“You can’t win everything.”
Words that have been uttered for as long as man has been competitive. And especially fitting for the weekend Power Maxed TAG Racing had at Oulton Park.
Spirits were high within the team as we readied ourselves for the fourth weekend of racing this season. Carrying almost full success ballast, and with the Cheshire track known for favouring rear-wheel-drive cars, we knew that we were going to struggle to maintain the momentum we’d had since Brands Hatch. Much of the track, set in the rolling hills surrounding Tarporley, is uphill, which makes the beautiful circuit especially sensitive to additional weight.
The weekend was hampered from the off, with both Josh Cook and Senna Proctor finding it challenging to better the times of the less encumbered cars. Come Saturday afternoon’s Qualifying session, we were quietly confident that the cars were where they should be. But it was not to be.
Following a suspension component failure early in the session, Josh was forced to sit in the pit box for a frustrating amount of time, whilst the team worked relentlessly to get the car back on track. They managed it, and Josh had enough time to manage two hot laps, eventually putting him in the company of Ingram and Morgan, both carrying similar weight penalties, meaning he would start Race 1 from P20.
A blisteringly hot Sunday morning saw track temperatures exceeding 40⁰C. Remember that these guys don’t have air conditioning or a window they can crack open, and are wearing layers of fireproof nomex, with absolutely no natural cooling whatsoever. So racing competitively in such sweltering conditions is no mean feat, and really tests the drivers’ fitness.
Race 1 started, with Josh and Senna making considerable progress through the pack considering the weight they were carrying. Unfortunately, mid race Senna suffered a momentary loss of power, caused by a sensor overheating, which reversed all his hard work throughout the previous laps. He frustratedly carried on, but was simply unable to make up the ground he had lost.
Race 2 was to be equally as frustrating, with Josh having a coming together with Aiden Moffat on the approach to Cascades on the very first lap, firing him through the gravel and causing suspension damage. He quickly pitted, with the team working relentlessly to clear the car of debris and check for broken components, emerging just one lap down on the pack. Even with what would turn out to be extensive damage, the Bath-based racer still posted competitive times, proving that had the incident not happened, he’d likely have been at the sharp end.
The damage to Josh’s car was found to be more serious than initially thought, meaning we had just over an hour to get the car ready to go back out. The boys (and girl) knuckled down, and we had Josh’s car ready to start Race 3 from the pits. The tension was high, but with the potential lack of traffic, this gave Josh the chance to do what he does best, and post the Fastest Lap. However, a huge incident on the start line left four cars with significant damage, meaning Josh was able to start on the grid itself after the red flag was deployed, albeit right at the back.
With the weight off, the Power Maxed TAG Racing Astra was once again flying, with Josh quickly fighting his way through the pack to take P12, directly behind his teammate, who himself had worked his way up to an impressive P11. Positions were reversed on the very last lap, with Josh passing Senna with just moments to go.
We knew we’d have a struggle maintaining our lead in the Championship at the notoriously tricky track, and are heading into Croft next weekend third in the Teams’ standings, having lost our lead in the Manufacturers’ standings by just a few points. With more than half the season to go, we’re in a very strong position to pull back our lead. We head to Croft with everything to play for.
“I couldn’t be prouder of everyone in the team for their performance over the weekend. We had a run of bad luck, and were already at a disadvantage with the weight we were carrying, so to come away with points and still be at the pointy end of the field is something I’m happy with. Bring on Croft!” - Team Principal Adam Weaver.
“Even if a race event doesn’t go our way, we can draw a number of positives from it. Every weekend is an opportunity for us to learn and gather information, and the relentless heat and uphill nature of the weekend has given us invaluable data. Croft is notoriously a rear wheel drive circuit, but I’m confident that we can make up the points we missed out on at Oulton Park.” - Martin Broadhurst, Technical Director
“Obviously I’m frustrated that we didn’t come away from the weekend with more silverware, but with the conditions, the success ballast I was carrying and the bad luck that marred us from the outset, I’m happy to come away from there with points. Race 3 was the first opportunity I really had to get a clean run, and I’m happy with the times I was posting and the amount of positions I made up. I’m looking forward to doing Euro Repar Car Service and my sponsors proud at Croft next weekend.” - Josh Cook, Power Maxed TAG Racing Driver, Car #66
“It just wasn’t my weekend. We picked up points at the end of the day, and that’s what really matters. As well as being my local track, Croft is one of my favourites on the calendar, so I’m really chomping at the bit to get back out next weekend and bagging us some more points” Senna Proctor, Power Maxed TAG Racing Driver Car #18
Warwickshire-based Power Maxed Racing (PMR) is a professional motor racing team currently competing in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with the Vauxhall Astras designed and built by the 10-man team at PMR.
In the Astras’ debut season, PMR achieved several podium finishes and secured the coveted Jack Sears Trophy with five races of the Championship still to run. The team have won three races in 2018, seeing them take the lead in both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Standings
PMR is headed up by Team Principal, Adam Weaver and highly respected BTCC engineer, Martin Broadhurst. Weaver also owns sister company Automotive Brands, whose product portfolio includes well respected aftermarket brands Power Maxed and Steel Seal.
2018 sees PMR continue its relationship with Vauxhall in the BTCC, with the two Power Maxed TAG Racing Astras competing in the Championship’s 60th anniversary season, aiming to contend for the title.
Reflections: Oulton Park - 10th June, 2018