Toyota Gazoo at Brands Hatch

Toyota Gazoo Racing UK ready to go ‘on the attack’ at Brands Hatch

 

Toyota Gazoo Racing UK is Brands Hatch-bound this weekend (6/7 May) for the second instalment of the 2023 British Touring Car Championship campaign, as the Speedworks Motorsport-run squad returns to a happy hunting ground.It was around Brands’ short, 1.21-mile Indy loop that Speedworks – a BTCC stalwart for the past decade – achieved its first pole position and victory in the UK’s premier motor racing series in 2016 with the Toyota Avensis. Since the British-built Corolla GR Sport entered the fray in 2019, the Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit has tallied four further rostrum finishes at the track, including a hat-trick three years ago – raising hopes of a successful weekend ahead.

Rory Butcher was a winner at Brands Indy in both 2019 and 2020, and increased his career podium count at the circuit last season as he mastered mixed conditions to cement three strong finishes. The 36-year-old Kirkcaldy native – a former BTCC Independents’ Champion – was on the front-running pace there during the official pre-season test, and has his sights firmly set on adding to his silverware collection.

Ricky Collard has similarly triumphed on the Indy layout in the past, ascending the top step of the rostrum en route to the championship runner-up spoils in the MSA Formula single-seater series in 2015 behind current McLaren Formula 1 driver, Lando Norris. The 26-year-old Surrey-born star achieved the team’s best result in the Donington Park curtain-raiser last month with a sixth-place finish – something he is bidding to build upon at Brands Hatch.

In the third Corolla, series sophomore George Gamble impressed on his Toyota Gazoo Racing UK debut on home soil at Donington; scything through the high-calibre field in all three contests, he was unlucky not to come away with a trophy for his efforts after briefly running third in race two. The 26-year-old from Nottingham also boasts a stellar previous record at Brands Indy, having claimed multiple victories there in the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup and Porsche Carrera Cup GB on his way up the TOCA support series ladder.

Notably, this weekend will herald the re-introduction of the Goodyear ‘Option’ tyre, which must be used at least once over the course of the three BTCC races and which will add an extra element of strategy into the equation.

Following Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session at 15:25 – streamed on both itv.com/btcc and ITV Sport’s YouTube channel – every moment of Sunday’s doorhandle-to-doorhandle action will be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4, beginning at 11:15.

Christian Dick, Team Principal, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, said:

“We always look forward to going to Brands Hatch. It was the scene of our big BTCC breakthrough in 2016, when we proved we were capable of winning at the highest level of British motorsport – a real milestone in the Speedworks story.

“We’ve obviously since gone on to win a lot more, but we never take that success for granted and continue to work ever-harder and aim ever-higher. Our target entering every race meeting is to come away with a trophy – and that is no different this weekend.”

Rory Butcher, Driver, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, said:

“We learnt a lot at Donington Park, about the new engine, how it interacts with the overall package and the revisions to the hybrid rules, and I think we ended the weekend in a much stronger position than where we had begun. I was certainly much happier with the Corolla by race three, and felt I had a car underneath me that I could really go on the attack with.

“I’m confident we can carry that improvement forward to Brands Hatch – a circuit I always enjoy going to – and if we can pick up fromwhere we left off, there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t be right in the mix.”

Ricky Collard, Driver, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, said:

“We definitely didn’t fulfil our potential at Donington Park, so that has to be the primary focus this weekend. The pace is clearly there, but as ever when you introduce something new, it takes a little time for everything to ‘click’ so hopefully we can make further progress at Brands Hatch.

“It might look relatively simple on paper, but the Indy Circuit is arguably the biggest challenge of the season in qualifying with 27 cars all fighting over the same piece of asphalt – and securing a strong grid position will be key to setting ourselves up for a successful race day.”

George Gamble, Driver, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, said:

“I’ve only raced at Brands Indy once before in the BTCC, but I’ve got a lot of good memories of the track from the support series and it’s somewhere I’ve usually tended to go well, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the Corolla is capable of round there.

“The ‘Option’ tyre will be something new for me and it will be interesting to see how that plays out in terms of strategy, and hopefully we can convert the speed we showed at Donington into some really solid results. Everybody in the team has been working super-hard over the last week, so it would be fantastic to reward them all with some silverware this weekend.”

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