Dave Newsham on BTCC learning curve ahead of 2018 push
THE 2017 British Touring Car Championship is likely to be learning experience for Dave Newsham and BTC Norlin Racing.
It is the team’s first year back in the championship and Newsham, after a year out last year, admits a lot of planning has been geared up towards kicking on in 2018.
There is a sense of personal frustration that he is not higher up in the independents’ standings.
A below-par showing at Oulton Park a fortnight ago has dropped him to seventh, with a pre-season target of challenging for the crown.
But there are promising signs there for the two-time race-winner. Newsham has points-finishes in seven out of the 12 races this season and has been forced to retire just once – in the season opener at Brands Hatch when a wheel came off his Chevrolet Cruze.
Personnel turnover means the team is still fighting to find its best formula, which Newsham appreciates will take time.
“From a team point of view, we’re still putting people in place and it was always going to be a year of learning the car and BTCC,” he said.
“Every round there’s new people coming in and it takes time to adjust.
“We had a suspension expert in at Oulton Park and he’s put his own signature on things and it’ll take time to get used to the car again before we can start motoring.
“We’re still in quite a transition period – we’re competing against teams that have had everyone around them for years.
“On a personal level, I’ve been frustrated not to be more towards the top 10s, as I’ve finished every race but one. I’m in seventh currently but it’s still not too bad.”
Donington Park was the team’s best weekend, with Newsham recording eighth and fourth-place finishes, the latter coming from a reverse-grid pole.
Oulton Park was less successful however, coming 24th and 19th before dragging the Cruze into the points with a 13th spot in race three.
“We changed the suspension on the car and it wasn’t the best move,” said Newsham.
“We suffered with a lack of grip all weekend. But it’s given the team a direction to go in looking ahead.”
Newsham is back in action at Croft next weekend.