Trio to join Speedworks for BTCC test at Snetterton


THREE drivers who dream of racing in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will have a chance to impress Speedworks Motorsport during this week’s two-day tyre test at Snetterton.

The Cheshire outfit plans to try out the trio – consisting of Richard Hawken, Chris Jones and Ian Loggie – in one of its NGTC-spec Toyota Avensis.

“These guys are all potential future drivers, and this is a great opportunity to get them in a car,” said team principal Christian Dick.

“We don’t intend to burden them with pressure in terms of workload or expectation of how quick they should be – it’s purely a chance for each of them to gain experience.

“It’s a case of getting our heads down and keeping the blinkers on to achieve what we set out to.”

Hawken, a three-time club level champion in an ex-David Leslie Nissan Primera, had been a contender to race for Speedworks this season after holding initial talks.

His ambition to join the series is undimmed despite not being on the grid.

“The meeting I had with Christian was the best one of a lot,” said Hawken, based in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey.

“When he asked if I wanted some seat time at Snetterton, it was an easy decision to make.

“I want badly to have a crack at this, and the chance to have a taste of NGTC machinery takes me a step closer to what I’m working towards, which is to be a part of this great championship in the future.”

The 41-year-old has taken the Primera, piloted by Frenchman Laurent Aiello to the BTCC drivers’ title in 1999, to the BRSCC SuperTouring Car Trophy in successive seasons, as well as top spot in Class
B of the Euro Saloons Championship.

He added: “I’m ready to make the jump, although I acknowledge it’s a big one.”

For Jones and Loggie, class leaders after three rounds of the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship in a Team Parker-prepared Porsche 911, this week marks a second stint behind the wheel of a Speedworks Avensis.

The duo, who both live next door to home circuit Oulton Park, spent time on track in the Toyota at Donington Park earlier this year.

Jones said: “I’ve loved the BTCC since I was small, so to be out testing with the likes of Jason Plato and Matt Neal is exciting as they were heroes to me as a youngster.

“It will be a bit like the first day at school for us, and one with lots of people watching, but I plan to
learn as much as possible about the car.

“If I can help Speedworks collect some useful data along the way, then that would be the best way to say thank you.”

Loggie, 50, raced for the first time two years ago in the BRSCC Porsche Boxster Championship.

Co-owner of the Logson Group, a successful packaging business, he stepped up to Britcar for a full term this time around following a pair cameos with Jones in 2012.

“I’m looking for a challenge, and that’s what the BTCC presents,” he said.

“It captures my interest for the high number of quality drivers on the grid, and inspires me to improve so that I might one day join them.”

Ollie Jackson, midway through his debut campaign with the team, takes part too in the Dunlop-backed trial at the Norfolk circuit, which starts on Tuesday.

Dick said: “We’ve got a lot of bullets to fire in terms of development, so I’m hoping some hit the target. It’s important we make forward steps with the car.”

Words: Andy Simpson. Picture: Matt Sayle Photography.