Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres Vice-Champion Steve Whitelegg will get his first ever taste of BTCC machinery at Silverstone on Monday, 12th November, after scooping a coveted prize test with British Touring Car Championship squad DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing.
Bury-based driver Whitelegg, who enjoyed his best ever season of racing this year in the all-action Legends Cars with his own WTBS Motorsport squad, topped the standalone points table which runs in addition to the main championship.
With categories based on presentation and sportsmanship, as well as performance, Whitelegg was consistently strong across all areas throughout the 51-race Legends season to beat Sean Smith (High Wycombe) to the prize test in Rob Austin’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Whitelegg will actually be only the third driver to ever get behind the wheel of the car, after Austin and BTCC series director Alan Gow.
“Last year I came very close to getting the touring car test by finishing second to Ben Power, so to come full circle this year and win the outright prize is absolutely fantastic – I’m over the moon”, said an overjoyed Whitelegg, “It’s always been an ambition of mine to drive a front-line touring car, this really is going to be a dream come true and culminates 10 years of racing in Legends Cars for me.
“When I had the passenger laps with Rob [Austin] last year in his Toyota I realised how fast these BTCC cars are, how good the brakes are and how much grip they have. Thanks to that experience, I know what to expect and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo. I have to say a big thank you to Simon Belcher [HMS Racing team owner], Rob Austin and Phil Cooper from Legends.”
Taking place at Silverstone’s full Grand Prix track this coming Monday, Whitelegg will initially gain key insight and tutelage from multiple touring car race winner Austin through a series of passenger laps before then getting behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo himself for five laps.
Smith, Jack Parker (Wolverhampton) and Nathan Anthony (Horley), who finished second, fourth and fifth in the prize points table will all receive a number of passenger laps alongside Austin. Newly crowned and five-time Legends Cars Champion John Mickel (Horsham) was third in the standings but is unable to attend the test day due to prior work commitments.
Looking ahead to Monday’s test, Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres owner Phil Cooper said: “As always, we’re incredibly grateful to Simon Belcher for providing this outstanding prize and also to Rob Austin for giving our lucky quartet of drivers a key insight into the world of touring cars.
“There is obviously a big difference between a Legends Car and the HMS Racing Alfa Romeo, but in terms of the racing the two championships are very similar – wheel-to-wheel, bumper-to-bumper action at its best with overtaking every lap. The opportunity to provide some of our top drivers with this experience for a second year remains one of the very best prizes in club level motorsport.”
Simon Belcher, DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing team principal, added: “When we first offered a touring car test as a prize last year, the intention was always for it to be not just about winning races – it’s about how you present yourself, sportsmanship, what you do for the Legends championship.
“Having been around Legends Cars for many years, I’ve seen Steve improve his team year-on-year and it is by far the best in the paddock now. His results have been excellent too this season so he is a very deserving winner, we hope he has a fantastic time with us on Monday.”
Prize BTCC Test Points Table:
1st Steve Whitelegg, 437pts; 2nd Sean Smith, 381pts; 3rd John Mickel, 359pts; 4th Jack Parker, 342pts; 5th Nathan Anthony, 325pts