SIMON Belcher continued his pre-season British Touring Car Championship preparation with an impressive showing at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit last week.
As the last major opportunity to fine-tune cars before the officially timed test and Media Day today at Donington Park in Leicestershire, a strong contingent of competitors were on hand at Brands – offering the Handy Motorsport crew an ideal chance to measure-up the competition.
While the majority of the day was dry, track conditions were slippery early on. Although Belcher was unfortunately caught-out at one stage, the ensuing slide into the forgiving tyre barriers at low speed didn’t cause any damage to the Swindon driver’s Toyota Avensis.
Thereafter, the KÄRCHER-supported racer chalked-up a significant amount of mileage unhindered and was able to make key adjustments to his 2.0-litre car in readiness for next Tuesday’s final test which precedes the opening three races of the season less than a fortnight later.
“It was a good day, continued progression, every time I go out in the car I’m gaining more and more confidence”, said Belcher, “The team knows what I like, how I want the car to feel and behave, so we’re getting things working just how we want them.
“The track was a bit greasy this morning and we did have a little slide into the tyre wall, but there was no real damage done. For the rest of the day we kept pounding round, racking up the miles and just gaining more and more experience. There were a lot of the other teams there which gave us an idea of where we are, we’re not a million miles off and I think it’s looking alright – we’re realistic.”
Clearly happy with the steps forward he and the Handy Motorsport squad have been making, in partnership with established BTCC team Speedworks Motorsport, the biggest rush for Belcher is just piloting the Toyota itself – a lifelong ambition achieved.
“For me, the biggest thing is that I’m getting out of the car with a big smile on my face every time I’ve been out on track”, he said, “The car is awesome, you go through the corners so quickly and there’s so much traction, masses of power. It’s certainly a lot different to what I’ve been used to in Clios over the last couple of years.”