Jake Hill enjoyed a near-perfect trip to Oulton Park as he qualified on the front row, collected a double race victory, a second-placed finish, and three fastest laps to take home a whopping 62 points. The weekend catapults Jake into third in the Drivers’ Championship as he heads into the mid-season break full of optimism ahead of the second half of the season.
Warm conditions greeted the British Touring Car Championship grid at the picturesque Oulton Park circuit and Jake and his Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport ran through a steady, planned programme in Saturday’s two free practice sessions. Finishing the sessions respectively in P17 and P10, the sessions laid the foundation for a dramatic afternoon to follow.
The initial thirty-minute qualifying session would dictate the top-ten drivers who would make it through to the quickfire ten-minute shootout. Despite a red-flag interrupted session, Jake delivered a strong performance registering a 1:25.236 to give the team the comfort necessary to prepare for the final shootout closing the session in P3.
With many of the grid’s notable names making their way through to the top-ten, the stakes were high. After bringing his tyres up to optimum temperature, Jake set about putting himself and his #24 BMW 330e M Sport right into the mix - and that was exactly what he did. Extracting even more from the car than he did in the initial qualifying session, the Laser Beamer raced to a 1:25.057 to claim a P2 starting position for Sunday's opener.
Sunny skies and warm conditions greeted Jake Hill and his WSR-run BMW 330e M Sport as he lined up from the front row in the day’s first race, behind championship leader Ash Sutton. A great start off the line gave Jake the lead of the race before the first corner. Jake then had to defend valiantly from his counterpart as his tyres came up to temperature.
As the laps ticked on, Jake managed to edge away at the front of the pack and managed the race excellently to claim his and Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s first victory of the season.
One soon became two as Jake doubled up his victory tally just a couple of hours later. Another great start off the line secured the lead into the first corner and Jake held onto the lead of the race in the early exchanges. A safety car added some tension into the proceedings but again, the Laser Tools Racing man managed his restart expertly to increase the gap between himself and the leading pack. Crossing the line to take his second victory, marked the first time that Jake and the team had won two races across a single race weekend.
Lining up in P7 for the reverse-grid race, Jake and the rest of the field were ‘weighing up tyre decisions - with Jake and 22 others having all used the fastest ‘soft’ Goodyear compound tyres for the opening two races, meaning the durable ‘hard’ option compound would be the choice for the top 16 drivers on the grid …unless the predicted rain arrived. However, it remained overcast and muggy but stayed dry…
Yet another superb start saw Jake instantly past Cook, then as championship rivals Ingram and Sutton tangled ahead, Jake capitalised and passed the stricken Sutton and up to P5 by turn one.
Sutton’s car was damaged in the incident, causing him to stop on The Avenue and causing a Safety Car to be deployed. However as the ‘SC’ boards were not deployed, the cars continued racing to the line, and Jake edged past Cammish and Ingram to end lap one in P3.
With the three BMWs of Morgan, Turkington and Hill now leading the field, the scene was set for an exciting climax to the race. As all three WSR stablemates raced superbly wheel-to-wheel, Jake managed to find a way past Morgan into P2.
Jake then settled into his rhythm and at one stage looked set to make a charge for the lead but crossed the finish line in second-placed to cap off a remarkable weekend - his highest-scoring weekend as a BTCC driver.
This weekend’s results have seen Jake rocket up the championship order, now lying in third position, twenty points behind reigning champion Tom Ingram and twenty-six behind championship leader Sutton. Jake's strong qualifying performance means he moves into second in the Goodyear Wingfoot Award as he looks to defend his best-qualifying title from 2022.
“I’m not quite sure I have got the words to sum up that race weekend! It’s been a phenomenal day, I am over the moon but I am also so happy for everyone involved. My engineer Craig [Porley] and all the team at WSR have given me a fantastic car and the ‘Laser Beamer’ was on-song all weekend.
“Although we’ve been up the front most of the year, we’ve been searching for that little bit of an edge and I felt like we were properly on top form. To claim two victories, a second-placed finish and three fastest laps is something I am really proud of and I’m so happy to deliver that for everyone who works so hard to support our programme. Hopefully it was a good enough Father's Day present for Dad as well and we had a great photo on the podium with my Dad and my sister Ellie for Father’s Day (below)! We can now take a bit of a break now in July, knowing that it is all to play for in the second half of the season.”- Jake Hill #24 Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport