Belcher set for BTCC debut
Handy Motorsport’s Simon Belcher will join the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship grid next weekend, 29th/30th March, when the 2014 season gets underway at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.
Since officially confirming his graduation from the Renault UK Clio Cup feeder series, where he won back-to-back Masters Cup titles in 2012 and 2013, the 40-year-old has been working hard behind the scenes, as well as behind the wheel of his Toyota Avensis, to prepare as well as possible for his BTCC debut.
This week’s officially timed pre-season test and Media Day, which took place at Donington Park last Tuesday, gave Belcher an opportunity to run on track with the majority of his fellow competitors for the first time. The onset of wet weather early in the afternoon run, however, prevented the Handy Motorsport crew from being able to gain a true picture of progress made with no chance to run on fresh, slick Dunlop tyres after off-track PR activities delayed participation in the test session.
Even so, Belcher completed a total of 51 laps – most on wet-weather rubber – with a best time of 1:15.734 coming on his eighth lap of the afternoon on old slick tyres. While the lack of dry running wasn’t ideal, the experience in wet conditions was still welcome.
The hardest thing at Brands is going to be getting clear laps in qualifying with 31 cars on the grid! It’s been an unbelievably busy few months, and everyone involved in the project has been working so hard, but to finally almost be there at the first round is a fantastic feeling. – said Belcher.