All three One Motorsport with Starline Racing drivers are chomping at the bit to sample the latest challenge in the race for the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship this weekend: a return to the iconic Donington Park Grand Prix circuit.
The longer version of the East Midlands track has not appeared on the schedule since the 2002 season. It presents a different challenge than the shorter layout, which the competitors tackled back in April, with more heavy braking zones and two hairpins to test the racers.
The 2.47-mile loop was built in 1985 and hosted the European Grand Prix in 1993, which was famously won by Ayrton Senna, and all three drivers will aim to unlock the secrets of the track in their Honda Civic Type R machines.
Josh Cook heads into the eighth meeting of the season well on top in the race for the prestigious Independents’ Trophy and he is aiming for outright victories to make his mark in the overall standings.
He comes to the historic venue in a positive frame of mind after a competitive meeting last time out at Knockhill in Scotland with a podium finish and he has a clear goal for this weekend.
“While Donington is a very different prospect to the compact nature of Knockhill, it is a meeting I have been really looking forward to,” he says. “It will be something new for everyone, and so the preparation work that the One Motorsport with Starline Racing team and myself can put in before we arrive will be crucial.
“While it might seem simple just to add a couple of corners onto a layout that we are already used to, there is a much bigger challenge than that under the surface. There are some heavy braking zones and acceleration zones which will make everyone rethink the set-up of the cars.
“You also have to take into account that more braking zones means more potential for overtaking, so the racing could really fizz at Donington this weekend. That will be great for fans and the ITV viewers but my only objective is outright wins so I hope that will all be happening in my rear-view mirrors.”
Also aiming for glory will be Scotsman Aiden Moffat who took his maiden BTCC win at the venue in 2017. He has been a regular on the podium at Donington since and wants to build on progress he made at Knockhill earlier in August.
The 26-year-old says: “It is certainly a place where I have some happy memories. Donington is one of the classic tracks on the BTCC calendar, and it will be even more exciting this weekend with the fresh layout for us to tackle.
“The regular part of the track is defined by the fantastic Craner Curves, which are a high-speed plunge downhill and require a really strong chassis, while the parts which are new to us will be demanding on the brakes and on the acceleration, so that means you need a car which can excel in all areas. I believe we have that with the One Motorsport with Starline Racing Honda Civic Type R.
“We have made some strong progress over the last couple of meetings and we will get a chance to prove that this weekend. I am aiming for top-three finishes and, of course, wins to underline just how far we have come in the last few meetings, which is a credit to everyone involved in the programme.”
After running well inside the top six during the opening race of the previous meeting at Knockhill, Jade Edwards is aiming to continue her upward trajectory in what will be her third meeting since rejoining the Brackley-based squad.
“The Honda, in previous years, has been competitive at Donington Park and so the positives are there,”’ says Edwards. “We know the pace is improving and we just need lady luck on our side a little bit to break into the points-paying positions.
“The foundations are slotting into place and we just need it all to come together now. While the extended version of the track is a layout I have only raced on once before in my career, the shorter layout is where I have had some really strong results in the BTCC – including my best ever qualifying position. That means I am looking forward to a really strong weekend. Bring it on.”
The three races on Sunday will be broadcast live on ITV4. The opening round is scheduled to get the green light at 11:45, the second at 14:45 and the reversed grid finale is due to kick off at 17:25.
Qualifying will be streamed live on the ITV website at itv.com/touringcars while Saturday’s action will also be broadcast live on the ITV Sport YouTube channel.