Thursday, November 30, 2023

Maurice Henry Column: BTCC Racer

I’ve labored onerous from the age of eight to get thus far, all the time working with a price range drawback, all the time attaining one thing in opposition to the percentages. Within the phrases of the late Craig Breen R.I.P “Don’t let anybody ever put you down as a result of solely you already know your true potential”. To be signed by a giant racing workforce is a dream come true. And regardless of being nonetheless on a decent price range, I’ve a improvement alternative to grow to be an expert racing driver.

Credit score: Group HARD.

This 12 months I can be targeted on BTCC racing improvement. We’ve entered the British Endurance Championship however in a singular method, racing an Audi S3 BTCC automotive. It will be a problem for the workforce, to develop a dash automotive for endurance racing, however my job is to develop with the workforce, perceive the automotive, and develop my driving abilities in readiness for any future industrial alternative to enter the BTCC! Group HARD. Racing is a giant workforce that has achieved success throughout a number of racing sequence within the UK, their halo presence being within the British Touring Automotive Championship, the premier racing sequence within the UK. Regardless of being an enormous workforce, it’s like being part of a family-run enterprise. I’m actually comfortable there and have been welcomed by everybody.

Credit score: Cecil Henry

Engaged on a decent price range, testing can be restricted, and far of my improvement can be within the races themselves. However in two and three-hour endurance race distances shared with my teammate Daryl Deleon, we’ll work onerous to study from the chance. The primary spherical was at Silverstone on the complete GP circuit, a giant problem for my first expertise of the automotive, my first time racing on slick tyres and with over 3 instances the ability of final season and round a circuit with very quick corners. My purpose was to progressively take the automotive quicker and quicker however to take care of it and maximise our time in free apply, somewhat than going over the boundaries and throwing it off. After solely getting moist expertise within the Friday apply, I voted for Daryl to do the primary qualifying, provided that he has extra expertise at these speeds and on slicks, having received the Radical World Collection this 12 months.

Credit score: Group HARD.

We certified fifth and have been operating effectively within the race. The automotive doesn’t have an equal, however we’ll race every part in entrance of us. It will likely be powerful racing in opposition to Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, and McLaren’s, however we have been aggressive. After taking on from Daryl for the second stint within the race and shuffling down the order after our pit cease, I progressively took the automotive quicker and quicker, enhancing my lap instances and overtaking different vehicles. It felt good to be aggressive.

Credit score: BEC / Laura Jones

Sadly, the automotive began to have an issue and so I headed again to the pits the place I needed to cease the automotive within the pit lane. We recovered the automotive to the storage however it wasn’t potential to get the automotive again into the race. Bringing a BTCC automotive which is designed for brief dash races to an endurance race can have its challenges and the workforce will develop the automotive to go the gap. However the undertaking attracted loads of consideration within the paddock.

That leads me again to the long-term plan. This 12 months the main focus is on getting seat time in a BTCC automotive. I actually recognize my sponsors supporting and enabling my improvement. That is the primary season that we’re totally reliant on sponsorship while the household recovers from getting me this far. We need to be on the largest commercially helpful platform subsequent season which is the BTCC which might reward my sponsors with most publicity. We’re looking for extra sponsors to return on board this season and subsequent, so please get in contact. The longer term is vibrant and the journey is inspirational for all concerned.

Because of my sponsors Built-in Air Methods, Goodridge-Milford Funeral Administrators Ltd and RHF Followers Ltd.

The following spherical is on 22 April at Manufacturers Hatch on the Indy structure, which can be relentless! Hopefully, see you there. I’ll go away you with a abstract of my first expertise racing within the BEC: