13th September 2021

Team HARD. Racing’s quartet of CUPRA drivers endured a trying time out at Thruxton last month, as the squad struggled to get to grips with the 2.37-mile circuit during the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.

Find out how Nic Hamilton, Aron Taylor-Smith, Jack Mitchell and Jack Goff found the weekend below...

Nic Hamilton, ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading, said: “It was a really tough day for the team. We’re struggling with the car. Every time we come to a new circuit, even though we’ve been already to Thruxton this year, we’re trying new things. There are some changes made that have worked and there’s some that haven’t but generally we seem to improve the car throughout the day.

“Race three was my strongest race of the day in terms of race pace. It was a bit stop-start with the safety cars, and there was a lot of instances of avoiding action for me. However, I think race three was definitely my best race of the day, which is something positive that I can take away [from the weekend].

“I’m looking forward to Croft because I think we will be more consistent there in terms of the car; we’re learning more in every race we do. Let’s wait and see what happens at Croft because I think we’ll be a lot more competitive.”

Aron Taylor-Smith, Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions, said: “It was a very, very hard day today. Normally there are some positives as you make a bit of progress here and there, however we didn’t make a huge amount. At the end of the day, a puncture in race one and a driveshaft issue in race two just isn’t what you want.

“Unfortunately, in race three I got caught up in an incident that shouldn’t have been an incident which put a lot of grass in the radiator. That race was marginally better than the last, but we still haven’t unlocked what we need on this hard tyre. I think before we come back here, we’ll do a lot of testing on the hard compound just to figure out what does and doesn’t work. A nightmare of a day but at the same time we are going to Croft where we should perform better, so fingers crossed!”

Jack Mitchell, Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct, said: “It wasn’t really the weekend I was looking for. It was my first time here at Thruxton and I knew things would be difficult, but as a team we all seemed to struggle on pace. We were racing at a low speed most of the time and it got to the point where we agreed that we needed to make some big changes, but they didn’t seem to fix our problems and only made our pace worse. We got slower over the weekend, but I’m glad we made the changes as we needed to try different things. We’ve still got a long way to go with the car and are still developing it at each track we go to but it’s going to be tough. I do feel like we’ll get there in the end, though.”

Jack Goff, Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct, said: “It’s been hard, really hard. But if any positives have come from this, I feel that we improved during the last race. Unfortunately, it’s too late when it’s the last race of the day that you start to find improvements.

“We’ve been working as hard as we can, changing the car drastically every single time we go out, but we just haven’t been able to put our finger on the issue. Even in the last race we weren’t fast enough – even though it was an improvement on the day and meant that we actually got the opportunity to race. In the first two races we weren’t really racing, we were just circulating a little bit, so that was nice. We’ll reset, we’ll go again, and I do believe that getting back on the medium tyre will be a massive benefit to us.”

With the next rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship this weekend (18/19 September), the squad heads to Croft in North Yorkshire ready to put Thruxton’s races behind them and continue the development of the new-for-2021 CUPRA Leons.

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