Rich Energy BTC Racing ready for flat-out Thruxton challenge

Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship’s speed demons will be lapping up the fastest track on the UK calendar this weekend at Thruxton and the Rich Energy BTC Racing will be heading to the Hampshire circuit looking to maintain It's winning momentum.

The ambitious Brackley-based team, which runs a trio of Honda Civic Type Rs, goes into the third meeting of the BTCC calendar off the back of two victories last time out at Brands Hatch.

Racer Josh Cook vaulted up to second place in the chase for the drivers’ championship and is just eight points from the summit. Team-mates Jason Plato and Jade Edwards were also points scorers in Kent and are optimistic about the challenge ahead.

Bath ace Cook will be particularly looking forward to the races at Thruxton, a track where he has won seven times in the category’s last six visits.

The 30-year-old says past success will have no bearing on his performance, particularly as he faces an uphill battle in qualifying. His position in the points table means he will only be able to access the new hybrid power boost for 1.5 seconds per lap while some of the others will be able to use the extra electrical power for up to 15 seconds per lap.

Cook says: “Thruxton has been good for us previously but that doesn’t really count for anything because we all know how close the grid is in the British Touring Car Championship.

“The hybrid system is going to be a new adventure for all of us around that track and we aren’t certain what effect it is going to have – but we know we will facing a success penalty. All we can do is make sure we get the most out of our car, the engine and that I am performing at the top of my game.”

Plato has also experienced big success at the airfield track, with six of his 97 career wins having come on the circuit. He also had the chance to sample the Honda at the BTCC’s pre-season test at the same venue and is going into the meeting targeting some big results.

Plato says: “We know we have a good set-up for Thruxton. We tested there earlier in the year and I felt really good in the car. There are few tiny areas where we can improve further and that is part of the journey getting used to the Honda.

“But we know that the car is superb around there and, if the balls roll my way, I have got to be looking at a healthy points haul in all three races this weekend.”

After scoring points last time out with some wheel-to-wheel battling at Brands Hatch, Edwards is aiming to build on her progress in Hampshire, a circuit she enjoys. She is deep in the heart of the battle for the Jack Sears Trophy as well – an accolade awarded to drivers who had yet to score an overall podium finish at the beginning of the campaign.

The 32 -year-old said: “I absolutely love Thruxton – I used to be an instructor at the track – and it has been good to me in the past. I haven’t had much luck there in a BTCC car yet and that has to change soon.

“I want to carry on where I left off at Brands Hatch with some competitive races. I gained a lot of confidence and I have set a bar for myself now: I need to make progress in each round. I have my eyes on the Jack Sears Trophy too. I am third in the points for that and I am desperate to make a breakthrough and stand on the podium.”

Rich Energy BTC Racing took its third Independent Teams’ triumph of the campaign at Brands Hatch and team principal Danny Buxton is eager to build on the successful start this weekend.

“The effect of the hybrid system is likely to be quite significant around Thruxton,” he explains. “There are some long radius corners and they lead to straights where the hybrid boost will be a real advantage. It is going to require some strategic thinking on Josh’s part, but we will still be chasing strong results over the three rounds.

“While Josh will have that handicap, that is not the situation with either Jason or Jade, and that means we have to be optimistic. Jason has a great record around the track and we are expecting a good qualifying performance from him. Jade, too, has great knowledge of Thruxton and will want to capitalise on the really strong impression she left after Brands Hatch with some superb lap times.”

Qualifying for the third meeting of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be streamed live on the website, while there is full race day coverage on ITV4 throughout Sunday. The broadcast starts at 1100hrs. Race one starts at 1140hrs, race two at 1440hrs and the weekend’s finale is at 1720hrs.

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