TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK boasts strong Snetterton record

23rd May 2024

Snetterton has been a happy hunting-ground for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK in the British Touring Car Championship in recent seasons, and the team is aiming to continue its success this weekend (25-26 May) as it heads east for the third outing of the series’ 2024 campaign.

The British-built Toyota Corolla GR Sport has been a regular front-runner around the demanding 2.97-mile circuit – the longest on the calendar, featuring a blend of high, medium and low-speed sections – with one of its drivers reaching the rostrum there every year since 2020.

Snetterton is also home soil for former FIA World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff, who grew up in nearby Cambridgeshire and achieved his second BTCC victory at the track in 2004, defeating a trio of past and future title-winners in the process. Since rejoining the grid this season for the first time in two decades, the 44-year-old has settled swiftly back into the groove, finishing inside the points four times out of six and battling spiritedly for the lead in the final race of the Donington Park curtain-raiser.

Huff has not ascended the top step of the podium in the country’s premier motor racing series since that sunny September day 20 years ago – but it is a statistic he is looking to change sooner rather than later.

In the sister Toyota, team-mate Andrew Watson triumphed at Snetterton in both Ginetta Juniors and the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup earlier in his career, and the Northern Irishman – the BTCC’s reigning Jack Sears Trophy winner – has been a consistent scorer in every race so far in 2024. This weekend, the 29-year-old is aiming to turn up the wick to convert his unquestionable single-lap qualifying pace into Sunday silverware.

In a tactical twist, for the first time this season, competitors will need to run all three Goodyear tyre compounds – soft, medium and hard – over the course of race day, meaning strategy will be every bit as important as speed in the quest for glory.

Following Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session at 15:30 – 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 10:50. 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: “It’s certainly been a fast and frenetic start to the campaign, as is par for the course in the BTCC, and we’ll soon be back on the road again headed for Snetterton. It’s not somewhere we tend to visit much outside of race weekends, but we always enjoy going there since it presents a unique challenge – as the longest circuit in the country, it has pretty much every type of corner imaginable!

“It’s also a track where we’ve achieved a fair degree of success over the years, especially with the Corolla, so we’re confident we’ll be in good shape – and while our results so far this season are not an accurate representation of our performance, that only gives us even more motivation to show what we’re capable of.

“There’s no question that it’s going to be an interesting weekend in terms of strategy with the three different tyre compounds for the first time in 2024, so we will need to make sure we’re absolutely on top of our game from the word ‘go’ in order to maximise our potential and grasp every single opportunity that comes our way.”

Rob Huff, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said: “Obviously Snetterton is my home track, and while I’ve never driven on the new layout, it’s always been an amazing circuit and very rewarding when you get it right. For fans, it tends to produce some of the best racing of the year so I’m feeling very excited and hope to see the Norfolk crowds out in force cheering us on.

“I feel we’re making good progress with the Corolla and have quite quickly arrived at a very solid baseline for the car. It’s a constant learning process and the team has been extremely receptive to driver feedback. We need to keep exploring and trying different things out; they won’t always work, but ultimately, that is the only way we are going to improve.

“In terms of hybrid, it’ll be nice to actually be able to deploy the full 15-second allocation over the lap after struggling to do so at Brands Hatch due to the ‘Indy’ layout being so short, and the extra tyre compound will make things even more unpredictable than usual by adding another variable into the mix.

“For me, the most important thing is to have a trouble-free weekend. I think we’ve had more than our fair share of bad luck so far this season, so hopefully Snetterton will be the place where everything comes together and we score some really serious points. Put bluntly, I want to be heading home on Sunday night with some silverware.”

Andrew Watson, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said: “Snetterton is the kind of circuit where the best cars come to the fore, and I really think the Corolla’s chassis will shine there – especially through the slow and medium-speed sections, of which there are quite a lot – so that should hopefully allow us to fight towards the front of the field.

“Hybrid will make a big difference again, particularly down the long straights, and we go there with full deployment so we need to make sure we take maximum advantage of that. We will also be using all three tyre compounds for the first time this year, and we saw how big a difference there was between just the soft and the medium at Brands Hatch – so we can expect the gap between the soft and the hard to be massive.

“All of that means it will be difficult to achieve three strong results, and there will be a big tactical element to managing the weekend. When we’re able to go forward, we’ll need to make the most of it and when we’re taking the pain, it will be important to drive smart and try to stay out of trouble while limiting the damage.

“We’ve been fast at both Donington Park and Brands Hatch Indy already this season, and there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t be fast at Snetterton, too. Once we put everything together, I have no doubt the results will come.” © 2024
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