TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK bidding to build on early promise

9th May 2024

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK is headed for Brands Hatch this weekend (11-12 May) for the second instalment of the 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign, with a firm focus on converting the promise shown in last month’s season curtain-raiser into solid on-track results.
Between them, Rob Huff and Andrew Watson piloted the pair of Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Corolla GR Sports to five points finishes out of six at Donington Park, with the latter further underscoring the car’s palpable potential in qualifying by advancing to the ‘Quick Six’ shootout at the first time of asking.
After engaging in a crowd-pleasing duel for the lead with fellow Toyota driver Aiden Moffat in Leicestershire, Huff travels to Brands Hatch occupying ninth place in the title chase. It was around the Kent venue’s short ‘Indy’ loop that the former FIA World Touring Car Champion notched up his first BTCC podium finish in just his fourth start in the UK’s premier motor racing series back in 2004 – followed by a memorable maiden triumph later the same season.
Three spots further back in the points table, stablemate Watson was a winner at Brands Hatch in the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup in 2014. The 29-year-old Belfast native is preparing to tackle the ‘Indy’ layout for only the second time in a touring car, but he can take considerable encouragement from the team’s prior record there.
Indeed, the 1.21-mile circuit was the scene of Speedworks’ breakthrough BTCC success in 2016 with the Toyota Avensis. Continuing that form, the Corolla captured pole position and a podium hat-trick at the track four years later. 
Following Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session at 15:25 – streamed on ITV Sport’s YouTube channel – every moment of Sunday’s doorhandle-to-doorhandle action will be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4, beginning at 11:00. All three races will similarly be shown on the ITV Sport TikTok channel, in the UK and globally.
Christian Dick, Team Principal, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said: “We go to Brands Hatch with a lot of confidence following our performance at Donington Park – and probably a little unfinished business, too, after not coming away with the kind of results we felt we deserved on the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK side of the garage.
“What we did take away with us were a lot of positives and reasons for encouragement, from Andrew’s excellent qualifying to Rob’s standout drive in race three, which leave us very optimistic that when we execute a full weekend, we will reap the rewards.”
Rob Huff, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said: “Brands Hatch is a place with a lot of history for me. My first-ever touring car win there in 2004 came at the end of what was probably one of the most famous last laps in BTCC history. 
“There was a safety car intervention that set up a single-lap dash to the line, with my team-mate Jason Plato leading from Matt Neal, Yvan Muller and me. All hell broke loose on that final lap, and after going into Paddock Hill Bend in fourth place, somehow I came out of Druids in the lead. To this day, I’m not entirely sure how that happened! It was an amazing way to win my first BTCC race, and it’s a moment that is still talked about now.
“It’s a fantastic spectator circuit that always attracts a big crowd, and hopefully the sun will put its hat on this time and we get some dry weather! We certainly go to Brands armed with plenty of useful data from pre-season testing, and we learnt a lot at Donington, too, both on-track and from an operational point-of-view.”
Andrew Watson, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said: “You never maximise everything during the first weekend of the season, but overall, Donington Park was a really promising start. We know we have a lot of opportunities to further improve performance, and we know where those opportunities are, but the important thing is we’re in the mix.
“We’ve shown we can get the job done in qualifying, so next, we need to translate that single-lap speed into race results. I had a few issues in the races at Donington, but we’re confident they have now been resolved. All four drivers are working well together and the team is pushing hard in every area. Aiden [Moffat] has proved what the Corolla is capable of over a race distance, so once we piece everything together, we will be aiming for podiums and wins every weekend. We’re fully up for the fight!” © 2024
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