. We re-prepped the cars and took the new car testing at Brands on the Wednesday. We also took a Porsche to try a couple of new drivers for next year. We did quite a lot of running with the NGTC car. We did some more flat patch work on the car and then put it in the truck on Tuesday for the journey to Scotland. So it hasn't stood still since Snetterton. We knew Liam Griffin wasn't doing Knockhill due to a family celebration, so with just two cars to re-prep it was quite serene. They were both in pretty good order after Snetterton.
On the Tuesday after Snetterton we were invited to participate in Toyota Tin Top Tuesday, myself and Mr Jackson. It is operated from the world headquarters of the Alan Hyde Corporation, in a very nice studio. If you make your rider demands early, you get all that you want. I wanted a comfy chair, frozen peas because I'd hurt my back, fudge bars, tea and cherry bakewells!