Silverstone BTCC: Butcher’s Toyota dominates free practice

Toyota ace Rory Butcher was totally dominant in free practice for the British Touring Car Championship round at Silverstone.

Silverstone BTCC: Butcher’s Toyota dominates free practice

Butcher, whose weekend last time out at Croft fell apart with engine failure in qualifying, finished up comfortably atop the times in the lead Speedworks Motorsport-run Corolla.

The Scot, who is running just 9kg of success ballast, left it until the dying moments of the misty opening session to demote the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N of Chris Smiley from the top of the times by 0.010 seconds.

But in the brighter and quicker second period, Butcher set no fewer than seven laps quicker than the best anyone else could manage, and finished up a gargantuan 0.270s clear of Tom Oliphant’s West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330i M Sport.

To put this in perspective, the following 11 cars were covered by the margin Butcher had in hand over Oliphant.

“The car’s mega,” Butcher told Autosport. “It’s just one of those things where we seem to have it in the window more often than not.

“After shakedown [on Friday], I said to my engineer, ‘We’re fast, we’re fast.’

“It’s just giving me what I want – I know exactly what I want it to do, and the car’s allowing me to do it.”

The ever-spectacular and ballast-free Smiley ended up in the midfield in the second session, but his morning time was enough to keep him second fastest overall.

Oliphant, who is also running no ballast, ended up third overall across the two sessions with his time from the lunchtime period, set on a 14-lap ‘race’ run, while a last-gasp improvement from Senna Proctor put his BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R – on 21kg success weight – third in session and fourth overall.

Butcher clocked the fastest time for Speedworks

Butcher clocked the fastest time for Speedworks

Photo by: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Riding high from his Croft success, Aiden Moffat proved he could pedal his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 with ballast (27kg worth) as he took third in the first session with a time set on a 16-lap run, but he dropped into the midfield later on, his earlier effort placing him fifth overall.

That put him one spot in front of team-mate Ash Sutton, who as championship leader is carrying the full 75kg of success weight. Sutton was fourth in both sessions, sixth overall, with his best time set on a 13-lap run.

Next up were the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra of Dan Lloyd and the second Excelr8 Hyundai of Tom Ingram, who is on 39kg of ballast.

The top 10 were completed by Dan Rowbottom’s Team Dynamics Honda and Tom Chilton’s Ciceley Motorsport BMW.

Of the other title contenders, Josh Cook was sixth in the morning in his BTC Honda (on 48kg ballast) but 18th later on, while Colin Turkington rose out of the doldrums to place 12th in the lunchtime period in his WSR BMW (57kg ballast).

Current championship runner-up Jake Hill set the slowest time overall across the two sessions in his Motorbase-run MB Motorsport Ford Focus, on 66kg success weight, but did not run new tyres at any time.

Free practice also featured the Speedworks-run hybrid Toyota Corolla of Andrew Jordan, who is ineligible for points.

A water-pump problem in the first session was rectified before Jordan went 22nd quickest, and he was 25th later on.

shares
comments

Related video

Hill believes he can beat Sutton to BTCC title
Previous article

Hill believes he can beat Sutton to BTCC title

Next article

Silverstone BTCC: Butcher seizes pole as shootout format returns

Silverstone BTCC: Butcher seizes pole as shootout format returns
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Plus

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021
The green light shining for the BTCC's hybrid future Plus

The green light shining for the BTCC's hybrid future

The Cosworth Electronics-developed BTCC hybrid system made its public debut in the most recent round at Silverstone. It's simple, but could significantly change the series' technical challenges for both the drivers and the teams

BTCC
Oct 9, 2021
The restored BSCC battler back in its family's hands after 50 years Plus

The restored BSCC battler back in its family's hands after 50 years

The Imps of George Bevan became famous in British Saloon Car Championship competition during the early 1970s. Thanks to the efforts of a small band of enthusiasts, including Bevan's grandson Jonathan, one of the ex-Bill McGovern title winners has recently returned to the race track

Historics
Sep 30, 2021
The increasingly varied CV behind a new BTCC title challenger Plus

The increasingly varied CV behind a new BTCC title challenger

A driver with limited funds behind him, it’s been a tough road to the top of the British Touring Car Championship for Jake Hill. Now he’s a title contender, accomplished historic racer and in-demand coach. It’s a great life for this self-confessed motorsport junkie

BTCC
Aug 26, 2021
The outright tin-top wins achieved by a forgotten tin-top great Plus

The outright tin-top wins achieved by a forgotten tin-top great

Already established as a formidable force in the British Saloon Car Championship, the Triumph Dolomite became a legend in 1977 when Tony Dron's Broadspeed machine frequently embarrassed the mighty Capris

BTCC
May 18, 2021