MG head to Donington Park this weekend (18-19 April) looking to build on the debut performances of Jack Goff and Andrew Jordan at the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) rounds at Brands Hatch two weeks ago.
Kick starting the defence of the Manufacturer/Constructor title that was clinched in 2014, MG and Triple Eight enjoyed a strong start to the new campaign, currently sitting aloft the standings.
Following a successful weekend at Brands Hatch that included setting a new personal best for qualifying in the BTCC and securing his second series podium finish, Jack Goff arrives at the East Midlands circuit tied at the top of the standings with Honda’s Matt Neal.
“The first weekend as a whole was pretty good, it was nice to get the first podium out of the way and ticked off the list,” said Goff. “I didn’t expect to be leading the championship though, had you said to me coming into the weekend that I would be leaving at the top of the points I would of snapped your hands off for it.”
Carrying 66 kgs of success ballast into qualifying and the opening encounter around the 1.98-mile circuit, the 24-year-old has outlined leaving as the points leader as his main objective heading into rounds four, five and six.
“The MG should suit Donington, however I think we will be up against it, certainly in the first two races due to the ballast we are taking into the weekend,” said the former MG Trophy racer.
“Qualifying in the top ten has to be the main objective and race one will be a matter of dragging a result out of the car. Then from race two onwards I’ll be aiming to get that top step on the podium. I’m hoping to come away with a good haul of points again for the championship; I would like to lead the points still when we leave the track on Sunday evening.”
Also looking for a big points haul this weekend is Andrew Jordan, the 25-year-old keen to stake his claim on the 2015 title race with a standout performance at his local track. Currently the Pirtek-backed racer sits eleventh, just 17 points off his team-mate after the opening trio of races.
He said: “My aim for qualifying is to get pole, I think anything less than the front two rows will be a big disappointment. Realistically I want three top 5/6 finishes, obviously I want wins and podiums but throwing the reverse grid race in there I think 3 top 6 finishes would be a good points haul across the day, that said I think a win would be possible and that is what I will go there aiming for.”
Last season the MGs dominated the opening pair of races after locking out the front row in qualifying, taking a pair of 1-2s. The fast undulating nature of the Leicestershire track suits the streamlined MG6, which has proven itself to be fast in both wet and dry conditions, with Brands Hatch showing a controlled performance on the soft compound Dunlop tyre too.
Taking victory under the flight path of East Midlands airport in 2012 and 2013, Jordan has fond memories of Donington Park and enjoys the unique challenge that it presents as an ‘old school circuit’.
The 2013 champion said: “I have won there in the past and love racing at my home event, it’s a real old school circuit which for me really gets me going, I love it when circuits haven’t been changed to meet FIA safety requirements. The Craner Curves is a stand out section for me, I love the elevation change.”
On top of the battle to affirm a strong foothold in the championship, round four will mark Triple Eight Racing’s 500th race in the BTCC.
Founded in the winter of 1996, Triple Eight was formed by Derek Warwick, Roland Dane and Ian Harrison. The trio created one of the most formidable teams to ever enter a touring car paddock and have successfully expanded into V8 Supercars, Rallying and more recently GT racing. However, it is touring cars and the endeavors in the BTCC that have for many years been the fundamental discipline for the team.
Since joining the BTCC in 1997, Triple Eight has racked up an impressive 393 podiums, 130 wins and 113 fastest laps, meaning that a Triple Eight Racing prepared car has featured on the podium in 79 per cent of every race it has entered. Amassing 23 championship victories in the series as well, both Jordan and Goff have nothing but respect for what Team Principal Ian Harrison has achieved, and are looking to mark the special occasion in style.
“I have a huge amount of respect for H and what he has achieved in the sport, and I am very proud to be part of his team and to represent 888 in its 500th race,” explained Jordan. “I would love to get a win for him in race one, even if I did I can’t imagine him being too emotional; he doesn’t strike me as the soppy type!”
Goff added: “It's important to keep the boss happy, Andy may have the best chance of a podium in race one, I will be pushing hard no matter what.”
Co-founder of the Triple Eight team and the current Managing Director, Ian Harrison comments, “As everyone has noted, the MG was quick at Donington last year. We have to learn from Brands Hatch, get on top of the set up quickly, and ensure that we are on the money this weekend with both cars. While our 500th race is a landmark achievement, the focus this weekend is most certainly on building our momentum for the current season. You don’t win races by looking backwards. That said, we might have a bit of cake to mark the occasion, or a pastie from Greggs!”
Qualifying at Donington Park takes place on Saturday at 15:35 and on Sunday, the first of three BTCC races will be broadcast live and in high definition on ITV4 from 10:30.
Make sure you follow MG on Twitter and Facebook for information across the weekend, with all the latest news published on mg.co.uk.
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