Bushell excited ahead of AmDTuning Brands BTCC season starter

The AmDTuning.com team will hope to kick-start its assault on the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in style this weekend when the season gets underway at Brands Hatch.As is traditional, the season opener will be a home race for the West Thurrock-based team, while new driver Mike Bushell from Tunbridge Wells also get his full-time BTCC career underway at his local circuit.The reigning Clio Cup UK champion, who lifted the crown after a dramatic final round at Brands Hatch back in October, heads into the new campaign on the back of a somewhat challenging pre-season – where serious illness resulted in him being hospitalised for a week.While he is now fully recovered, Mike’s stay in hospital saw him miss out on additional track time at the wheel of his Ford Focus, although he heads into the opening round having been able to test the car at a number of circuits in recent months - including Brands Hatch.With his run at the Kent circuit having gone well as he acclimatised to working with his new team, the 25-year-old will be keen to impress as part of another bumper BTCC field; with no fewer than 29 cars set to appear on track this weekend.Mike will be one of eight rookies on the grid this season, making him eligible to battle for the Jack Sears Trophy, which was won by the AmDTuning.com team last year when awarded to the independent driver making up the most positions during the campaign.“I’m really excited about the start of the season and am looking forward to the serious action getting underway this weekend,” he said. "It hasn’t been an easy run-up to the start of the season as being ill really knocked me for six, but I’ve gradually improved and head for Brands Hatch feeling 100% fit again."I’ve already tested the car at Brands Hatch and it was a very positive session that has given us a good base set-up to take into the weekend. I know I lack the experience of a lot of the guys who I am up against and I have to be realistic, but I feel confident in myself and in the team that we can have a good start to the year.“Three finishes is important to build my experience, and three points finishes is the target I’m setting myself for the opening rounds. There’s no reason why we can’t achieve it.”AmDTuning.com team boss Shaun Hollamby said he was pleased with the way Mike had performed during his pre-season running despite the changes to the planned programme, and agreed that points had to be the aim in the opening round.“Our pre-season testing programme didn’t quite go to plan as a result of Mike’s illness, but we’re happy with the work we have been able to do,” he said. "It’s already clear to see that he is a quick driver because of his success in the Clio Cup, and now he just needs to gain more experience at this level."He’s done everything that we expected so far and the first aim this weekend has to be to score points in each of the three races. With the pace Mike has shown so far, it’s a target that is certainly achievable and hopefully we can push up towards the top ten.“It would also be good if we could make a successful start to our defence of the Jack Sears Trophy, which is one of the main aims for this year. Unlike last season, we will be able to see exactly what our rivals are doing compared to us and it would be good if Mike can come out of the opening rounds as ‘top rookie’ in the championship standings.”

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