DW Racing and their driver Darelle Wilson have made the difficult decision to miss the TCR UK round at Oulton Park this Saturday in place of a ‘fact finding’ test sometime in the days following the Cheshire circuits races.
News of the teams non-attendance at the forthcoming races at Oulton was broken by Les Latham, part-owner of the Vauxhall Astra TCR car that the team run. Overtake Motorsport were lucky to be able to speak with Latham about their decision which comes following a number of incidents and problems for the team over the past few weeks.
At Brands Hatch the team was supplied with a new ECU by Kissling Motorsport (manufacturers of all the TCR Astra’s) that was provided to enable the car to meet the latest Balance of Performance (BoP) regulations. The ECU turned out to have a fault that caused a loss of power to the car and left it well over a second down on lap time on the very short Indy layout. A visit to Germany solved those issues and gave hope for the next round at Castle Combe. Unfortunately an incident in practice there broke the cars steering system and without a spare the team were forced to miss race day.
‘We have made the difficult decision to not race at Oulton Park this weekend.’ said Latham. ‘We are hot happy with the performance of the car and we have had an issue in getting the tyres to work which has left the car handling poorly’. Latham revealed that he believes the issue could be to do with the car having been inherently made to run on the European-spec Yokohama tyre which is quite different to the tyre used in the UK series, despite being from the same supplier. It seems the Astra TCR is manufactured with quite a stiff suspension and teams tend to soften from that base point if required. However what works well in Europe doesn’t seem to be hitting the same mark here in the UK with the current suspension system on the car seemingly not being able to go soft enough to get the UK tyre to work properly.
Asked what the team expects to do to find the answers at the test, Latham replies ‘We will mainly look at the suspension set-up. Maybe the length of the wishbone or the type of travel in the dampers. We are hoping to get a team of expects together at the test to try to find the answers we are looking for. The aim is to get someone from Yokohama and also from KW dampers who can help us out. These cars are on another level compared to such as your VW cup cars. They are very sophisticated cars’. The test is expected to take place sometime next week.
The team have been struggling with the handling of the Astra since the beginning of the year with Wilson having to be on the top of his game to be in contention in the races. The team decided their problems could be tyre related when Wilson made a one-off appearance with the Astra in the Britcar series at Silverstone last month. On the Dunlop tyres used in Britcar the car came alive and lapped faster than it had when the team raced the opening round of the TRC UK series there at the start of April. ‘We are going to test and figure this out behind closed doors instead of in the spotlight of a race weekend with everyone watching.’
The team will definitely be back out for the final two rounds of the TCR UK series at Croft in September and Donington Park in October and are eagerly awaiting a proper bid for success in 2019.
Feature Image Credit – http://www.darellewilson.co.uk/darelle-wilson/