We caught up with Motorbase Team Manager Oly Collins after the first test of the new BTCC Ford Focus ST

It was the first time the new Focus ST turned a wheel. What are your initial thoughts of the new car? 

We were delighted to have such a good first run, it’s a testament to everyone who has been involved in the project that it went so well. You’re always nervous what might not work properly or as you hope, so when it does everything it should it’s a great relief.

What did the drivers think of the car? 

They loved it, they all drove well and no one put a foot wrong. There were obvious comparisons between new and old. Its early days and we’re very aware that there is plenty of work to do, but a great start.

Photo by Gary Hawkins

What do you look for when a new car runs for the first time? 

Reliability/and or problems. You just need to find out what you need to change if anything. The shorter the list the better. Once you’re past that hurdle then you start pushing the car a bit more.

Is it helpful to have the RS on track as well to compare the two cars?                     

Very helpful, we have worked with the RS for 2 years and therefore have a lot of data so its really good to have a reference to something we know. All 3 drivers offer a different perspective as well. Ollie has a year under his belt of the RS so can compare straight away with the differences, Rory has the Honda from last year in which he was very successful and though Andy has been away for a while he has a good reference to his experience too. 3 experienced drivers feedback is great.

Is there a big difference between the two cars?

Yes and no, there are some obvious differences straight away but we’re running the same suspension, engine, gearbox etc

What made you choose the new Focus ST to build and develop? 

We chose the Ford for various reasons, we have been running Fords for 10 years now, we have a great relationship with Mountune so we get to carry over our engines into the new car and we love the Ford brand.

Both Rory and Ollie are sharing the car during the first tests. How easy is it to swap between the two drivers? 

Not too bad considering the height differences, just seat and pedal position really for this test, we hope to have Rory’s car ready very soon so they will get their own cars to play with and won’t have to share then!

When will the second car hit the track? 

Soon

Andy was out on track in the Focus RS. How is his test plan going? 

Andy had a great first day. Obviously having been away from racing cars for a few years he needed sometime to get back into the groove but it didn’t take long. He worked really well with our engineers and his feedback was great. We ran through a few changes which worked well. We got half a day of dry running and then bang on cue for the afternoon we got half a day of wet running so a really productive first test.

What is the rest of the plan for pre season? 

We have a few more tests planned before the start of the season as well as obviously the media day, so hopefully everything continues in the same way

Motorbase Performance 2020
Photo by Gary Hawkins