Senna Proctor and Josh Cook celebrate BTCC podium success at Croft
Double Independents Trophy podium in race one for BTC Racing team
Mixed weekend for unfortunate Jade Edwards in North Yorkshire
Brackley squad’s home event just days away at Silverstone National
Title challenging Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship team BTC Racing celebrated podium success at Croft Circuit near Darlington on Sunday, 19th September, with Senna Proctor and Josh Cook both adding more silverware to their respective 2021 tallies.
Yorkshireman Proctor, making his first appearance at his local track in BTC Racing colours, was rapid from the outset and after racing to third overall and second in the Independents Trophy in round 19, he added a brace of eighth places in the remaining two contests in his Honda Civic Type-R FK8.
Team-mate Cook was fifth in race one and third in the Independents and, even with 57kg of success ballast onboard his car, posted the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m22.667 seconds. Taking his sixth outright podium in round 20 with third place, second in the Independents, he then rounded off the weekend with fifth in round 21, fourth in class.
Jade Edwards experienced another event of mixed fortunes with a best result of 15th place in the Independents, 21st position overall, in the second contest. On course to finish 14th in class and inside the outright top 18 in race one, a puncture late-on ended those hopes. Race three was also frustrating, the PHSC with BTC Racing driver caught-up in the aftermath of first corner contact.
Proctor, who was fastest in free practice two, qualified fourth on the grid for race one – just a tenth of a second shy of pole position – and at the start he launched well before passing Colin Turkington’s BMW for third into Tower. Just behind, team-mate Cook slipped back from seventh to eighth initially before delivering a superb pass around the outside, also at Tower, to climb into the top six.
On lap three Cook, even with 57kg of success ballast onboard, produced another star move – this time at Sunny Out – to take fifth and he then set fastest lap on the fourth tour. The two soft-tyre shod BTC cars then remained in position to the flag on lap 18, Proctor sealing a great third place and second in the Independents with Cook fifth and third in the Independents.
Edwards, also on soft Goodyear tyres, produced a fantastic drive and made great progress from 23rd overall on the grid. Gaining two places on the opening lap, she broke into the outright top 20 on lap three and climbed as high as 18th overall, 14th in the Independents, on lap 11. Cruelly, a puncture on the penultimate lap led to a spin and pit visit before finishing 19th in class and 27th overall.
From third on the grid, but with a heftier 57kg of ballast onboard after his race one podium, Proctor maintained position off the start as team-mate Cook, with 39kg of weight in his Honda, challenged Turkington for fourth. Passing the BMW at Hawthorn, the pair ran side-by-side to Tower and then exchanged paintwork into the Jim Clark Esses – Cook emerging ahead with great determination.
Following a Safety Car period between laps three and six, the action resumed with Cook eager to get ahead of the sister BTC car. Boldly moving through into third on lap nine at Sunny In, Cook set about pressuring for second place but he soon came under attack himself and in the end had to work very hard indeed to hang on to a deserved podium, second in the independents Trophy.
Proctor, meanwhile, was ultimately shuffled down to eighth during an increasingly frenetic and contact-heavy encounter. After losing fourth to Turkington on lap 10, he was elbowed back to eighth, fifth in the Independents, on lap 11. Regaining seventh overall a couple of laps later, he was then edged back to eighth again four laps from home – sixth in class.
Having gained a place on the first lap, Edwards set about pushing further forward following the Safety Car period and by lap seven she was inside the top 20 and 14th in the Independents. Once again running very competitively, Edwards lapped strongly and ultimately finished 21st overall and 15th in class, her eighth Independents Trophy points finish of the season.
Cook lined-up fifth on the grid for the final race of the weekend with Proctor a row behind in eighth place. Both launched without drama, Cook having a look to take fourth into Clervaux, but a little further behind a multi-car tangle into the first turn eliminated Edwards. Having started in 21st place, she was caught-up in the aftermath of multi-car contact and retired to the pits at the end of the lap.
Following the resulting Safety Car, Cook and Proctor continued in fifth and eighth respectively. The former tried everything he could to break into the top four, but he remained a fraction shy for the duration of the 16 laps – taking fourth in the Independents battle.
Proctor slipped to ninth on lap four, behind Adam Morgan’s BMW, but when Morgan and Jake Hill made contact two laps later at the complex the BTC man moved back inside the top eight and he stayed there to the conclusion to also finish sixth again in the Independents Trophy.
There’s now no rest at all for the BTCC teams and drivers with rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the season taking place this coming weekend, 25th/26th September, at BTC Racing’s ‘home’ track – Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire.
Josh Cook – BTC Racing Driver, No.66:
“I am really pleased with how we got on at Croft, as it was always going to be a challenge carrying the [success ballast] weight from the start of the weekend. We had good pace in both free practice sessions, and qualified seventh.
“Race one on the soft tyre, we finished fifth, and in race two we got into a podium position with P3. In the final race of the day we finished in P5 despite the reverse grid, so another set of solid points finishes which keeps me in the Drivers’ Championship running. Onwards to Silverstone.”
Senna Proctor – BTC Racing Driver, No.18:
“We had a great weekend at Croft, with really good pace that resulted in qualifying near the front and converting that to a podium in race one. Races two and three went well, although we struggled with the extra success ballast in the car. We picked up more championship points, though, putting me eighth in the standings now.”
Jade Edwards – PHSC with BTC Racing Driver, No.99:
“Qualifying was very stop-start due to multiple red flags, but we felt we had good pace irrespective of our starting position. Race one was up there with one of the most enjoyable of the season, 23rd to 18th and feeling strong pace wise with some good clean racing – until the puncture! In race two we gained six places but didn’t quite feel like I had the pace to match race one.
“Obviously, race three ended before it started as I was caught-up, once again, in someone else’s mess. Thankfully, although we had race-ending damage we actually came away with a fairly intact car. The positives are, the overall pace is better and I nailed my starts which I’m happy with.”
Steve Dudman – BTC Racing Owner and Team Principal:
“Croft delivered a great, solid performance from all three drivers and the whole team did an impeccable job with the cars – all our people are first class. Jade produced a great drive in race one, showing her real metal, only to be thwarted by a last lap puncture and we saw great drives from Senna and Josh too, reaching the podium.
“It always makes us proud to see BTC on the podium and a very solid team points scoring weekend, we are still at the very sharp end in the championship. I’d like to also give some recognition to our great support staff in media and hospitality and the time taken with our guests, explaining what goes on behind the scenes at BTC Racing. Thank you to everyone for their hard work. We are so looking forward to Silverstone where we will be relentless for success.”
BTCC Teams Championship
2nd BTC Racing, 398pts
BTCC Independents Teams Championship
2nd BTC Racing, 313pts
BTCC Drivers Championship
4th Josh Cook, 211pts; 8th Senna Proctor, 162pts; 20th Dan Cammish, 30pts; 26th Jade Edwards, 1pt
BTCC Independents Trophy
3rd Josh Cook, 243pts; 7th Senna Proctor, 200pts; 17th Dan Cammish, 32pts; 19th Jade Edwards, 16pts
BTCC Jack Sears Trophy
6th Jade Edwards, 185pts