Race-winning team Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport endured a tough time at Thruxton, Hampshire, in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at the weekend as its two BMW 330e M Sports battled against mechanical maladies and incidents.
After a win earlier in the season when the team last raced at the UK’s fastest circuit, hopes were high arriving at the Hampshire speedbowl. Qualifying proved to be difficult, however, as Adam Morgan confessed to not hooking up all three sectors and team-mate George Gamble felt his car was lacking a bit of pace. Worryingly, though, both cars had suffered a mysterious electrical problem during the day which had caused both cars to lose power without warning. The team worked with hybrid system provider Cosworth to try to rectify the problem for raceday for which the cars would start 14th (Adam) and 17th (George).
Race one was tough for both drivers but for George, drama came even before the race started as his car cut out again on the formation lap. Marshals returned the car to the team and George and the team fired up the car allowing him to start last from the pits in 29th place. George battled his way past traffic but a wishbone broke after the Nottingham driver hit a kerb, leaving him on the sidelines. Adam, meanwhile, had a tough battle with Stephen Jelley’s similar Team BMW-entered 330e M Sport, but late-race, Adam’s electrical gremlins reared their head and his car cut out at the ultra-fast Church corner losing him the place and dropping The Morganator to 14th.
Once again, the Ciceley Motorsport engineers were busy between races, changing batteries and the power supply to both cars. Adam started 14th for race two but after a good start, lost ground at the Complex on a frantic opening lap. His Car Gods-backed car latched on to the back of Dan Lloyd’s Hyundai but just couldn’t find a way past, even with the use of the extra power provided by the car’s hybrid system. George stormed up from last on the grid but 19th was his reward as he found himself stuck in traffic.
Worse was to come in race three, both drivers outside the reverse grid draw, with both cars retiring with damage. George was whacked at the Chicane early in the race that ripped out the car’s subframe leaving him a spectator, while Adam was a victim of a mistake by Honda driver Dan Rowbottom which put him on the grass early on and dropped him down the field. Recovering to 15th, Adam suffered contact late-race from Ash Hand’s Vauxhall Astra at Church corner. “I turned in and just felt a whack in the back,” said Adam. “I thought: ‘What was that?’” With more damage, Morgan too was a retirement.
Said Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Ash Gallagher: “This has been a really tough weekend and one from which we need to look at the positives. We had good pace, both drivers raced really well at a track at which overtaking isn’t too easy in a touring cars, and our engineers and mechanics worked brilliantly to keep changing parts and working on the cars to give Adam and George the best chance on track. It was one of those weekends when teamwork shone through.”
Adam now lies 11th in the championship with George 13th, while they are second and fourth in the Independent drivers’ championship. Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport is eighth in the Teams’ standings and second in the Independent Teams’ competition, while George is second in the Jack Sears Trophy for drivers who hadn’t scored an outright podium before the start of the season.
The next races in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on September 24/25 with qualifying shown live on itv.com on the Saturday and all the raceday action on Sunday on ITV4.