Positive But Frustrating BTCC Weekend for PMR

This weekend saw the first outing of the season for Power Maxed Racing. In a break from their normal 2-car line-up, the Warwickshire-based squad saw a single car entry take to Cheshire's picturesque Oulton Park.
Double-Clio Cup Champion Mike Bushell took to the wheel of the lone Astra for the very first time during Saturday’s first Free Practice session, topping the times by almost two seconds in what would prove to be a mixture of weather conditions.

During Free Practice 2, Bushell would finish 5th fastest on track, missing out on repeating his earlier top spot by just .4 of a second.

Come Qualifying, the track was thankfully dry for most of the session, with Bushell posting a fastest lap time just a few tenths off Pole, though being unable to get a clean run in the following laps and having a large amount of ballast onboard meant he had to settle for P12. In a stroke of bad luck that would set the tone for the weekend, a pitlane incident led to his fastest time being disallowed, meaning he would start the first race 15th on the grid.

As the grid formed for Race 1, rain started to fall, and following a car leaving the track during the first green flag lap, the start was delayed, meaning already cool tyres were losing heat rapidly on the soaking wet track.

Once the race got going, Bushell cut through the pack to almost reach the Top-10 within just a few short laps. Unfortunately, a completely non-fault incident involving another vehicle knocked him off track, meaning an excursion on the grass and a visit to the pits to check the car was in order.
Despite this, and being almost 2 laps down, Bushell managed to cross the line in P21, recording the second fastest lap of the race during the closing stages.

Race 2 started similarly wet, and keeping to the weekend’s theme of poor luck, a failure of the windscreen wiper motor during the first few laps meant Bushell had to pit for the team to make emergency repairs. Despite this causing him to be a lap down as he exited the pit lane, Bushell recorded the third fastest lap of the session, lapping consistently quicker than the race leaders.

As Bushell tested the brakes before Race 3, the brake master cylinder decided it was the ideal time to blow a seal. Luckily, the car was still in the awning, and so the reduced team of just 4 mechanics set to work, changing the offending part in record time, bleeding the brakes and getting the car started from the pitlane. Despite this putting the driver at a disadvantage, he made up 10 within a few laps, and with just a few to go, he found himself almost in the points. But it was not to be, as the race was to be halted prematurely following an incident with Hamilton and Jelley, meaning his drive was cut short just short of scoring his first points of the season. Yet again, Bushell found himself as one of the fastest cars on track.

Despite the results, the weekend was deemed a success for the team, with Bushell proving the combination of himself and PMR’s Vauxhall to be a strong package, as one of the fastest on track throughout every session across the whole weekend, despite never having driven it before Saturday’s Free Practice session.
Adam Weaver – Team Principal – “I’m gutted that only the timing sheets show how fast Mike was this weekend. Luck went against us today, and if it hadn’t, Mike’s ability would’ve been much clearer for all to see.
A grid penalty for Race 1 followed by an incident mid-race, a wiper motor failure for Race 2 and a brake issue for Race 3 stopped him taking his true position on the leader boards this weekend, but to run consistently amongst the front runners lap times in every session is testament to both the car and Mike’s skill.
We’re all heading up to Knockhill feeling confident, and hoping Lady Luck shines down on us a little more come next weekend.”
Mike Bushell, PMR Driver – “We showed absolutely mega pace on race day, but luck just wasn’t on our side. We made great progress with the car since my first run in FP1, and we proved that by being consistently in the top-5 pace wise.
Unfortunately, tricky conditions in Race 1 meant that I was knocked off by a fellow competitor after he misjudged his braking, which ultimately left us on the back foot.
The car really came alive in Race 2, after a wiper motor failure meant I had no choice but to pit in the heavy spray. But once back on track, I was consistently as quick and then quicker than the leaders in the closing laps.
Race 3 I made up 10 places after starting from the pit lane, before the race was cut short, which meant I narrowly missed out on scoring some points. But, the pace in the car was impressive, and we’re one of the fastest FWD cars out there, so I’m feeling good going into Knockhill.”
PMR continue their charge at Scotland’s Knockhill Racing Circuit this coming weekend. You can catch all the action live on ITV2 from 10:40.