Newest team joins British Touring Car Championship gridMarshall Amps-backed Chevrolet Cruze makes maiden race appearanceLatest NGTC-spec car runs reliably to secure three finishes from debut meeting
IP Tech Race Engineering enjoyed a successful weekend of action in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after making its long-awaited debut in the series at Snetterton.The sixth round of the 2013 campaign saw the Marshall Amps-backed Team Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze of team owner Andy Neate join the highly competitive field, with the car being the latest built to the series new Next Generation Touring Car regulations.Developed in-house by the Northamptonshire-based team, the new Cruze was making its race debut on the back of a brief testing programme that had seen Andy hit the track at both Snetterton and Mallory Park in the fortnight leading up to the race weekend.Running with base turbo boost levels in-line with series regulations as a new entrant, Andys target for the weekend was to bring home three race finishes with the new car to enable both driver and team to gain as much knowledge of the Cruze as possible.Free practice saw the Cruze running reliably on track, with Andy then qualifying 23rd on the grid for the opening race; matching the qualifying time he had posted while competing at the same circuit last season.Race day then saw the Cruze again run without any issues with Andy making improvements in both pace and results across three action-packed races, with the team coming away from its debut weekend with 22nd, 17th and 16th place finishes - leaving confidence on a high heading into the next event at Knockhill in Scotland later this month.Andy NeateTeam Owner/Driver:Im absolutely delighted with the way the weekend has gone. Weve come here with a brand new car and have run six sessions on track without any problems, which is a fantastic achievement.We knew that running base boost would hamper our chances at a power circuit like Snetterton, but this weekend was more about testing and not chasing results. Weve been able to run reliably, and the handling of the car has been fantastic. Through the twisty bits, the chassis felt great and the mid-corner speed has been hugely encouraging.Weve made a number of positive changes to refine the car throughout the weekend and well now work on further improvements at Knockhill, which will be more of an opportunity for us to test. The boost levels wont hamper us as much there, apart from on the run out of the final corner, but with the things we have learned this weekend, Im confident that when we go to Rockingham and the boost levels even themselves out, well have a strong package.Phil OverallChief engineer:Im very happy with the way the weekend has gone. We took a cautious approach and have run the car six times with no problems. Andy kept out of trouble on track and drove well, and weve achieved the target we set of three race finishes. The handling has been consistent throughout and now we just need more track time and the added boost that will come when the regulations even themselves out. That is when well get a true indication of where we stand but weve now got a good base on which to build.