Newsham targets podium glory with Speedworks at Thruxton


DAVE Newsham hopes history will repeat itself when he leads Speedworks Motorsport’s challenge in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s third round this weekend.

He celebrated a podium finish when the series visited Thruxton last season; a target he says is achievable behind the wheel of the Cheshire outfit’s Toyota Avensis this time around.

“I have always performed well there,” said the 45-year-old, who makes his longest trip of the campaign to from his base in Inverness.

“I gained a second place result last year on a soaking wet weekend. We need to be aiming at that kind of outcome again to start climbing the championship order.”

Newsham, after a pair of top 10 finishes at Donington Park a fortnight ago, is ninth in the Independents’ Trophy standings after two meetings.

He hopes a change in fortune, plus improvements to his Hughes Safety Showers-backed machine, will follow in Hampshire on Sunday.

“It’s been a tough start to the season,” he added.

“However we learned a lot at Donington that will stand us in good stead for this weekend. Thruxton is one of my favourite tracks too; it’s high-speed, which should suit the car and also my style of driving.”

Team boss Christian Dick predicts the pace of improvement from both Speedworks drivers will pick up from this moment onwards.

That is if the sodden conditions seen at Thruxton a year ago do not return.

He said: “Ideally the weather will stay the same all weekend. If it’s dry, then great. If not, then we’d prefer it to rain non-stop to give us time to develop a wet set-up.

“We’re happy with where we are after Donington; Dave’s results were solid, and put some points on the board.

“A lot of effort went in to giving both drivers a more balanced car, which was also a faster one by the end of race day.

“These things don’t just come easy, particularly when an engineer and team is getting used to working with a different driver. It takes time.

“We’re heading in the right direction now at a rate of knots.”

Meanwhile Ollie Jackson, a points-scorer in all three races at Thruxton last season, is determined to kick-start his campaign after a difficult day at Donington.

The Attleborough racer, who turned 29 on Friday, found fortune hard to come by after suffering damage to his Avensis in each of the sprints.

Dick said: “We were all blown away by what Ollie achieved [at Brands Hatch] in the first round, so expectations perhaps were raised a little too high for Donington.

“His disadvantage in terms of a lack of seat time was more apparent there, but with another race day under his belt he’ll start again with renewed enthusiasm.

“Ollie is an experienced BTCC racer; he’ll come good, no doubt about it.”

Thruxton hosts three BTCC sprint races on Sunday, with each to be broadcast live on ITV4 and from 1045.

Words: Andy Simpson. Picture: Matt Sayle Photography.