Frustrating Weekend sees PMR’s fast Pace Marred by Bad Luck

Last weekend saw Power Maxed Racing head north of the border, to Scotland’s picturesque Knockhill circuit. Following a fast but frustrating weekend at Oulton Park, the team would have just 4 days to get to the UK’s most Northern circuit, strip the car, perform their checks, and rebuild it ready for Friday’s shakedown session.

Despite PMR’s Race Facility being more than 350 miles away, the team were able to operate the same ‘lifeing’ system as always, with every component on the car having its own log of distance covered & time spent on the car, using the unique LifeCheck software to keep track of the hundreds of components. This minimises mechanical failures, by ensuring that no part of the car exceeds its designated lifespan, as well as making sure components are being checked following removal and refit to the team’s Vauxhall Astra.

In the unique circumstances, the team also had access to their damper dyno, which is used to rebuild and change suspension damper characteristics between sessions. It’s a highly specialised piece of kit, which joins the team in the main race truck, and was fully operational on demand during the week, thanks to the bespoke on-board Mastervolt power system that the team installed over winter. This system means the whole truck can effectively act as a mobile workshop, run totally independently, at any location, without access to any mains power or generators, for days at a time.

Following Friday’s shakedown session on the circuit, Saturday morning dawned clear and dry at the notoriously wet venue, with clear views of the stunning landscape that surrounds it. Buoyed by lap times from the previous weekend at Oulton Park, the first Free Practice session of the day would see the PMR Astra of Double Clio Cup Champion Mike Bushell finish in P2, just 4/1000s of a second from breaking the 50 second barrier.

Free Practice 2 saw Bushell pushing just as hard, crossing the line P3, just 31/1000s away from the 50 second barrier this time.

Come mid-afternoon, the 25-strong grid headed on track for Qualifying, where a strong outing on lap 19 saw Bushell P7 in the standings, though unfortunately traffic meant he was unable to post a faster time before the end of the session.

Sunday was to be another dry day, although that’s where luck would run out for PMR. Starting Race 1 from P7, Bushell would hold his own until after the mid-point of the race, where a small excursion onto the grass caused a frustrating but necessary pit stop, in order for the team to remove debris from the radiator air intake. Despite this leaving him two laps down on the field, Bushell fought hard to catch the pack, ultimately crossing the line in P21.

Race 2 would see Bushell make up ground early on, though spending the majority of the session defending his position would ultimately mean he was unable to make up quite as many places as he’d like, finishing the session P16, missing out on scoring himself championship points by the narrowest of margins.

Race 3 brought an awful end to the weekend, for both Bushell and PMR, after an incident on the opening lap saw him retire from the race, through no fault of his own. Following a great start by the Astra, an incident coming into the chicane caused the Ford Focus of Ollie Jackson into an uncontrolled spin, which the unsighted Bushell had no chance of avoiding. With the two cars now stopped on the track, the Honda Civic of Sam Osborne had nowhere to go, and Bushell’s Astra was collected by the MB Motorsport car.

The next round of the BTCC will see PMR head to Thruxton, the UK’s fastest circuit, on the 19th & 20th of September.

Mike Bushell – “I’m feeling a little bit sore, I’m just keen to find out how the car is looking, and work towards returning at Thruxton if we can make it happen between us.

The car is fast on a single lap after getting to grips with it and working on setup with the team, but I need to improve a little on race pace. I was very disappointed in myself in Race 1, and I struggled to hold off Matt Neal and Moffat until I made an error into Turn 1 mid-race, which meant a visit to the pits was inevitable, costing us a guaranteed points finish in the race.”

Adam Weaver, PMR Team Principal – “The most important thing is that Mike is ok, after what was quite a nasty accident. Luckily, he’s taken it in his stride, despite a seriously painful shoulder and wrist, and is concentrating on being back in the car at Thruxton. I have no doubt whatsoever that the car will be repaired quickly, and I know the guys in the workshop will be working their socks off to get it back in race trim and ready to go out and get some trophies! We’re lucky that we have the equipment in-house to repair the chassis to TOCA standards-a luxury that many don’t have.”