"Refreshed and re-charged" CarStore PMR head for Croft
With the summer break now over, CarStore Power Maxed Racing return to action in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Croft Circuit this weekend [29-30 July] full of confidence.
The Bidford-on-Avon team resume their push for both the Independent Teams and Jack Sears Trophy titles in the UK’s premier touring car championship at the 2.1-mile Yorkshire venue after a six-week summer hiatus, having enjoyed a stellar start to the 2023 campaign thus far.
In just half a season, the CarStore-backed team has already exceeded its total points haul for 2022, with the new-look trio of Aron Taylor-Smith, Mikey Doble and Andrew Watson pushing the Vauxhall Astra back to the sharp end of the grid.
The synergy between the drivers and team has delivered a number of highlights, including Jack Sears Trophy victories at Donington, Thruxton and Oulton Park last time out, a steady haul of points finishes, plus numerous top-ten shootout appearances in qualifying.
As a result, the team enters Croft just 35 points shy of the summit in the Independent Teams’ standings. Just ten points separates the top three among the Jack Sears runners, with Doble and Watson looking to go on the offensive from second and third place respectively.
Offering a blend of high and low-speed corners, technique is the key to achieving a lap time around Croft. The heavy breaking zone at Tower, the sweeping Jim Clark Esses and the final hairpin offer plenty of overtaking opportunities, and the annual trip to Yorkshire often delivers a typically-boisterous weekend of BTCC action.
The team was also buoyed by a strong showing at the recent in-season tyre test at Donington Park, with Taylor-Smith a promising second on the East Midlands venue’s GP loop, behind only reigning champion, Tom Ingram.
Qualifying kicks off the competitive action at 15:25 (BST) on Saturday, after two free practice sessions to get dialled in. Sunday features the usual triple-header of ITV4-televised action, with lights out at 12:10, 14:35 and 17:00 respectively.
Andrew Watson (#11) said:
“I’m feeling really good, in general, heading to Croft.
“We had a really positive tyre test during the break, and the gap gives the team a proper chance to strip the cars back to the components and then re-prep them.
“So, I know the Vauxhall Astra underneath me will be in good shape. We had a pre-season test at Croft, the weather wasn’t ideal at that stage in the year, but we still had a chance to get a look at the track, which is more than I’ve had for most circuits so far this season.
“I’m feeling refreshed and re-charged in myself. We had great pace during the first half of the season but didn’t always convert it. I’ve learnt a lot, and I’m looking forward to putting it into practice, starting at Croft.”
Aron Taylor-Smith (#40) said:
“As a team, we can definitely go into the second half of the season with a lot of confidence. We’ve made a lot of progress on the chassis, especially at the Goodyear tyre test, and we can be really in contention going forwards.
“Croft is the start of a sequence of tracks which are among my favourites, too, so that’s always nice. I truly believe we have one of the fastest packages underneath us.
“I’m excited, and also a lot more confident than I felt even at the start of the season. The team structure really suits me, I know the strengths of the car better, I know what we can achieve, and I really feel at home within the group.
“In this game, confidence is key. And I feel really confident, going into the remaining five race weekends.”
Mikey Doble (#88) said:
“I’m absolutely chomping at the bit to get back on track in the BTCC this weekend at Croft.
“I’ve had a really strong first half of my rookie season, and I’m looking to continue that form and pick up more Jack Sears Trophy victories, and some overall points finishes over the remaining five race weekends.
“Croft – much like Thruxton last time out – is in my ‘top 3’ circuits, as a driver. So, I’ll be aiming for a similarly strong qualifying result, and that should set us up for another string of good finishes.”
Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager said:
“I’m convinced the term “summer break” was introduced by somebody trying to have a clever joke at the paddock’s expense – because it always ends up being one of the most flat-out times of the year!
“That said, there’s a real buzz around the workshop this week, all the guys and girls at CarStore Power Maxed Racing are itching to get to Croft, and put a good shift in.
“I think that’s really reflective of where we are at the moment, as a team. It’s certainly a stark contrast from even twelve months ago, so that gives me a lot of optimism going into the second half of the season.
“The in-season tyre test went well, the drivers seem in good shape, so let’s see what we can achieve at Croft this weekend.”
Adam Weaver, Team Principal said:
“There’s definitely something in the air at CarStore Power Maxed Racing at the moment. The synergy between the team has been a real joy to see this year, and I’m sure we’ll continue to build on the progress we’ve made across the remaining five rounds.
“As always, a huge thanks to all our team partners and sponsors for their support. Put simply, it’s the fuel behind the project, and everything we’re delivering on track at the moment is as a direct result of their backing. I’m looking forward to welcoming some of them as guests this weekend.”