Bidford-based Power Maxed Racing revved up for 2021 British Touring Car Championship season
TEAM principal Adam Weaver says Power Maxed Racing are looking to "come out the blocks fighting" when the 2021 British Touring Car Championship season gets under way later this year.
The Bidford-based team have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure their Vauxhall Astra can be challenging at the right end of the grid for the opening rounds of the campaign at Thruxton, Hampshire, on 8th and 9th May.
The Astra has proved to be a real contender in previous races and speaking exclusively to the Herald, team principal Weaver is hoping for big things in 2021 and stressed his team is not on the BTCC grid just to make up the numbers.
"The cars are currently undergoing a massive development programme. We’re one of only two teams in the championship that design and build our own chassis in house, which allows us to look at how certain aspects of the car can be influenced by changes, and means we’re able to manage our own programme completely independently," he said.
"The regulations governing what we can and can’t do are strict, for obvious reasons, but thanks to team manager Martin Broadhurst and his engineering team, I’m confident that we’re going to be in for a strong year.
"We make no bones about the fact that we’re not there to make up the numbers, and are looking to come out of the blocks fighting come May."
Having run just one car last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, PMR are back to their full compliment of two Astras this time around, with BTCC stalwart Jason Plato taking up one seat while the other is yet to be announced after the team confirmed Henley-based driver Mat Jackson would not be returning.
"It was always the plan to go back to a two-car team this year, but it’s great to see it all coming to fruition," said Weaver.
"We’re hopeful that things will return to normal fairly quickly where spectators are concerned, and we’re looking forward to seeing our many thousands of fans again.
"Jason is such a huge part of British motorsport and it’s fantastic to have him racing with us again for a second year.
"As the most successful driver in touring car history, he’s a bit of a force to be reckoned with when he gets in a car, and is obviously a massive asset to the team.
"The first race of the year will see his 600th BTCC race start, and we’re anticipating him bagging his 100th race win in the car this season, which is a record that even Lewis Hamilton hasn’t hit."
When asked about the second seat and why Jackson wasn't part of the team for this year, Weaver revealed: "As we speak, we’re very close to signing a deal, although there are still three people currently in the frame, so watch this space.
"We were really looking forward to seeing Mat back on the BTCC grid, and he’s another huge name in the sport and a firm fan-favourite.
"Unfortunately, Covid-19 took its toll on a number of his personal sponsors, and we just weren’t going to be able to make it feasible to get him in the car.
"Racing in the BTCC is incredibly expensive, and drivers bring to us a considerable budget to enable us to run the cars at the standards they require to win races.
"We’re still in touch though, and would love to be able to work with Mat again in the future."
Over the past couple of weeks the Herald has covered the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on sports clubs and the situation is no different at PMR.
One of the biggest announcements prior to the start of the 2020 BTCC season was that the team would only be able to run just the one car, a decision Weaver says wasn't taken lightly.
"It was a conversation that had been floating around with the main sponsors for a little while," he said.
"Once we’d made the decision and spoken to every team partner, who I’m pleased to say supported us 100 per cent, we realised very quickly that we’d made the right choice.
"With all of the 2020 partners staying on the car for the season, they effectively had a free year of marketing, and have been fantastically supportive throughout. It wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but definitely the right call for us."
With Covid-19 having a huge impact on all sports teams and clubs financially, Weaver admitted PMR we're "very lucky" in terms of how the virus impacted the day-to-day running of the team and its finances.
"My main business, Automotive Brands, which manufacture both Power Maxed Car Care products and Steel Seal, an instant head gasket fix, have carried on throughout, and we’ve been manufacturing sanitising solutions here in Bidford since last March," he said.
"The race team were mostly furloughed at the beginning, but returned to work later in the year, and have been working relentlessly ever since.
"In fact, the guys worked their absolute socks off during the 2020 season, which had a number of back-to-back rounds, one of which was in Scotland, and I don’t think people realise how hard these guys work and the sacrifices they make to do what we do.
"Financially we’re in a better position than most teams on the grid, although we’re always looking for new and interesting partners who’d like to work with us to get their brand out there to more than 20m people a year in the UK."
Despite only running just the one car last year, PMR used the 2020 season as a chance to give a number of drivers, including Jade Edwards and Jess Hawkins, the chance of racing in the BTCC and getting to grips with the Vauxhall Astra.
Reflecting on last season, the performances of those given an opportunity to race and what was learned from that, Weaver said: "As a race team, consistent testing is something that’s incredibly important to help us constantly move forward.
"Having a number of drivers in the car in a short space of time has given us a unique perspective on certain aspects, but more importantly, has given these guys the platform they needed to go out and look for support to get themselves on the grid.
"Jade has landed herself a drive for the full season with another team, which is fantastic, and we’ve built fantastic relationships with Jess and Jac Constable, both of whom we’re exploring different avenues with as we speak, with a view to getting them both racing with the team in the future."
The 2021 British Touring Car calendar:
Rounds 1,2,3 - 8th/9th May - Thruxton
Rounds 4,5,6 - 15th/16th May - Snetterton (300)
Rounds 7,8,9 - 12/13th June - Brands Hatch (Indy)
Rounds 10,11,12 - 31st July/1st August - Oulton Park (Island)
Rounds 13,14,15 - 14th/15th August - Knockhill
Rounds 16,17,18 - 28th/29th August - Thruxton
Rounds 19,20,21 - 18th/19th September - Croft
Rounds 22,23,24 - 25th/26th September - Silverstone (National)
Rounds 25,26,27 - 9th/10th October - Donington Park (National)
Rounds 28,29,30 - 23rd/24th October - Brands Hatch (Grand Prix)