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  • AmD with Cobra Exhausts targets points on the board at Thruxton

    The AmD with Cobra Exhausts team will seek to return to the points scoring positions when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads for Thruxton this weekend for the third round of the year.

    The team enjoyed a strong start to the campaign at Brands Hatch, with Ollie Jackson taking a maiden podium finish in the series, but then failed to score last time out at Donington Park – despite both Jackson and rookie team-mate Sam Smelt showing strong pace on track.

    Tamworth-based Ollie could – and arguably should – have added to his points tally during the second meeting of the year but was the victim of some robust driving from his on-track rivals over the course of race day. 

    Despite that, the 34-year-old remains well placed in both the Independents’ Championship and the Jack Sears Trophy as he returns to the circuit where he picked up his first points finish in his Audi S3 back in 2016.

    Since then, extensive work from the team has transformed the car into a regular points-scoring contender, leaving Ollie in optimistic mood about his chances on track. 

    Team-mate Sam will be making his race debut at the fastest circuit on the calendar, with his only previous experience of the Hampshire venue coming during official testing last month.

     A busy day on track allowed the Northampton racer to complete more than 50 laps as he worked to gain as much knowledge and experience of the circuit as possible.

    Fresh from a strong performance on track at Donington, where he broke into the top 20 in qualifying for the first time, Sam will seek to try and challenge towards the top 20 come race day and maintain the progress made in his short touring car career to date. 

    Ollie Jackson, #48 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

    “Thruxton hasn’t always been my favourite circuit on the calendar, but I’m looking forward to going there this weekend. Sam had a productive test last month that has given us a good base set-up to start with, and I’m keen to see how we get on. 

    Sam Smelt, #23 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

    “I’m really looking forward to Thruxton. The test we did last month was the first I’ve been there and the circuit was everything people told me it would be. It’s extremely fast and I’m excited about the prospect of racing there for the first time this weekend.

    Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhausts team principal, said:

    “Both Ollie and Sam have done a good job during the first two rounds of the year and we head to Thruxton feeling optimistic about their chances. Although the podium at Brands Hatch was the obvious highlight, both drivers have impressed with the way they have driven so far this season and we’ll be hoping for more of the same this weekend. 

    “Ollie deserved to score more points last time out at Donington Park and with the race pace he has shown already this year, there is no reason why he can’t hope to add to his tally this weekend. For Sam, his first race meeting at Thruxton will throw up another new challenge but we’ve been impressed by his approach so far and if he can maintain the progress he showed at Donington then hopefully he’ll be firmly in contention for his best results to date.”

  • Strong pace unrewarded in the BTCC at Donington Park

    The AmD with Cobra Exhausts team was left to wonder what might have been after missing out on more strong points as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed for Donington Park for the second round of the year.

    The team was looking to build on a fine season opener at Brands Hatch, where Ollie Jackson had picked up a podium in his Audi S3 and rookie Sam Smelt had secured three solid finishes on his series debut.

    The Cobra Sport team attended the event with the events trailer, providing quotes for direct fit & custom build performance exhausts along with stocking the expanding range of AmD with Cobra Exhausts official team wear.

    Ollie qualified in 27th place having been stripped of his best time in the session for exceeding track limits; a lap that would have put him 18th on the grid for his 150th race in the series.

    Showing the pace in his Audi, Ollie made up six places on the opening laps and was making good progress until he came up behind the Honda of James Nash, with ultra-defensive driving from his rival leaving him to finish the race in 19th place.

    Going into race two, Ollie was keen to continue his forward progress and moved up five places on the first lap into the points scoring positions. Having climbed to twelfth, a top ten finish looked like being on the cards before contact from Rob Collard’s BMW at the start of the fourth lap saw him go off track at Hollywood.

    Forced to pit as a result, he would end the race down in 29th place, which is where he then started the final race of the weekend. A storming first lap saw him rocket up to 18th place despite being on the less favourable hard tyre and although he would get up into the points, Ollie would be shuffled back to 16th at the finish – just missing out on adding to his championship tally.

    Team-mate Sam enjoyed an impressive performance in qualifying at the wheel of the sister Audi to qualify in 18th place, with his focus for race day being to try and gain valuable experience of running in the pack.

    Maintaining a place inside the top 20 in the early laps, Sam lost places when an error on lap four saw him run off track and from there, he focused on bringing his car to the finish which he did in 28th spot.

    Race two would end in disappointing fashion when driveshaft failure forced him to retire after eight laps whilst there was further misfortune in race three when, having made up five places, he was tipped into a spin at the Old Hairpin that dropped him off the back of the field; a 24th place finish being the end result.

    Ollie Jackson, #48 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

    “This is a weekend that could have been so different, and we could easily have come away from it with three good points finishes. As it is, we come away from it with nothing on the board despite having good pace in the car once again. 

    “If anything, the performance of the Audi was actually stronger than it was at Brands Hatch but where we were in qualifying hurt our chances. Race one was going well until we came up behind the Honda and there is no doubt we’d have had a top ten in race two without being punted off. 

    “On the hard tyre, it was a case of doing what we could in race three and we nearly got some points so I’m not disheartened. Clearly we have good speed in the car and hopefully we can be back in the points at Thruxton.” 

    Sam Smelt, #23 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

    “I took a big step forwards in qualifying and to be 18th on the grid was fantastic as it put me right in the mix. I have to hold my hands up that I made a mistake in race one which was a shame, and then in race two, there was nothing I could do about a mechanical problem that forced us out. 

    “In race three, I got hit off track which dropped me way behind the rest of the field and it just sums up the luck I had on race day if I’m being honest. Despite that, I’m not disappointed because I’ve been able to learn a huge amount again – more than I did at Brands Hatch. The aim now is to keep making progress at Thruxton in a few weeks time.”

    Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhausts team principal, said:

    “Both Ollie and Sam have done a good job on race day and it’s unfortunate that the end results don’t reflect it. Ollie was on the back foot after qualifying but the pace he showed in the three races was very encouraging and he could well have come away from the weekend with some good points on his board.

    “Sam has also taken a big step forwards in terms of his performance this weekend and it is unfortunate that luck wasn’t on his side on race day, but he I hope that when we get to Thruxton he can continue to move his way forwards towards the points scoring positions.”

  • AmD with Cobra Exhausts Stun with Podium at Brands Hatch!

    The AmD with Cobra Exhausts team enjoyed a stunning start to the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season with a fine podium finish at Brands Hatch.

    The team went into the opening meeting of the campaign eager to impress, with returning driver Ollie Jackson keen to push for points and series debutant Sam Smelt targeting valuable mileage to build his experience. 

    Tamworth-based Ollie showed solid pace throughout practice but the tight nature of the times meant he had to settle for 23rd on the grid in qualifying despite being just six-tenths of a second away from pole position. Northampton-based Sam meanwhile lined up 32nd on the grid for race one with a best time less than 1.2secs off pole. 

    Rain greeted the team for the opening race of the weekend but Ollie reveled in the wet conditions when the lights went out, fighting his way up to 16th place on the opening lap and into the points by the time the Safety Car was deployed on lap two. 

    Racing hard in the midfield throughout, he brought his Audi S3 home to the finish in twelfth spot to pick up some early championship points whilst Sam achieved his aim of a solid finish in 24th. 

    Changeable conditions going into race two left teams with a decision to take over which tyres to run, with Ollie and the team gambling on going with slick rubber on the drying track. 

    Early on, that meant he slipped back down the order but as the circuit conditions improved, so he started to rapidly climb his way up the order. From 21st at the end of lap twelve, Ollie had raced his way into the top eight by lap 20 and continued to pick off the drivers ahead to run in a four-car train battling for the lead with three laps to go. 

    When one of those cars ahead then ran off track, Ollie moved into third place to secure his maiden BTCC podium, a first for the Audi S3 and the team’s first since Knockhill in 2014.

    Sam elected to run with wet tyres and that allowed him to climb up into the top 20 in the early stages of the race but he would ultimately finish 25th when the performance of his tyres dropped away.

    Fourth on the grid for race three thanks to the reverse grid draw, Ollie made a strong start despite being forced to carry success ballast on his car and climbed up to second when the lights went out. 

    Although he would slip back to seventh place, Ollie looked well placed to pick up another strong finish only for contact on the final lap to cost him valuable places as he crossed the line in 14th.

    Sam’s strongest drive of the weekend was rewarded with another 25th place finish as he got involved with racing with the pack; gaining valuable experience to take forwards into the races to come.

     Ollie Jackson, #48 Audi S3, said:

    “It’s been an emotional weekend. We’ve worked so hard as a team to improve the Audi and have been getting quicker and quicker, and today we’ve been able to fight for strong results across all three races. 

    “Race one was perhaps the race of the day to be honest and to come from where we where on the grid to finish twelfth was really good and helped to set up the result in race two.

    “We knew it was a gamble to go with slicks but also knew that the circuit was only going to get drier and it proved to be the right call. The car was absolutely fantastic and to bring home a podium was beyond our expectations coming into the weekend.

    “Even with the success ballast onboard for race three, we could well have had a top five finish had we not been hit off track a few times, which also cost us the Jack Sears Trophy this weekend.

    “However, I can’t go away from a weekend where I’ve taken my first podium feeling disappointed and I think we have shown this weekend that we deserve to be taken seriously in this series and aren’t just here to make up the numbers. We have to now try to build on this and fight for regular points as the season goes on." 

    Sam Smelt, #23 Audi S3, said:

    “It’s been a good weekend for me. Coming into the weekend my aim was to have three clean races and pick up three finishes and that is what I’ve managed to do. I think I improved in terms of my performance on track every time I went on track, and the feedback I was able to give the team has also improved.

    “It’s been good for me to sample all kinds of weather and the experience will only aid me going forwards through the rest of the year. This weekend has been a case of mission accomplished and my focus now is on trying to take another step forwards when we get to Donington Park.”

    Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhausts team principal, said:

    “It’s been a fantastic weekend to start the season and to come away with a podium is way more than we could have imagined.  The team has worked hard all weekend to improve the car and both Ollie and Sam have done a good job on track.

    “Ollie has driven better than he has ever done before across race day and he made the most of the tyre call in race two with a fantastic performance. To secure his first podium in that way was brilliant but it was just as impressive to see how he drove with extra weight in the car in race three. If anything, that showed the steps forward we have taken with the Audi and he certainly deserved more than he got.

    “The conditions this weekend have made it difficult for Sam given his experience, but he has done exactly what we wanted him to do. He stayed out of trouble, has got quicker as the weekend has gone on and put in a solid drive in race three.

     “I have to give huge thanks to everyone involved with the team for their efforts on a weekend like this, particularly the likes of Cobra and Carbon Clean as we wouldn’t be racing without their support and hopefully we can build on these results as the season goes on.”

  • Ollie Jackson and Sam Smelt confirmed for 2018 BTCC season

    The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts BTCC team can today confirm that Ollie Jackson and Sam Smelt will race the teams Audi S3s in the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

    The team heads into the new campaign seeking to build on the impressive progress made throughout last year, when it picked up it’s best points haul in the series to date. Tamworth-based Ollie returns for a third successive season with the team on the back of a strong 2017 that saw him start a race from pole, lead a race for the first time and finish inside the top ten in the Independents’ championship standings.

    He will seek to build on those results to regularly push towards the top ten, with the 33-year-old aiming to make the most of improvements being made to the Audi over the winter to try and push for a maiden podium finish. Ollie will also look to challenge for honours in the revised Jack Sears Trophy, which is now open to drivers who go into 2018 having yet to take to the overall podium.

    New team-mate Sam meanwhile will be making his debut in the series this season as he makes a return to tin-top competition for 2018. The 21-year-old from Northampton ended last year racing in the BTCC-supporting British F4 series, having earlier competed in the Volkswagen Racing Cup. Having graduated from karting twelve months ago, this season will be Sam’s second year in car racing, with the youngster looking to gain as much experience as possible to make progress up the highly-competitive grid.

    Work is currently ongoing to prepare the two Audis for pre-season testing, which is scheduled to get underway in February ahead of the opening meeting of the season.

    Ollie Jackson, #48 Audi S3, said:

     

    “I’m delighted to be returning with the team for a third season with the Audi and am really excited about what 2018 holds. We made a lot of progress last year but I don’t feel the job is finished yet, and I’d like to think that we can continue to build on everything we learned in 2017.

    “The testing programme we have in place means we can do some proper pre-season running, and will allow us to be fully prepared for the start of the season at Brands. We’ll be able to hit the ground running and can then focus on maximising our performance on track.

    “Having regularly challenged for points last year, the aim for me is to push for top ten finishes from the outset and I certainly feel that a podium could be possible if things fall our way. Independents’ class wins and the Jack Sears Trophy are certainly realistic, and I feel we have a good chance of coming away from 2018 with some silverware.”

    Sam Smelt, #23 Audi S3, said:

     

    “I really enjoyed the chance to sample the Audi when I tested back in November and came away from the day having ticked all the boxes I felt I needed to tick. Given how well it went with the team, I saw a good chance to make the move up the BTCC and am delighted that we’ve been able to agree a deal.

    “I’m really excited about the fact that I’m going to be competing in the series this season, but I’m also aware that the step up is a big one in my second year of car racing. I think this will be a learning year for me, particularly in the first half of the season, and I’ll have to take it race-by-race and see how I get on. I’m expecting it to be tough at the start, but I’d like to think that as the year goes on, I’ll be able to start pushing for points finishes and fighting my way further up the field.”

    Shaun Hollamby, team principal, said:

     

    “We’re pleased to confirm Ollie and Sam as our drivers for 2018, and are confident that both can enjoy a successful year on track. “In Ollie’s case, he has taken huge strides forwards since he rejoined us back in 2016, particularly last year which was arguably his strongest season in the BTCC. Our hope for 2018 is to see him regularly challenge towards the top ten and push for the Jack Sears Trophy title

    “Sam faces a steep learning curve as a rookie driver, but he did a solid job when he tested the car in tricky conditions back in November. He is a youngster with a lot of potential, and there is no reason why he can’t look to challenge for points as the season goes on.

  • AmdTuning with Cobra Exhausts - BTCC Finale - Brands Hatch GP

    The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team brought the curtain down on the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season with two more points finishes at Brands Hatch.

    The team went into the weekend eager to challenge inside the top 15, and more points ensured that the Audi squad came away from the season finale with its highest ever points tally in both the BTCC Teams Championship and the Independents Team Trophy. 

    Tamworth racer Ollie Jackson would be the man to score on Finals Day having battled back well from a tough qualifying session that saw him line up 26th on the grid for the opening race.

    Making up places from the start when the lights went out, Ollie battled his way forwards towards and crossed the line in 14th spot to pick up two championship points.

    A 15th place in race two gave Ollie his 13th points finish of the campaign and although he just missed out on making it a hat-trick in race three, he concluded the season in a solid ninth place in the Independents’ Championship standings – only missing out on a top eight finish on podium countback.

    “Race day was a great turnaround from qualifying,” he said. “We got the car working and took a big step forwards that allowed us to push into the points. It’s a shame we couldn’t get higher into the top ten but then race three was a bit of a lottery with the conditions. We could have scored again there but there was a bit of contact that cost us the opportunity to get more points.

    “It’s been an up and down season but from where we started, I think we’ve made loads of progress and picked up some good results. I’ll look back on the season in a positive manner and I think we’ve done a good job as a team. The boys have been fantastic and the prep work they have done has been second to none. 

    “I’d love to return again next season and I feel that if we get a decent testing programme under our belt, we could really be in the mix for some good results from the very start in 2018.”

    Lichfield-based team-mate Ant Whorton-Eales was also eager to challenge for points and qualified 22nd on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.

    Having just missed out on the points scoring positions in race one, Ant was hopeful of pushing forwards in race two only to struggle to get heat into his soft compound Dunlop tyre in the early stages. 

    Once the tyre was performing at its best, Ant was one of the quickest drivers on track but had to settle for 18th place at the finish.

    Ant’s season would then draw to a close with a 25th place finish in race three after mid-race contact that damaged the rear of his car and a trip into the Paddock Hill gravel trap conspired to cost him valuable time.

    The rookie ends the year twelfth in the Independents’ Championship.

    “We had a good run in the opening race but then struggled a bit with the soft tyre in the opening laps of race two,” he said. “I thought we were screwed to be honest, but then the tyre came good and we had some really good pace – we got stronger as the race went on when I expected our speed to drop away.

    “I felt the pace we showed in the wet final race was good but then I took the wrong line into Paddock Hill and the back stepped out and I went into the gravel which is a real shame as we could have pushed towards the points; although the damage I picked up to the rear of the car might have stopped me from achieving it.

    “Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this season in the BTCC and I feel I have learned an awful lot. The hard work starts now to try and get back on the grid again next season and I’d love the chance to return with the team and the Audi to give it another go.”

    Team boss Shaun Hollamby declared himself pleased with the way the season had gone, and predicted that good things lie ahead as a result of the progress made during the season.

    “It’s good to end the year with more points on the board and both drivers have done a good job again,” he said. “The BTCC is so tight that is hard to make up places but that is what they both did and they showed that we have good pace in the Audi once again.

    “I’d like to thank both Ollie and Ant as well as everyone in the team and all of our sponsors, particularly Cobra Exhausts, for what they have done this season as we wouldn’t be racing without the combined effort of everyone involved.

    “Given the progress we have made this season, I think that we can look forward to going into 2018 with a car that is regularly capable of challenging for the top ten and can hope to secure some top results.”

    AmDTuning with Cobra Exhausts BTCC Team - 2017 Season

  • Seasons best for AmDTuning with Cobra Exhausts at Silverstone

    AmD Tuning with Cobra Exhausts BTCC Silverstone 2017The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team secured it’s best result of the season to date as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed for Silverstone for the penultimate meeting of the year.

    The team travelled to the Northamptonshire circuit seeking to maintain the solid form shown at Rockingham in the previous meeting, with both Ant Whorton-Eales and Ollie Jackson keen to challenge for points. 

    Lichfield racer Ant would prove to be one of the stars of qualifying as he put his Audi S3 in seventh place on the grid; the best qualifying performance for the car to date.

    Despite dropping a place on the opening lap, Ant would fight his way up as high as fourth as the race wore on and was sitting in sixth when an accident elsewhere forced officials to bring the race to a halt. 

    RaAmD Tuning with Cobra Exhausts BTCC Silverstone 2017ce two would prove to be a more challenging affair as Ant struggled to match his pace in race one, and contact from the VW of Jake Hill on the Wellington Straight saw him suffer a high-speed spin that dropped him down the field. 

    Crossing the line in 23rd, Ant would then fight back through the pack well in race three to finish 13th and pick up a second points finish of the weekend.

    “It’s been a good weekend and I’m pleased to come away with my best qualifying performance and my best race result so far,” he said. “We showed really good pace in race one and it was great to run at the sharp end of the field.

    “I’d hoped to try and match it in race two, but we didn’t have the same speed in the car for some reason, perhaps because of the extra success ballast we had to carry. Being turned round on a straight wasn’t a nice experience either and I was lucky that the guys behind didn’t collect me when I was sent spinning off at Brooklands. It’s a high-speed part of the circuit and to get taken off like that is just dangerous.

     AmD Tuning with Cobra Exhausts BTCC Silverstone 2017“I’m a bit shocked that we managed to come through to 13th on the hard tyre in race three but I stayed out of trouble and once we got the performance in the tyres, I had the legs on the guys ahead and could battle my way into the points. It’s a shame we just missed out on the Jack Sears Trophy win and I’ll be pushing for it when we get to Brands Hatch.” 

    Despite being under half a second away from pole, Ollie found himself starting race one from 20th place in the sister car but also showcased the speed of the Audi with an impressive drive to the fringes of the top ten.

    Having got as high as twelfth before the race was stopped, the Tamworth racer was well placed to push into the top ten in the second race but instead saw himself unclassified after heavy contact to the rear forced him to pit for repairs.

    AmD Tuning with Cobra Exhausts BTCC Silverstone 2017Luck then went against Ollie in race three when an incident ahead left him with nowhere to go when he came across cars blocking his path on the exit of Luffield, and despite taking to the grass in avoidance, a heavy hit to his Audi put him out on the spot.

    “The positive to take away from the weekend is that we showed again that we have a fast race car,” he said. “We took a step forwards from qualifying in the first race and it went really well. The slippery conditions on track really suited me and we made the most of it to push towards the top ten – which I think we could have achieved if the race hadn’t been stopped. 

    “From that point though, we’ve been robbed of the chance to fight for some top ten finishes by the same idiots who get involved in things over and over again. The levels of contact aren’t acceptable and instead of a good haul of points, we’re going away from Silverstone with a badly damaged car and a big repair bill ahead of Brands Hatch.

    “Something needs to be done because it keeps happening – and it’s always down to the same people.”

    AmD Tuning with Cobra Exhausts BTCC Silverstone 2017Team boss Shaun Hollamby admitted that the race weekend had left him with mixed emotions having displayed the highs and lows of the sport.

    “On one hand, we’ve picked up our best starting position and best result so far with the Audi, but on the other hand we’re also taking a damaged car back to base through no fault of our own,” he said. “Both Ant and Ollie have done a good job this weekend and have shown really good pace, particularly in the opening race. 

    “We should have been able to build on that in races two and three but stupid incidents that could – and should – have been avoided mean we’ve only picked up one more points finish and have got one badly damaged car.

    “When people are given penalties and then go back out on track and do exactly the same thing again, it’s clear that something needs to change so they are made accountable for their actions.”

    Photo's by Marc Waller & Car Scene UK Media

    Ollie Jackson - AmD BTCC 2017 - Silverstone

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