27th April 2021

Team HARD successfully built, prepared and introduced the new Cupra Leon to the BTCC during the off-season, and Jack Goff set about unlocking some of its potential during the Season Launch event at Silverstone last week (22 April).

The Cupra proved to be one of the most eye-catching unveilings ahead of the 2021 campaign and the Kent-based squad has also been one of the more active in terms of on-track running, but it wasn’t until the official pre-season test at Silverstone that we were able to gauge the new car’s early credentials.

Goff was the standout performer of the team’s quartet of drivers as both Glynn Geddie and Nic Hamilton continue to acclimatise to the new machine, whilst Aron Taylor-Smith’s #40 car endured a few complications on the day.

The team completed a total of 300 laps of the National circuit, producing another 500 miles of data for the squad to assess in the ongoing development of the new car. Goff was the quickest car overall in the morning session, and the multiple race winner duly backed up that pace by setting the second fastest lap in the afternoon – just 0.194s shy of Gordon Shedden’s benchmark.

“That’s the quickest I’ve ever been around Silverstone,” enthused Goff. “In the afternoon session, we had the soft tyres on, but we went well in the morning on the mediums too.

“The nicest thing about this car is that when you make a small tweak, you can really feel the difference, so it really helps to make significant progress. We made some changes throughout the day, and because you can feel it in the car almost immediately, we were able to quickly see the things that work and those that don’t.”

While testing is not a clear barometer for things to come in the season ahead – particularly as car weights, setup and tyres are largely only known to each individual team ­– the early form of the all-new Cupra is at least encouraging with little over a week to go before the opening rounds.

“It’s looking positive, but I’ve been around long enough to be a realist in these situations, and I know our competition probably aren’t at their maximum yet. I’m sure other teams have got more to come, and I’m keeping my feet firmly on the ground until Thruxton.

“I honestly still believe we’re aiming for top ten currently – that’s where I want to be realistically – and if we’re battling in the top ten at the first race weekend, I think we’ll have done a pretty decent job.”

Rounds 1, 2 and 3 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at Thruxton in Hampshire on 8/9 May.

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