Encouraging weekend at Silverstone for PMR & Jade Edwards
This weekend saw Jade Edwards join the PMR roster, piloting the Power Maxed Car Care Racing Vauxhall Astra at rounds 16, 17 & 18 of the condensed 27-round 2020 KwikFit British Touring Car Championship season.
The lead up to the weekend saw what can only be described as a media storm surrounding the 30-year-old, who’d made a splash as the first female racer to contest the championship since 2007.
Her first time in the car would be the Thursday immediately preceding the weekend, at Donington Park. With the car heading straight to Silverstone for the racing, Jade was unable to push too hard at the test as it would be safer not to risk damage, but she was able to complete a good number of laps and bank important seat time.
Come Saturday, Free Practice 1 & 2 were to be a vital part of Jade learning the nuances of the race-winning Astra on Silverstone’s short and fast National layout. With the intention across the weekend purely to bring the car home in every race, we were all keen to manage expectations, and with 45kg of new driver ballast on board throughout the day, we were expecting to be towards the back of the times.
With a lap of the layout coming in at under a minute, Jade found herself just over a second off the front runners’ pace by the close of both sessions, which was positive considering her lack of BTCC experience.
Qualifying saw Jade unable to quite pull together a representative lap, still carrying full new driver ballast, meaning she would start Race 1 from P26.
Race 1 saw her make a good start, making up ground throughout the race, and by Lap 22 she had made her way up to P20, despite carrying the additional weight mandated by TOCA, before an incident with the Ford Focus of Andy Neate pushed her wide, dropping her down to P23 for the close.
Race 2 would be her first experience of the car without the hindrance of new driver ballast, giving her the perfect opportunity to fight her way through the pack. Unfortunately, an error on the start line meant her chances would be limited, but despite this she put in a strong performance, with her times matching those of the driver in P10-15. She would go on to pass Neate cleanly in the closing stages, crossing the line P21.
Race 3 was to be filled with drama, when a serious incident on Lap 6 involving Rory Butcher saw the race red flagged, leading to a restart. Despite being on cold tyres, Jade would fight her way up to P18, before another incident with Neate would cause an off track excursion, leading directly to damage to the power steering system, ending her final session after just 5 laps.
Adam Weaver, Team Principal – “I know how much this weekend meant to Jade, and it was genuinely humbling to be part of something so special for her. We’ve known her for a long time, both as a team and personally, and I’ve never known someone work so hard to pull together the sponsorship that she did for this round. The goal was for her to have fun and enjoy it, and I’m confident that she achieved both of those. Considering she was up against drivers vastly more experienced, the bare minimum of which had done half a season in the championship, she held her own, and I’m really proud of her. If it hadn’t been for the actions of some more experienced drivers, I think we would’ve seen her fighting in the Top-15 by close of play.”
Jade Edwards – “Overall, it’s been an amazing weekend - our aim was to finish all three races and improve lap times each session. If it weren’t for power steering issues in Race 3, through no fault of our own, we would have easily hit and exceeded every target - PMR gave me a great car with a brilliant team around me, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity Adam and the team gave me. The weekend was positive from start to finish, and I sincerely hope this isn’t the end to my BTCC career.”
The BTCC heads to North Yorkshire’s Croft circuit next weekend, for rounds 19, 20 & 21 of the championship, and fans can catch it all live on ITV (channel TBC) on Sunday October 11th.