Motorbase Performance kept up its record of collecting trophies in the chase for this year’s Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship and driver Rory Butcher is in the heart of the title battle after another rostrum finish at Thruxton last weekend.
Butcher’s spirit was remarkable as he took the brand new fourth-generation Ford Focus ST to a third-place finish in the final race in Hampshire as the crew looks ahead to the next three races at Silverstone this weekend. Butcher is right in the thick of the points chase in fourth position.
The daunting high-speed challenge of Thruxton is one that is relished by all drivers but the unique demands of the circuit are unique. In a usual season, teams would have the opportunity to test their hardware at the 2.36-mile layout first, but lockdown measures meant most crews went into last weekend’s three races with very little data in the bank.
Engineers on Motorbase’s brand new Focus were on a learning curve but both Butcher and team-mate Ollie Jackson scored points in each race in a superb return for the two-litre turbocharged Cobra Exhaust equipped Mk4 Focus ST.
Butcher said he was delighted with the learning process both he and the Motorbase Performance team went through over the course of the weekend on the notoriously demanding track. He lined up in sixth spot on the grid for the opening event and battled to a sixth, fifth and then a third place.
The flying Scotsman said: “We have arrived at certain tracks and we have not even changed a rollbar from the opening practice session through to the end of qualifying, the car has been that good, but we had never been to Thruxton before and it was a huge learning curve. We gathered a lot of data which will only help us when we come back to this track.”
The work going on in the background helped Butcher, the reigning Independents Trophy holder, to sign off the weekend with high, and he is full of optimism looking ahead to Silverstone’s races on Sunday.
“We came away with strong finished in all of the races and I was delighted with the podium in race three, especially as I was under pressure from Ash Sutton all through the way through race, and he is a guy you don’t want hunting you down,” added Butcher.
“Thruxton was an important day, but now we head to the next challenge. Silverstone is much more like the circuits we have been to previously, the surface is similar to other circuits and it is a much more generic track. I think we will slot right in at the sharp end there.”