The seven week long summer break comes to an end for the Triple Eight Race Engineering with Collins Contractors team this weekend as ‘hostilities’ resume in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at the Snetterton race circuit, near Thetford in Norfolk.
Snetterton is familiar territory for the BTCC. However, this weekend the team will find a big difference from seasons past. For the first time the UK’s premier motor racing series will be racing on the new 2.99 mile-long ‘Snetterton 300’ circuit which has been developed over the past winter by venue owners Motorsport Vision. The revised layout uses much of the old circuit though a tight 1 mile-long infield section is all new.
Triple Eight-run Vauxhalls have won a record 12 modern era BTCC races at Snetterton, four more wins than any other manufacturer and both James Nash, currently 5th in the Championship standings and 2 nd placed rookie driver Tony Gilham will be looking to add to that tally. Rising star Nash has still to win officially in the BTCC, though with three 2nd places already under his belt this season, his first win cannot be far away. Gilham meanwhile already has happy memories of Snetterton, the circuit being the venue for his full-time racing debut back in 2005.
“During the summer break I’ve managed to combine business with pleasure with a trip to China and I’ve had a bit of a holiday too in Spain. So with batteries recharged I’m ready for action.”
“I’m really looking forward to racing again at Snetterton. I loved the old circuit layout so I’m eager to see how they’ve changed it. I’m going to get up there early on Friday afternoon and have a walk round to see what its all about.”
“I’ve been working non-stop since the last race, trying to get new sponsors on-board; looking after existing sponsors, making sure they’re happy which is always my prime concern; and a few things for my own businesses. So very, very busy.”
“It seems a long time since we raced and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel again. I’m particularly looking forward to this weekend because, like James I’ve always really rated Snetterton and once I’ve seen the new layout I’m hoping that I’ll still feel the same.”
Ian Harrison, Chairman Triple Eight:
“The fact that nobody in the Championship as far as I know has yet raced on the new ‘Snetterton 300’ circuit should help to even things up a bit. We’ve done pretty well here in recent years so hopefully James and Tony can bag a few more trophies for our reception area back at Greatworth.”
Photos: Keith Hubbleday