Mixed return to BTCC action for Rudston's Senna Proctor

Rudston’s Senna Proctor had a mixed start to his time with BTC Racing for races four, five and six of the British Touring Car Championship.

By Paul Turner
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 7:45 am
Senna Proctor at Snetterton

Photo by BTC Racing
Senna Proctor at Snetterton Photo by BTC Racing

Snetterton race circuit in Norfolk was the location for Proctor’s return to action last weekend.

It had looked like it was going to be a year away from racing for the 22-year-old but a sensational late deal to drive for the Brackley-based BTC Racing team meant his first drive of the car would be at the BTCC race meeting.

With no pre-season testing in the car Proctor was thrown in at the deep end somewhat with only a 30 minute ‘shakedown’ session on the Friday before the race weekend.

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Senna Proctor in BTCC action at Snetterton Photo by BTC Racing

But in both of the two free practice sessions Proctor set some impressively quick lap times.

As well as baking hot weather to contend with, Proctor had the double whammy of success ballast and a track not entirely suited to his BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK8 car.

Qualifying meant carrying 39kg of success ballast from the previous outing of the car and Proctor had secured a respectable mid pack grid slot for his race debut in the Honda.

Running the ‘prime’ Medium Goodyear tyres for the opening encounter, Proctor gained ground as early as lap one.

Senna Proctor in action for BTC racing at Snetterton Photo by BTC Racing

As the race wore on, the negative impact of the ballast certainly told and at the chequered flag he had to be content with, fairly comfortably, holding position and clearly enjoying his return to the BTCC.

Ballast-free for race two of the day, the grid lined-up as per the finishing order of round one.

Determined to break into the overall points after the frustrations of the earlier contest, Proctor did just that – running with the Soft ‘option’ Goodyears – and he led the BTC charge after getting ahead of his team-mate Cook at the start.

Excellent race pace was now evident and Proctor began to get more familiar with his now ballast free race car.

But with the searingly hot track temperatures he sensibly took care not to destroy his soft tyres and ruin all his hard work and forward progress.

However, that did mean missing out on the chance of a reverse grid draw for race three and a possible pole start.

Race three brought a somewhat disappointing finale for his return to the BTCC on an otherwise very positive weekend. Proctor had to pit at the end of lap one due to a puncture sustained after avoiding a skirmish.

He eventually finished well down the pack but was still on the lead lap despite his unscheduled pit stop.

The 12 laps of final race solo running did, however, give Senna the opportunity of valuable track time in the Honda Civic.

Knowing that any points scoring opportunities had disappeared and with no ballast on board he took the chance to push hard and further explore the handling and performance characteristics of his new car for 2021.

Former Scarborough College pupil Proctor said: “I don’t know what I could have done differently in race three. I went left to avoid dust and smoke, and I could see a car sideways in there, but we got a puncture.

“We got back out on the lead lap though and (Tom) Ingram, who was leading the race, was about five seconds behind us on track and that was the same gap at the end, so it shows we were getting good times out of the car.

“There are some positives to take away from the weekend.”

BTC owner Steve Dudman said: “It’s been a mixed weekend for us at Snetterton to say the least.

“The team worked incredibly hard to improve the cars across raceday. Senna was unlucky with his puncture in the final race, but his pace was impressive and that bodes very well for Brands.”