VX hit the track in Rockingham yesterday, with the first official HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) test session prior to the new season of racing and the reigning BTCC champions were on the pace all afternoon.
The trio of VX Racing drivers this year comprises current Drivers’ Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi, returning for a fourth season with the team; Matt Neal, entering his second year with VX Racing and newcomer to the team Andrew Jordan. Giovanardi was the quickest of the three on the Rockingham circuit, finishing the day second fastest and less than four tenths off the leader. Neal was fourth quickest of the 15 cars running in the session, with Jordan hot on his heels in fifth place, just 0.03 seconds behind.
Following a morning of media interviews, photography and filming sessions, the VX Racing drivers turned their attentions to the business of testing in the afternoon and with a grid of 2009 BTCC cars, it was the first opportunity for the team to gauge their performance level against their competitors.
Throughout the four hour session the three VX Racing entries were never out of the top six. The team used the time to refine the car set up and develop its performance in preparation for the opening round of the series to be held at Brands Hatch circuit in two weeks time. The strength of opposition for VX Racing was also evident with the field posting close lap times and pushing hard for leaderboard honours.
Giovanardi was satisfied with his test session, saying, “We knew the competition would be tough this season and today has shown there are a number of teams with the potential to challenge us. We had a good test; we tried a number of set up changes which were very useful. The car felt very good by the end of the afternoon, although I think there was still some time left in the car."
Neal added, "We made a lot of significant set up changes today which have provided us with a lot of useful information. We really went off on a tangent with our set-up and tried something very different in terms of the chassis stiffness. Although we didn't finish the day quickest, I'm confident we've made good progress."
19-year-old Jordan said of his performance, “We were P5 today, which isn’t too bad, but the car is not where we want it to be yet. The time we have set doesn’t really reflect where we could have been. I think we could have been second or third. I was only three thousandths away from Matt, so we’re not too far off, but it’s a bit frustrating knowing that you can be, and should be, a bit quicker.
I’m out in the car again next week for the test for the official series test at Brands Hatch and then it’s the start of the season. I’m feeling more confident with the team and we’re working on building up data on the car, so now I’m really starting to be excited for the start of the season.
The HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship kicks off at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent on 4 and 5 April. VX Racing will be at this circuit for the final pre-season test on Tuesday next week.
1. Colin Turkington 1:23.609
2. Fabrizio Giovanardi 1:23.997
3.Stephen Jelley 1:24.140
4.Matt Neal 1:24.193
5.Andrew Jordan 1:24.223