27th November 2020

Following Power Maxed Racing’s decision to field a single-car effort for the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, the squad gave no fewer than six drivers the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of one of its race-winning Vauxhall Astras.

When it came to choosing the drivers, the team prioritised giving up-and-coming competitors the chance to get their foot in the door. In fact, Power Maxed funded a large percentage of the drives itself – testament to its long-standing pledge to nurture talent and provide people with opportunities they may not otherwise have had.

“It was a real privilege to drive in the BTCC under the Vauxhall marque,” said Mike Bushell, who took part in the rounds at Oulton Park and Knockhill. “I’ve been lucky enough to drive for several teams in the BTCC since my debut in 2013, and Power Maxed Racing are right up there with the best.

“We were plagued by bad luck in the two events I contested, but the car had so much raw potential which was evident from the practice, qualifying and race times.

“If I ever had the opportunity to drive the Vauxhall again, I would jump at it. It was one of the best cars that I have worked with from an engineering perspective and responded and gave feedback in all the right ways.”

With the injuries sustained in his race three incident at Knockhill ruling Bushell out of the following event at Thruxton, it was BTCC old-hand and friend of PMR, Rob Austin, who seized the opportunity to return to the track.

“To be honest, the weekend at Thruxton made me realise how much I miss the BTCC, and just how good a job Alan Gow and his team have done this year in what can only be described as exceptionally challenging conditions,” the 39-year-old reflected.

“I have nothing but positive things to say about both the team and the car they’ve put together. Considering I had only a run up and down a runway before getting out on-track after two years out of racing, to achieve what I did proves to me that the Astra is one of the strongest cars on the grid. Together with the professional and detailed way in which PMR come at everything, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with next season, especially with Jason Plato in the car for a second year running.

“We bagged consistent points in every race and finished higher in the standings than some drivers that were in for the whole season so, considering my circumstances, I was over the moon with my weekend.”

Silverstone would see the first of the squad’s BTCC rookies take to the track, as Jade Edwards became the first female to contest a race in the series since 2007.

“Working with PMR was a pleasant experience from start to finish,” said Edwards. “They gave me the opportunity to live out a life-long goal and their professionalism, knowledge and understanding of how my sponsors work was second-to-none.

“PMR provided me with a great car and personnel to match – they’re certainly a team who have earned their position in the BTCC.”

Former Ginetta GT4 Champion Jac Constable was up next, but an unfortunately timed case of suspected appendicitis ultimately prevented him from taking part in the racing action, despite qualifying 21st at Croft.

“I must firstly say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone at Power Maxed Racing for the opportunity to drive in the BTCC at Croft and for their generous welcome, which wrapped me up within the team from the very first day I visited the factory,” he acknowledged.

“To be honest, it’s been seriously difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that I was too ill to race on the Sunday at Croft and it’s impossible to put into words how shattered I was to fall ill on the most important weekend of my racing life.

“In putting Sunday’s disappointment behind me, the memories of being one of the racers out there for the Saturday sessions will forever stay with me. Now I’m fully fit again, I’m raring to get back out there and only time will tell if I will be able to fulfil my dream of actually getting to race in the BTCC.

“It remains one of the best-loved and most celebrated motor racing championships, and the series continues to captivate millions of fans not only across the UK but from around the world. It’s my hope that Lady Luck is with us and we will see the fans back at the race circuits next year and if she has any luck left over, maybe I’ll be out there racing in front of them!”

Former MINI CHALLENGE Cooper Pro Class runner-up Jess Hawkins took on the longest circuit on the BTCC calendar – Snetterton’s 300 layout – during the penultimate race weekend of the year.

“I still can’t believe it’s happened, to be honest!” buzzed Hawkins. “I’ve been lucky enough to do some really cool stuff in my lifetime so far, but fulfilling the dream I’ve had since I was a little girl, to race a BTCC car blew my mind a little bit.

“The guys at PMR were awesome to deal with – they made me realise that there wasn’t pressure on me to win any races, but that the idea was for me to enjoy it and do as well as I could, with the limited testing we had. The guys helped me massively through the weekend at Snetterton, making sure I had all the ammo I needed to go out and get faster every session, which was my goal all along.

“The only problem now is that I’ve got the bug, and want more BTCC! The guys at PMR and I are still chatting and looking at some cool ideas, so don’t be surprised if you see me back on the grid in the future.”

For the season finale at Brands Hatch, it was Brad Philpot’s chance to race the Astra in Britain’s elite motorsport championship.

“The opportunity to work with Power Maxed Racing was really unexpected, but I’m proud we managed to build a project in such a short space of time and bring it to fruition at Brands Hatch for the season finale,” said Philpot.

“It was great to have an insight into the workings of a top BTCC team, and I’m grateful for the help and support PMR gave me during the process of learning everything I needed ahead of my debut.

“The team are clearly fantastic at what they do, and the car was engineered to an incredibly high standard. I’m happy to have had the chance to work with PMR and glad I managed to bring the car home in one piece after three exciting races.”

Already working hard on developing the Astra for the 2021 season, the squad is confident that having Jason Plato back in the car will put them back at the front of the grid from the off.

“This year has been hard for a lot of people, and it’s testament to the efforts of everyone involved behind-the-scenes that the BTCC has managed to run an almost full season, albeit behind closed doors,” concluded Team Principal, Adam Weaver. “What we decided to do commercially has given us the opportunity to meet some fantastic young drivers, as well as making some dreams come true, and hopefully helping propel people’s careers to where they deserve to be.

“We’re talking to some incredibly skilled drivers about the second seat for next season, and are looking for someone to work alongside us and Jason [Plato] in the long-term to get some trophies under our belts. Make no mistake, we are gunning for that title next year, and we won’t be pulling any punches to ensure we’re on that top step at Brands next October.” © 2024
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