New BTCC Corolla: behind the scenes at testing in Spain

New BTCC Corolla: behind the scenes at testing in Spain


Immediately after the new BTCC Corolla broke cover to undertake its first official shakedown at Oulton Park, Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport upped and moved to the Calafat circuit in Spain for further pre-season testing.

Corolla's performance ahead of the first round at Brands Hatch next month.

Tom Ingram (below left) and team principal Christian Dick (below right) during the development stage to hear their thoughts on the new Corolla and the touring car season ahead.

Can you give us an overview of what you are trying to achieve here in Spain?

Tom: "We're really just testing out the new Corolla – it's not as good as it gets." of the season. We've got a lot to live up to Avensis we used last year"But so far the testing has been going really well and we're really excited to get going."

What do you find most exciting about the new Corolla touring car?

Tom: "For me it's how it feels – which is just superb. It's got a shorter wheelbase than the Avensis, so it's taken a little bit of time …

"To be a race version of a road car This is an amazing feat of engineering. But I like the challenge of starting a new project and getting a car at the front, winning races, getting podiums and hopefully some championships. "

Christian: "Bringing the Corolla name back to the BTCC is very special for me personally and for everybody in the team. Toyota's involvement in the BTCC stretches back over 40 years with the Corolla Toyota the championship in '86 with Chris Hodgetts.

"The new Corolla's got a fantastic base, footprint and aerodynamic package for us to work out, so we're very confident that everything we've learned previously – combined with the Corolla's platform as a road car – is going to serve us really well. "

Why do you think the public are so enthralled by touring car racing?

Christian: "I think fans really engage with the BTCC because the cars are relevant: they look like the cars they drive to and from every day, and that makes it relevant to the manufacturers, too. The race format is so superb, with three short blasts of close, all-out action and a second-to-none noise.

"The BTCC is about to embark on its 61st year, so it's got a lot of heritage. Big names and big manufacturers have always been on the increase. "

Tom: "The reaction we've had to bring the Corolla back into the BTCC has been incredible. Across social media, it's been amazing. Toyota GB is back in the championship, so we love that it looks pretty cool as well. "

Do you feel the public's expectation of success has now been raised?

Tom: "Running as Team Toyota GB, people are expecting results; every single time we go out. So it adds a bit of pressure. But with that pressure comes a huge amount of excitement. It's a lot harder.

"There are things I've learned: the little niche things you've got to do to be as quick as possible in the championship but also get the very most out of the car. So I think I'm getting stronger in myself and we're all learning as a team. It's a really exciting time. "

Read more: New Toyota Corolla BTCC car breaks cover

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