Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum says he’s very happy with the debut of the team’s all new Ford Focus ST, built to the BTCC’s new Next Generation Touring Car regulations, which scored points in every race on Sunday.
The car was delivered to the circuit early on Saturday morning just before the first practice session, and turned heads in the paddock with a number of teams not even aware the car was there until the session began.
Mat Jackson drove the car at the weekend instead of his usual S2000-spec Ford Focus, which was built for the BTCC in 2009 by Arena Motorsport, and ran trouble-free on Saturday, and went on to take three points finishes, with a best of fourth in race three, which was actually his third best weekend of the season in terms of Championship points. As a result, Jackson has closed up to within eight points of Rob Collard in fifth in the standings.
“I’m very happy indeed,” said Bartrum to TouringCarTimes. “At the end of the day, to get the car built and in here at 6′o’clock in the morning (on Saturday) after finishing it a 3am, then to go out and run faultlessly all three times in practice and qualifying, and then to get three top seven finishes, I don’t think that’s too bad really for an out-of-the-box car.”
The car is Motorbase’s first since it entered the Championship in 2006, from where the team has progressed from a mid-field independent team to a regular race winning ,and outside overall title contending outfit.
“This declares us as a constructor, as that’s our first built car,” said Bartrum. “It looks stunning, it goes well, we haven’t put any other form of engineering into it yet other than what we’ve done today, so it’s been a very productive ‘test’ today, now we’ve got to make it go quicker. I think it will be tough for Knockhill, as Knockhill is a very quick turnaround…but with the four week gap before Rockingham we should be able to get it on song for the last three rounds.”
The car began development ahead of the season, but the team decided to continue with their S2000-spec Ford Focuses to start with, before deciding to complete the build of one of their NGTC cars over the summer, in part due to Liam Griffin’s accident at Croft, with parts for another two in the workshop.
“It’s going to be a case of build the car or go and test the other one. The idea of getting this one ready was to test it to learn more for next year, so I probably think we’ll see the other car next year.”
“We’ve got three shells sitting there, one’s now a car, one’s half a car, the other’s waiting to be started so we’ve got a lot to do.”