Rookie Belcher making progress ahead of BTCC campaign

BTCC newcomer Simon Belcher says he and his Handy Motorsport squad are making “considerable” progress after their latest pre-season test outing at Oulton Park this week.

Providing the Swindon racer with his first meaningful dry weather running since he confirmed his graduation to the BTCC at the end of last year, the 40-year-old consistently improved his lap times throughout the day at the wheel of his Toyota Avensis and reported significant gains with set-up.While the beginning of the unofficially timed test was wet, by late morning conditions had improved enough for slick tyres to be used.

Avoiding any dramas, Belcher put together an impressive day’s work and was buoyed by the end result.

“This was the first opportunity I’ve had to have some solid track time in the dry and we made really good progress”, said the KÄRCHER-backed racer, “It started out wet but then did dry up mid-to-late morning, we kept bringing our times down and down all day and we’ve certainly got more stability in the car now.

“We’re not right up there with the front-runners and we obviously don’t expect to be at this stage, but, all in all, for our first proper dry run – especially with me being new to touring cars – we’re in a good position. I don’t think the times we managed at Oulton were too shabby at all.”

Simon Belcher
Credit: Jon Hobley / Network Images

With the start of Belcher’s debut season in the UK’s biggest and most popular motor racing category edging ever closer, more quality track time over the next couple of weeks will be crucial preparation as the double Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Champion gets ready to realise his long-held dream of racing in the BTCC.

“The car felt good, there are definitely some big improvements from the handful of dry laps we managed previously at Silverstone – the car is considerably better”, he added, “It’s all really exciting, all very positive and the car is still in one piece which is the important thing!”