The eighth round of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship saw the UK’s most widely followed championship roll into the home of British Motorsport at the iconic Silverstone venue. Expectations were high for Briggs Equipment’s sponsored driver, Aron Taylor-Smith after a season’s best race weekend at Croft less than a week ago and the Irishman did not disappoint in front of a crowd of over 40,000 spectators.
Straight out of the blocks, the car was ultra competitive with Taylor-Smith topping the time sheets in the early phases of free practice. Silverstone always produces a tightly packed grid where cars are covered by mere hundreds of a second due to the nature of the circuit. After two strong performances in both free practices all eyes shifted to the all-important qualifying session, which determines the grid for race one.
Aron, commented: “I was happy with the balance of the CUPRA in free practice as we were focused on race pace and extracting the most out of the car on old tyres. I was quietly confident that once we bolted on new tyres then we would shoot to the sharp end of the grid. Unfortunately, with twenty minutes to go before qualifying the team found an issue with the diff. This meant that we had to change one of the most important components on the car right before qualifying to effectively a wet set up.”
Everyone at Team HARD performed impeccably to not only discover this issue, which would have prevented the car from taking part in qualifying to finding a solution. Taylor-Smith did what he could with a car that wasn’t optimised for the session but ended in a lowly 24th due to these issues with the only consolation prize of being the top performing Cupra. This would leave the Irishman with a lot of work to do on race day but as he showed at Croft, anything is possible.
Aron was able to once again put on a master class of race craft by carving through the field. The overnight preparations allowed the team the time to rebuild the diff and the result was one of the fastest cars in race trim. The first race was all about damage limitation with focusing on moving forward and by doing so, the Irishman showed just how fast the Cupra can be by moving forward an incredible seven places to finish in 17th at the end of the race.
Race two once again went in the favour of Taylor-Smith as he battled throughout the race to finish in the coveted top twelve and hopefully catch the reverse grid. The Briggs Equipment driver was carrying the live ITV on board cameras throughout the race and the viewers at home were treated to a superb BTCC race as he picked his way past another four cars to finish in twelfth.
However, the highlight of Silverstone came in race three as Taylor-Smith battled it out with championship protagonists throughout an enthralling encounter. A superb start saw Aron break into the coveted top ten, leap frogging the race one & two race winner. The Cupra looked on course for one of its best finishes of the season but touring cars lived up to its name and the Irishman eventually finished outside of the top ten. Nonetheless, it was a superb race where Taylor-Smith battled tooth and nail against multiple race winners and championship contenders to finish with another note worthy points finish in 14th.
“Yes, the end result of race three isn’t where I wanted it to be as we definitely had the pace to break into the top six but that is the BTCC. I really enjoyed getting stuck in and putting on a proper show but on this occasion it didn’t go my way. That is life and to even be in a position to be battling with manufacturer-backed cars with multiple race winners in them is massively encouraging. I am over the moon with the turn around over the course of this weekend and I am leaving Silverstone more confident than ever in the car.”
Leigh Edgley, Briggs Equipment’s Group Sales & Marketing Director, commented:
“It was another enthralling weekend of BTCC action for Aron and the team. There were disappointments, highs and everything inbetween, but what we saw once again was a driver and team working exceptionally hard to deliver a result. Sunday in particular was vintage championship racing and it was great to see the ITV cameras on board with Aron to provide a first hand view of the skill and nerve required to be a leading touring cars driver.
“We can’t wait for the action to start again and we’re already looking forward to Donington Park on October 9th!”
The BTCC season is running thick & fast at the moment as the championship gears up for the next race weekend at Donington Park on October 9th & 10th. Be sure to keep an eye on our social media channels for regular updates or tune in to ITV4 on October 10th to watch the action live.