AMD Milltek Racing BTCC Team Blog


Silverstone BTCC the final round

After a closely-fought qualifying session, Colchester-racer Martin Byford secured 24th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend and made good progress to work his way into the top 20 before a driveshaft issue forced him into the pits to retire.

An early pit stop in the second race of the weekend saw Martin drop off the lead lap and resulted in a 24th place finish, which was where he would then start the final race of the season at the wheel of his turbo-powered Volkswagen Golf.

With the car the best it had been all weekend for the season finale, Martin produced a storming start to make up seven places on the opening two laps alone and eventually crossed the line in 15th – ahead of newly crowned Independents’ champion James Nash and double BTCC title winner James Thompson.

“I really enjoyed the final race and it was good way for us to finish the season,” he said. “The driveshaft problem in race one meant we were on the back foot for the rest of the day with such a large field, but to come from 24th on the grid to finish 15th is a good result for the team and the car was the best it’s been all weekend.”

Having joined the AmD Milltek team for the second half of the season, series debutant Martin clinched a best finish of 14th during his time at the wheel of the VW Golf having shown the potential to run inside the top ten at a number of meetings.

“I have to admit that I’m gutted that I’ve not managed to break into the top ten and score a point in my half season because I feel we’ve deserved it on several occasions,” he said. “However, I’d like to think that I’ve proven myself and shown that I can compete against these guys and I feel that I can now call myself a touring car driver. The focus is now on working hard over the winter to get the budget together for a full season in the BTCC next year.”

Silverstone BTCC contd.

AmD Milltek end the 2011 season in twelfth place in the HiQ Teams’ Championship and tenth in the Independents’ Team Trophy, with team principal Shaun Hollamby admitting to mixed feelings at the end of the campaign.

“It was a tough weekend but it came to a good end in the final race,” he said. “Again, if the first race had ended differently then we could have been on for some points but that is motorsport for you. The important thing is that the car is in one piece and Martin has had another good run to finish the year.

“Overall I’d say the season has seen flashes of brilliance clouded with disappointment for us. So much work has gone into this year behind the scenes that I think we have deserved more but now we have to regroup, take stock and look at where the Golf stands for next season. We have to see what the finalised rules are for 2012 but we know that the VW has a good chassis and if the grid is all-turbo next year, we could have a more competitive package than we’ve had this year.”

Brands GP BTCC

The AmD Milltek team again showed strong pace during its second home meeting of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch, only to come away from the penultimate meeting of the year without a top ten finish.

The West Thurrock-based team went into the weekend keen to add to the points finishes it claimed earlier in the year, with Colchester-racer Martin Byford making his first appearance on the longer Grand Prix layout since 2003.

Martin qualified in 19th place at the wheel of his turbo-powered VW Golf but made strong early progress to make up two places through the opening laps. However, the failure of the coil pack on the car saw Martin forced to make an unscheduled trip the pits for a replacement, which in turn dropped him down to the rear of the field.

Rejoining just ahead of the leading Chevrolet of Jason Plato, Byford was forced to pull over to allow both Plato and Alex MacDowall through to lap his Golf but he was then able to keep pace with the leaders before ending the race in 22nd place.

A good start to race two saw Martin make up three places on the opening lap alone and he continued to make good progress to move into 15th position by the tenth lap. Almost matching the pace of cars running inside the top ten, Martin crossed the line in 15th place, ahead of the Vauxhall of Andrew Jordan, which took a race victory earlier in the season.

The final race of the weekend again saw Martin showing the pace to run towards the top ten, but his hopes of improving on his race two result were hit by contact from the SEAT of Dave Newsham early on and he crossed the line in 17th place, having once again set lap-times comparable with drivers inside the top ten despite braking issues as the race wore on.

“It’s been tough weekend for us this weekend,” he said. “I think I’ve been on the pace and have driven well but track position is vital when the series is as competitive as it is at the moment. Without the problem in race one, we’d have probably finished around eleventh of twelfth which would have really set us up for two good results in the following races and we could well have broken into the points.

“However, to get three finishes is good as it’s more mileage for me in the car and I feel more at home in the Golf every time I go out on track. It’s just a shame there is only one race weekend to come before the season ends.”

Team boss Shaun Hollamby said he was once again pleased with the pace shown by Martin on track, even if his performances at the wheel weren’t rewarded with a maiden top ten finish.

“Martin has shown good pace again, but we’ve just not come away from the weekend with the results to match,” he said. “We would probably have been on the cusp of the points finishes in race one and its frustrating that it was a relatively minor thing that meant we had to bring Martin in for a pit-stop, but the coil pack failing is just one of those things that happens sometimes.

Brands GP BTCC cont

“To come from 22nd to 15th in race two was good and showed the pace in the car and it was a solid performance in race three considering that the brakes were going spongy on the car and making it more difficult to drive. We’ve just got to go to Silverstone for the final rounds and focus on trying to end the year on a high.”

AmD Milltek shows strong pace at Rockingham

The AmD Milltek team showed strong pace throughout the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham only to come away from the eighth meeting of the 2011 season without any points to its name.

On his third outing for the West Thurrock-based team, former Clio Cup champion Martin Byford produced his most competitive performances of the season but was left to rue an incident on the opening lap of both race one and race two which hit his hopes of breaking into the top ten for the first time.

Colchester-racer Martin enjoyed easily his best qualifying result of the season on Saturday as he secured tenth on the grid for the first race of the weekend but was then caught out on the opening lap when an incident ahead saw him make contact with a rival car and dislodged the bonnet on his turbo-powered Volkswagen Golf. (see photo below)

Having managed to return to the pits despite having the open bonnet blocking his view, Martin was able to rejoin the race – albeit a lap down from the rest of the field – and took the chequered flag in 20th place.

Unfortunately for Martin, another incident ahead on the opening lap of race two again hit his hopes of a points finish after a coming together ahead resulted in contact with the Chevrolet of John George. With a broken bonnet catch, Martin was forced to return to the pits but then produced a fine drive to bring himself back level with the remainder of the field; posting the sixth fastest lap of the race but taking the chequered flag in 18th after his earlier delay.

Contact on the opening lap of race three saw the VW slip down to 20th place before Martin started making forward progress, although he spent much of the race on the end of a train of cars fighting for position in the midfield.

Running in 19th for a long spell, Martin finally managed to battle ahead of the Ford of Michael Caine and the struggling Honda of championship leader Gordon Shedden before a last lap move saw him claim 16th from Knockhill race winner Tom Chilton – again showing strong race pace with the Golf despite spending the full 16 laps in traffic and with damage to the bodywork sustained in race two affecting his straight-line speed.

“It was difficult to come back from what happened in race one,” he said. “Race two was equally frustrating given the pace we showed in the car and then in race three, I lost out when I got hit at turn two and it meant I was in a train of traffic throughout."

Team boss Shaun Hollamby was left frustrated by the failure to score points on what had been a strong weekend for the Volkswagen squad, but with the team’s home circuit of Brands Hatch coming up next in a fortnight’s time, hopes remain high of a strong performance on the iconic GP circuit.

“In the BTCC, you need to basically treat the three races as one because they all have an effect on each other – given that your starting positions are dependent on earlier results,” he said. “You’ve got to finish, and finish well, and we were on the back foot after the first lap of race one which was a shame. The pace Martin showed on track was really good, especially in the second race, and he made the most of the fact that we have a strong chassis with the Golf. What we now need to do is make sure we get all we can from the engine, as we just lost out a bit through the speed traps.