13th October 2023

CarStore Power Maxed Racing celebrated a record-breaking third Jack Sears Trophy title with Andrew Watson, at the final round of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship last weekend (7/8 October).

The Bidford-on-Avon team arrived at Brands Hatch with the formbook on their side, having scored podium finishes and challenged the front at three of the previous four race meetings.

With Watson and team-mate Mikey Doble also leading the race for the Jack Sears honours, the stage was set for an inter-team battle to claim the coveted prize, aimed at unearthing the next generation of BTCC stars.

Qualifying swung the momentum in Doble’s favour as he looked to reduce Watson’s 18-point lead heading into the weekend, with the Kent racer turning in another great performance on Saturday afternoon to put his Vauxhall Astra ninth on the grid.

Watson kept stride with his championship rival to claim P13, with Árón Taylor-Smith – a podium winner at Silverstone a fortnight prior – ensuring all three cars would start in points-paying positions with P15.

In the opening race, however, things took another twist. After holding his own against a host of his rivals, and gaining a spot to eighth, Doble made contact with another competitor at Stirlings which resulted in a DNF.

In Doble’s absence, Taylor-Smith and Watson banked solid points for the team in P11 and P14 respectively, with the latter now just needing to finish the second race to wrap up the honours.

From the get-go in Race Two, Watson took no risks with the opportunity to seal the title on the line, while Doble went on the offensive, and climbed superbly through the order. Gaining ten spots, the 24-year-old took the chequered flag and put in a valiant effort to take P16.

Two places behind was Watson, who crossed the line to wrap up a record-breaking third title for the team and spark jubilant scenes in the garage and on the pit wall.

In the final race, Doble would have the final word in a stellar season that has marked a real return to form for the team, battling forward to score points in P14 in the finale. Watson started and finished P18, with Taylor-Smith P21, having had to retire earlier from the second contest with a puncture.

CarStore Power Maxed Racing also notably finished as runners-up in the Independent Teams Championship, with Taylor-Smith, Watson and Doble ending the campaign second, fourth and sixth respectively among the Independent Drivers.

The team will now switch focus to its winter testing programme, before reconvening at Donington Park (27/28 April) in the Spring for the start of the 2024 season.

Andrew Watson said: “To end the season as Jack Sears Trophy champion is just incredible. We have had such an incredible debut season, and to get this title is exactly what we wanted to do.

“Right from the very first conversation we had about me making the switch to the BTCC, winning the Jack Sears Trophy was the objective, so to get the job done is incredible. I might have had to play it down at certain points this year, but this means absolutely everything to me.

“This is definitely my biggest result and biggest championship win to date, so yeah, incredible – I am really, really happy. The team have done a quite amazing job and special thanks to my engineer Dan Rathmill – what a legend – my sponsors, my mum, my dad, and my sister. It really means a lot to me.”

Aron Taylor-Smith said: “I’m so proud of what CarStore Power Maxed Racing and I have achieved across the season. On a personal level for me, I feel like it’s rejuvenated my career, and it’s given me so much motivation to get something sorted to stay here long-term, and to keep building with this incredible team.

“It’s cliché, but I’d love to give a particular shout-out to my partner network. Without them, I’d have to go and find a ‘proper job’, so I’m immensely grateful for their support. I’m not even referring specifically to the financials; it’s been so rewarding for me this year to have passionate, like-minded people in my corner at every race event, and they’ve definitely helped me unlock that extra tenth to kick on up the grid.

“Looking forward now, I’m keen to have a bit of a break and spend some time with my dog Archie, and our little family, but then it’s full focus on 2024, and I hope to be back, continuing this tremendous programme we’ve started to build with the team.”

Mikey Doble said: “What a weekend to cap off a fantastic season. Sadly, once again, things did not go my way on race day, but I feel we have certainly proved now that we have genuine top 10 race pace.

“Once again, an awesome job from the team to put together a fast car for me this weekend. My thanks must go to Adam for believing and welcoming me into his team for this season and to Martin, Richard my engineer and the rest of the guys and girls who have dedicated so much time and effort into the year.

“I wish them all a relaxing and happy off-season before we all start looking into 2024!” © 2024
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