Puncture woes scupper points charge by Taylor-Smith!
The third British Touring Car race within six weeks took place at Andover’s Thruxton circuit, the UK’s fastest circuit with an average speed of over 100 mph which saw Taylor-Smith put on a valiant display as he fought for points on race day.
The second trip to the infamous speed dome of Thruxton saw a new set of conditions for both Taylor-Smith and the Team Hard Cupra’s to battle as they continue to develop to the newest car on the BTCC grid. Aspirations were high after a successful haul of points upon the first visit to Thruxton in May of this year.
Taylor-Smith commented: “I have always gone well around Thruxton and in fact, scored my first ever BTCC pole position at this track. It’s one that really challenges the car, as we have to use a harder compound tyre to combat the track’s abrasiveness. This brings a whole host of new challenges for the engineers but we have a good crew around us to continue developing this car.”
Conditions had shifted more towards a hotter climate than the team experienced in May that produces a new engineering challenge for the crew. The two free practise sessions were used to stabilise both tyre pressures and chamber, two factors that really come into play at Thruxton due to potential of punctures. The team battled both the circuit and tyre to begin making in roads into what was needed ahead of qualifying.
Taylor-Smith commented: “We left here in May with a fairly decent balance but the hotter temperatures of the recent heat waves are throwing this work out of the window. We’re now having to explore new avenues to try and extract more ‘one lap’ pace from the car but as it stands, I am confident of the car in race trim and now all hands are on deck to maximise the Cupra in qualifying.”
The team of engineers faced their biggest challenge to date of the 2022 season as the quartet of Cupra’s entered qualifying. All drivers maximised their efforts to within 0.1 of a second but unfortunately this still saw Taylor-Smith outside of the top twenty, despite finding a further 0.8 of a second from free practise two to qualifying. It was a challenging session for all Team Hard cars as they struggled to find the sweet spot of the chassis.
Taylor-Smith commented: “That was a really tough session as I felt as though I put together a brilliant lap but unfortunately it still wasn’t quick enough. The chassis improved by nearly a second from free practise to qualifying which is a feat to the teamwork but we still need to push the development to get ourselves further up the grid. Yes, it’s not where we want to be but the team are working insanely hard behind the scenes to improve the car. Tomorrow is a new day of three races and I am confident that we can bounce back. There is plenty of homework to be done tonight but I know that there is more to come from this car.”