Strong test session for Hill
Strong test session for Hill

“Very productive but most of all, it’s just been fantastic to be back in my BTCC car!” was how MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill summed  up his return to the cockpit of the #24 Honda Civic Type-R, as he and the Kwik Fit BTCC field returned to action today at Snetterton.

Hill and his team-mate Sam Osborne worked through an extensive programme of changes to their cars, as they reacquainted themselves with their BTCC machines for the first time since the season launch at Silverstone over three months ago.

“I have been testing some Historic cars recently, and have also done some coaching, all of which has brushed off some of the ‘rust’ but I have been so looking forward to getting back to my BTCC car, and it’s been a really good day in so many ways” said Hill.

Hill was immediately amongst the front runners, dipping below the  2 minute mark early on, before working through the set-up changes and then going for a new-tyre run late in the morning session. Frustratingly though this co-incided with a late morning shower, meaning that his 1.57.534 lap time put him P4, with the data showing a lap in the 1.56 bracket was achievable.

“It says something that I am a little bit disappointed with P4! Any other season I would have been delighted with that!.We know the pace is strong and I am very happy with the work my engineer Craig (Porley) and I got through. Really pleased with what we’ve learned this morning.”

The rain fell more heavily as the afternoon session started, initially many drivers – including both MB Motorsport cars – waiting to see if the weather worsened or improved. The few cars that did venture out set what would turn out to be the quickest times of the session, however when Hill hit the circuit in the heavy rain, he proved to be bang on the pace for the conditions.

“There were three or four drivers out early, so they are at the top as the track was much drier then – but when we did our laps we were in the top-three of ‘wet’ runners, so I am really pleased we were quick in both sets of conditions. So far we have had four sessions for BTCC – two at Silverstone and two today. We have finished 1st, 2nd, 4th and 7th…so to be in the top ten every time fills me with a lot of confidence heading to Donington next month for race weekend one”

The BTCC grid hits the track again tomorrow (Weds 8th July), with Hill taking a role as support for MB Motorsport development driver, Esmee Hawkey, the 21 year-old from Kent taking over Hill’s car, and having her first run in a BTCC car, and first in any front-wheel drive car.

“I’ve known Esmee since she was in Ginetta Juniors, and have coached her and her brother Ethan, so we get on really well. She’s very quick in Porsche Carerra Cup, and has a really professional approach, so I am sure she will enjoy her run and also do a great job. I’m really keen to see what she makes of BTCC”

Hill will next drive his BTCC Honda at Donington at the opening round of the 2020 Kwik Fit BTCC, and was keen to thank all of his  partners for their continued support.

“The events of 2020 has been unprecedented. We agreed things with our partners way before things unfolded as they have, and it’s been an incredibly tough time for so many folks. I have some amazing partners, and simply would not be racing if it wasn’t for their support, and belief in me, and everyone has been incredible in sticking with me, even if in a slightly different way than originally planned. One thing I am very confident of is that I will repay their support with success on track. I CANNOT wait!’