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BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 chases Silverstone success
BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 will bid to keep its Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship challenge on track this weekend when the series heads for Silverstone for the penultimate meeting of the 2023 campaign. With just six races remaining, the Suffolk-based team remains in contention for championship success on multiple fronts, with Tom Ingram sitting second in the overall standings and Ronan Pearson in contention for the Jack Sears Trophy. Ingram scored his second win of the season last time out at Donington Park, and goes into the weekend sitting 42 points behind current leader Ash Sutton. With a maximum of 134 still up for grabs, a strong weekend is vital as Ingram looks to maintain his title challenge but he has an impressive record at the famous Northamptonshire circuit with no fewer than six previous wins – including last year on his way to the title. On the back of a strong on-track performance at Donington, Ingram makes the trip to Silverstone in confident mood and with his focus firmly on challenging at front of the field. Whilst Ingram has more Silverstone wins than anyone else currently in the field, team-mate Tom Chilton is only one victory behind having scored five of his 15 BTCC wins at the circuit – including his first back in 2004.
Chilton secured three top twelve finishes at Donington Park despite battling issues with the hybrid system on his car, which have now been resolved after the team replaced the wiring loom on his Hyundai. That leaves the 38-year-old feeling optimistic about what he can achieve during the weekend ahead, with his goal being to try and add to his previous successes at the home of British motorsport. After his best weekend of the season to date at Knockhill, Ronan Pearson once again showed impressive pace himself at Donington Park, where he secured three overall points finishes. The young Scot also posted his first fastest lap in the series during an impressive recovery drive through the field after an unscheduled pit stop in the final race of the weekend – with his results there leaving him just 45 points off the lead in the Jack Sears Trophy. Whilst Pearson will be racing at Silverstone in the series for the first time, he showed strong pace last season in the MINI CHALLENGE, and will aim to maintain his points-scoring run to remain in contention for the JST crown. Nick Halstead meanwhile scored a brace of top 20 finishes at Donington Park as he continued to show improvement on track – with the weekend being the first this season where he had scored multiple top 20 results. The former British GT racer heads for Silverstone aiming to maintain his progress across race day, with Halstead focused on three solid results from the weekend.
Tom Ingram, #1 BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 Fastback N, said: “Silverstone is a circuit that has been really good to me in the past, and if I can keep that form going then it would be great. We came away from Donington Park in good shape and we were quicker than Ash for a lot of the weekend, which bodes well for us going to Silverstone. There’s been a lot of discussions in recent weeks about what we can do to improve the car and make it even better, and it’s now down to trying to maximise the results to keep our title challenge on track. “There is no hiding the fact that Ash has got a handy lead in the standings, and the pressure is on him across the final two meetings. We’ve got nothing to lose and I’ve been around long enough to know that it only needs one race for the whole title race to be blown wide open. With that in mind, we’ve got to maximise everything and we’ll be going on the attack to try and grab pole and convert it into at least one win.” Tom Chilton, #3 BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 Fastback N, said: “It makes me feel old when I think about the fact that my first BTCC win was at Silverstone back in 2004 – there are drivers on the grid who weren’t even born then! It’s a circuit that has a lot of history for me and is one that plays to the strengths of the Hyundai – with its low drag and strong engine. “The team has put a huge amount of work in since Donington to replace the wiring loom in the car, which isn’t a small job, and it leaves me confident of what we could do this weekend considering the pace we showed last time out despite having no hybrid. I’d love to try and push for a podium and if there is one circuit where it would be good to get on the top step again, then it’s Silverstone.”
Ronan Pearson, #14 BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 Fastback N, said: “I’m really looking forward to the weekend as I love Silverstone. I’ve not had chance to drive the Hyundai there yet, but the circuit is one that has suited me well in the past and one where I went well last year. “The National layout at Silverstone is one that usually provides good racing and I’m going into the weekend with my goal being to try and build on the pace we have shown in the last two rounds – and particularly the final race at Donington. “It’s hotting up in the Jack Sears Trophy, so three strong results and staying out of trouble this weekend are important for the championship.” Nick Halstead, #22 BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 Fastback N, said: “The racing tends to be quite robust at Silverstone and there is probably going to be more rough and tumble here than anywhere else. My pace on the shorter circuits this season has been quite good and it’ll be interesting to see how I get on, but I’m feeling confident. “Although a lot of my experience at Silverstone has been on the full GP circuit, I’ve done plenty of racing on the National layout and I’ve also been watching some past races to help going into the weekend. My aim is to be up in the top 20 and try and push towards the points, although I think it will be tough unless we get some rain.” Justina Williams, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Team Owner, said: “Every weekend is a big weekend when we get to this stage of the season and we go to Silverstone with our focus firmly on scoring the best results possible across the board. “With championships on the line, it’s vital that we maximise the points available and we’re confident that we bring home some strong finishes.”