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Thorney Motorsport to miss Knockhill BTCC meeting

John Thorne of Thorney Motorsport reflects on last weekend's Snetterton rounds. The team will miss the next meeting at Knockhill but plans further improvements before Silverstone.

Tony Gilham at the wheel of the Vauxhall Insignia VXR-R
Tony Gilham at the wheel of the Vauxhall Insignia VXR-R

John commented "We were happy that our times were so close to the top ten, happy that we suffered no mechanical failures (on a day when there were many due to the heat), happy that a driver with zero seat-time can immediately put the car into contention and happy that our decision to take time out, develop the car in testing and come back into the BTCC as a contender and not an also-ran was proven to be the right one."

Looking at the end results one might think he was being delusional; two DNFs and a 13th place (still a sea change from the first time the car came out) but hardly worth shouting about? If you look at the detail however, Tony Gilham only got into the car for the very first time at 7:30am on the Saturday, he couldn't reach the pedals, the steering wheel or see over the bonnet but by the end of the weekend the team got to running in the top 10 chasing down 8th and 9th.

Thorney Motorsport  were in the hunt at Snetterton
Thorney Motorsport were in the hunt at Snetterton

John added "The mood in the garage was mixed. On the one hand the changes we made to the rear end had improved it which showed in the both the lap times and Tony getting the car into the top ten and chasing down the top 8/9 so we were very happy, on the other hand were the 'what if' thoughts, the impact on the BMW was enough to shatter the bumper and bend the bumper bar but was still intact, we just got unlucky that the intake flapped over the intercooler rather than stayed where it was, damn unlucky. Tony was right, this is a top ten car and looking for podiums is a reasonable desire now.".

"Also thanks to Swindon Engines. We've had our differences and our plans to do our own mapping got stopped when it was decided that this would not be allowed for next season (making the whole idea pointless) but this weekend they were extremely helpful and have gone a long way to re-build my trust in them, kudos to them for that. As for the future? Well, we don't know. The deal with Tony was for Snetterton only and without him and Kärcher supporting us this weekend we wouldn't have even been out for that. We've also lost our truck deal so despite wanting to race at Knockhill we can't even get there at the moment, so the next race for us is likely to be Silverstone. We can't afford it but it's our local round to the extent that we could even put trade plates on the Insignia and sneak it the couple of miles along the A43 to the track, that would be funny."

It was a welcome return for the Vauxhall Insignia VXR-R to the BTCC and hopefully the car will be back out at Silverstone.

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