Hill stars as BTCC launch
Hill stars as BTCC launch

Kent’s Jake Hill showed what he could do when the season finally gets underway at the BTCC launch at Silverstone.

The MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square team made an impressive start to life in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship with a front-running performance on track during the season launch event at Silverstone, with BRDC ‘Superstar’ Jake Hill setting the fastest time overall in the morning session, and ending the day second overall but fastest of the Independent Drivers category.

Having tested at a number of circuits during the winter with its Honda Civic Type Rs, the Silverstone event provided the only opportunity for the team to go head-to-head against its on track rivals in an official test, with a full day of running available across two sessions.

The morning running saw drivers Jake and team-mate Sam Osborne busy on track as they worked to gain valuable knowledge of Silverstone’s International layout, which is due to host the penultimate meeting of the season later in the year.

Jake would end the morning with the fastest time overall of the 29 car field, becoming the first driver to set a lap at an average speed in excess of 100mph, and ending up three-tenths of a second clear of the works BMW of Andrew Jordan. Sam meanwhile lapped quickly and consistently in the sister Honda to end the morning running sitting in 20th place.

Times would improve during the afternoon, with Jake once again running right at the sharp end of the grid as he quickly slotted his Honda into second place on the times behind the Toyota of Tom Ingram.

Jake looked well set to complete a sweep of both sessions late in the day but a combination of traffic and a late red flag meant he had to settle for second on the combined times; his best lap being a mere 0.051s away from the fastest seen on track.

Sam’s continued improvement was reflected by the fact that his fastest lap in the afternoon would be six tenths of a second quicker than he had managed during the morning and meant he ended the day little over a second off the pace – and ahead of a number of former race winners.

The latest coronavirus directives from the UK government have resulted in the opening three events of the season being postponed; a decision that everyone involved with the MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square team supports at this challenging time.

As a result, round one of the season is currently scheduled to take place at Thruxton in May.

Jake Hill, #24 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It’s been a great day for MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square as a team and shows that we’ve done a good job over the winter. Things have started well and we can take a lot of confidence from what we have achieved during our testing programme.

“Both Sam and I have been comfortable in the car throughout the testing we have done, and I feel that we’re in a good place no matter when, or where, the season is able to start.”

Sam Osborne, #4 MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type R, said:
“The off-season has been a bit of an eye-opener but I’m learning all the time and pushing more and more when I go out on track. I think we’ve had a good test at Silverstone and have found plenty of time, which is really encouraging.

“There is still more to come, but I think we are getting there and that is the main thing. If today had been a qualifying session then I’d have been over the moon. I’m looking forward to the time when racing can begin and we can build on what we have learned so far.”

Shaun Hollamby, MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square team principal, said:
“It’s been a really good day on track today. We were strong from the moment we left the garage and Jake has been quick in both sessions and right up there at the front. Sam has also improved throughout the day and enjoyed a strong afternoon, so we’re really pleased.

“Obviously, our thoughts are with those who are ill or affected by the current situation that we all find ourselves in, and I think that the decision to postpone the start of the season is the correct one to have taken. It’s good that we were able to get this test under our belt, and we now look forward to getting our championship bid going when the time is right.”

Picture supplied by PSP Images.

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