April 21, 2024

Defending champions NAPA Racing UK are set for the opening rounds of the new Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season after concluding pre-season testing with a pace-setting performance at Donington Park.

The test at Donington Park, which will play host to the opening three races of the season next weekend, was the third and final official test of the winter and saw all 20 cars currently featured on the entry list take to the track.

Keen to further refine the title-winning Ford Focus ST after a number of upgrades were introduced during the winter, the Alliance Racing-run squad topped the times at the East Midlands circuit with reigning champion Ash Sutton, who was able to set the only sub 1:08s lap of the day.

That came during limited running in the afternoon before the arrival of rain, with Sutton edging team-mate Dan Cammish out of top spot and Dan Rowbottom also lapping inside the top five.

Sam Osborne meanwhile was 15th on the combined times, and third quickest of those driver who are eligible to battle for the Jack Sears Trophy.

Pre-season running had kicked off in early April with a day of running at Brands Hatch, which had been the home circuit for the NAPA Racing UK team before it relocated to new premises in the Midlands.

A hugely productive day on track saw the four drivers complete more than 500 laps of the short Indy circuit and whilst the focus was on development work rather than chasing outright lap times, both Sutton and Cammish were little over three-tenths of a second off the pace.

The Focus would also show strong pace at Croft during the second test, where mixed weather conditions once again played a part – although Cammish, Sutton and Rowbottom all lapped inside the top six.

“We have made great use of the wet weather to really refine our wet setup and some of the findings have filtered down into the dry setups too. We’ve had a pretty well structured testing plan building our knowledge and understanding of the Focus, which allows us to dial a car in quicker on race weekends with limited practice before qualifying! As a summary I think we’ve taken a small step forwards this year and it’ll be interesting to see how we measure up against the competition at round 1 in just over a week!” Antonio Carrozza, Chief Engineer. 


With plenty of mileage under their belts, the four drivers now return to Donington Park on the 27/28 April for rounds one, two and three of the season looking to replicate the results seen twelve months ago, where Rowbottom scored pole and Cammish went on to secure a double win.


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