Butcher: Oulton BTCC win stems from Brands Hatch improvements

Toyota British Touring Car Championship ace Rory Butcher has pinpointed his breakthrough win at Oulton Park to overnight improvements made at the previous round at Brands Hatch.

The 34-year-old Scot moved to the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota team to replace the team’s long-time favourite Tom Ingram for 2021.

While Butcher was able to drive the Corolla onto the fringes of the fight at the front in the opening two rounds at Thruxton and Snetterton, he qualified a lowly 16th next time out at Brands.

But a turnaround in form at Oulton, Speedworks’ local track, enabled Butcher to qualify third, and he won the second race of the weekend while carrying 48kg of success ballast from fourth place in the opener.

“It’s probably been difficult for everybody,” Butcher told Motorsport.com of his first three race weekends with Speedworks. “They’ve been used to Tom’s amazing end to last year.

“I’ve come in, and to be honest I’ve not adapted to the car as I would have liked and as the team would have liked. It became a case of, ‘how can we adapt the car for Rory?’, and that process started on the Saturday night at Brands Hatch.

“In race two we made a step forward with the car, and I got up to P10 from P15 [in race one], but then I got knocked wide and dropped back to P14. In race three I got up to P7, and passed Ingram, Ash Sutton and got fastest lap – the biggest difference was going forward; I haven’t had much of that this year.”

Rory Butcher, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Corolla

Rory Butcher, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Corolla

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Butcher has had a nomadic career since he entered the BTCC in 2017, and has never started a season in a car he has raced before.

Ingram appears to favour a loose, skittish car, while Butcher has been adapting from the more user-friendly Ford Focus he raced in 2020.

“We’re running different front dampers and different rear geometry this weekend,” he said at Oulton. “Now I can attack the way I want to, and in the process I’ve learnt about what I want from a car.

“It’s nice to go into a qualifying session feeling I can fight for pole.”

Speedworks boss Christian Dick was pleased not only with Butcher’s progress, but also that of inexperienced team-mate Sam Smelt, who put in by far his best qualifying performance to line up 15th.

The Toyotas have also progressed from near the bottom of the speed traps at Snetterton to the sharp end at Oulton, something Dick ascribed to increased pace off the corners.

“It’s taken a little longer than we would have liked, but we’re definitely in the window now – it’s beginning to click,” he said.

Butcher’s weekend at Oulton ended when he was crashed out of the finale by the out-of-control Laser Tools Racing Infiniti of Carl Boardley, which had brake failure on the entry to Druids.

It leaves Speedworks with a lot of work to do to prepare the car for next week’s round at Butcher’s home circuit of Knockhill as he bids to improve on his current eighth in the points.

“We had a power-steering issue, that plagued us at Brands on the Saturday,” said Butcher of his slide down the field.

“Carl was a passenger when his brakes failed, and it’s just disappointing – that shouldn’t happen and it’s crap for the team.

“We’ve only got a two-week turnaround and there’s so much work to do.”

shares
comments

Related video

Oulton Park BTCC: Proctor wins Race 3 after Sutton collision

Previous article

Oulton Park BTCC: Proctor wins Race 3 after Sutton collision

Next article

Jordan to give BTCC hybrid race debut next month

Jordan to give BTCC hybrid race debut next month
Load comments
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Prime

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s been a lot of fat to chew elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action.

BTCC
May 7, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Prime

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes.

BTCC
May 5, 2021
The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020

The 2020 British Touring Car Championship will go down as a classic in which new winners graced the top step of the podium and an unloved chassis was resurrected into a champion. But who were the year's top performers?

BTCC
Dec 24, 2020
The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020 Prime

The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020

The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp…

BTCC
Dec 11, 2020
Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong Prime

Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong

A number of drivers on this year's British Touring Car Championship grid have been called out on social media for taking other people's seats, whether they are older or drivers who are deemed to have less talent. Matt James busts the myth

BTCC
Mar 27, 2019
How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other Prime

How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other

The BTCC keeps getting more competitive - this season produced another new record number of winners. That made picking a final top 10 an unenviable task, so we enlisted the help of those who were in the heat of the action to decide the order.

BTCC
Nov 2, 2018
Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race? Prime

Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race?

Titles should be won by the driver who claims more victories than anyone else, so convention goes. Does the unpredictable nature of the British Touring Car Championship render that notion obsolete?

BTCC
Oct 10, 2018
BTCC's hybrid future faces urgent hurdles Prime

BTCC's hybrid future faces urgent hurdles

The British Touring Car Championship recently announced it is investigating how to incorporate hybrid technology into its future machines. In doing so it's following the higher echelons of motorsport, while also revealing risks for its grassroots.

BTCC
Aug 19, 2018