The DW Racing Vauxhall Astra TCR driven by Darelle Wilson arrived in Germany overnight in a bid to solve the power issues that thwarted its race weekend last time out in Brands Hatch.
Overtake Motorsport became aware last night that Wilson’s Astra had been loaded onto a trailer and was heading to Kissling Motorsport in Bad Munstereifel, Germany, close to the world famous Nurburgring circuit. Kissling Motorsport are the manufacturers of the Opel Astra TCR cars (of course Opel becomes Vauxhall in the UK) and is from where DW Motorsport purchased their Astra earlier this year. We were lucky enough to speak to Les Latham, part owner of the car and a vital cog in the Melliosport Racing Academy wheel, as he was en-route to Germany with the car.
‘We had some real issues at Brands with the power of the car. Due to the Balance of Power regulations we were sent a new ECU to use by the guys in Germany which just didn’t work correctly.’ said Latham. ‘It was not allowing the boost to come in as it was meant to and that was also affecting the performance of the sequential gearbox.’ Latham went on to mention that part of the reason for choosing the Astra TCR car was because it was so slippery through the air. ‘At Silverstone and Knockhill we were the quickest through the speed traps but at Brands we were the slowest. It was obvious something was not right’.
It was also obvious on the timing screens that something was amiss with Wilson’s car throughout the Brands weekend. Silverstone and Knockhill had seen some real flashes of promise from the team, regularly being within a few tenths of the championship leading West Coast Racing VW Golfs in the practice sessions and with Wilson being one of the drivers that could have been on pole in the drying Silverstone qualifying session had it not been for a small error on his last lap. However at Brands, the shortest circuit on the calendar at just under 50 seconds, the car was an average of one second away from the pacesetters in all sessions.
The teams worries over the ECU were confirmed when they saw the performance of some of the other Astra TCR cars racing throughout Europe. Latham mentioned the performance of the HP Racing International team at the latest round of TCR Germany at Austria’s Red Bull Ring earlier this month as just one example. There an Astra won the second race of the weekend in the hands of Harald Proczyk in what is a very competitive series after the team managed a fifth and sixth from a field of twenty-nine cars in the earlier race.
Of the trip to Germany in order to rectify the problems with the car, Latham says ‘We have it booked onto the rolling road at Kissling at 9am tomorrow morning (Thursday) and we are not bringing it back until we are getting the same performance from the engine as all the other TCR cars they provide.’ This is a team in no mood to mess around and shows the highly competitive nature of the whole DW Racing squad.
The car will be back out on track at the next round of the TCR UK championship at Castle Combe on the 14th and 15th July. Combe is a fast flowing circuit which should suit a fully on-song slippery Astra. Wilson currently lies seventh in the TCR UK championship after 3 rounds (6 races) with a highest finish of fourth in the second race at Knockhill. Despite the issues at Brands, Wilson was also able to drag the car to a sixth place finish in the attrition affected second race that weekend. There is no denying a podium will be the aim as the team head to Castle Combe in a few weeks time.