Scalextric at the BTCC Media Day 2017!
What a month March has been for Scalextric and for all of us here on the Test Track team - the news just kept coming and we did our best to keep you informed as soon as we could (and to be honest I think we did a pretty good job!). Since last month’s edition in February, we’ve had two ‘Stop Press’ announcements, the first revealing the McLaren 720S as a brand new tooling model, plus the latest addition to our 60th Anniversary Collection. We also managed to get away and attend the British Touring Car Championship Media Day at Donington Park on the 16th March. Whilst all this has definitely kept us busy, it’s been a fantastic month and we hope you’ve been following along with us (and enjoying it!).
In this edition of Test Track we’re having what could be considered a BTCC special. We’ve got a full write up from the BTCC Media Day plus the winners of the BTCC competition from last month (seems like a lifetime ago now…). Let's get stuck in then shall we?
Our day out at BTCC
We were honoured this year to be invited to the BTCC 2017 season launch at Donington Park, as guests of Team Dynamics. And who could pass up the chance of a day's mingling with the BTCC drivers and their new cars! We set off from Scalextric HQ the day before as, with the long drive up to Donington, we were staying overnight to make the most of the following day's events. Arriving sooner than expected we headed for Donington Park and were waved through with our BTCC pass.
Unfortunately for us, very few of the teams had arrived (to be fair it was only about mid-afternoon on the day before) but we quickly bumped into our first driver - Aron Taylor-Smith who parked up fairly close to us. Aron’s Scalextric car was pulled out from our luggage and handed over to the man himself - it had been some time since Aron last saw the model and Luke, our designer, was beaming as Aron was happy with what he saw. Like many of the drivers we spoke to, Aron was keen to know when the car would be released and we were pleased to be able to say it should be any day now (well, any day next month).
Aron Taylor-Smith with his Scalextric car
We were up early the next day, jumped in the car and headed for the circuit. Once there, we headed for the Paddock Suite to check in and grab a seat ready for the day to kick off - the drivers had already started to arrive and were grabbing some breakfast. After saying a few hellos of our own, we were soon told to take our seats as the presentation was starting. Alan Hyde took to the stage and welcomed us all, officially, to the BTCC Media Day and the start of the new BTCC season.
We heard from pretty much everyone involved with the BTCC including Alan Gow, Dunlop, the ITV commentary team (David Addison and Steve Rider, with Paul O'Neill popping up in the crowd too!), Christopher Tate from Donington Park and Stilo Helmets (who were supplying the rookies their helmets for free).
The drivers were then called up, in teams, and asked about the upcoming season - with 32 drivers competing this year we were in for quite a session.
Gordon Shedden's flight had landed 45 mins prior to the press conference!
Jason Plato was on fine form, cracking jokes we can't repeat here!
From left to right: Ant Whorton Eales and Ollie Jackson from AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts, with Jack Goff and Jeff Smith (with an injured wrist!) from Eurotech Racing
Rob Austin from Handy Motorsport had been debating whether to keep his beard, tough decisions!
With the interviews concluded we were walked up to the grandstand so we could see all the 2017 cars. We could see the cars being prepped and then setting off from the pits on our left, they would then do a circuit of the track, bringing them round to the press photographers.
We had a bit of brainwave as the cars starting coming in for their photos - we had a number of cars with us and this offered a rather unique photo opportunity. What was most pleasing was that as the guys got the Scalextric cars out the bag, there was quite a reaction from the people around us - whispers could be heard as people figured we must be from Scalextric.
It was great to see the cars in their 2017 liveries, some of which I hadn’t seen. The Team Shredded Wheat Racing cars were particularly striking for me, but the other guys seemed quite taken with the Chrevolet Cruzers from BTC Norlin Racing.
The biggest cheer of the session had to be for poor Matt Simpson who appeared to stall his car, not once but twice. Now, I’m by no means a racing expert so perhaps it was something particular to the car, but to us in the crowd it definitely looked like a stall!
With all the cars photographed separately or with their team, and now on the grid, it was time to leave the grandstand and head for the pits. Possibly to my shame, this was the first time I had ever been in an active pit lane, with all the mechanics, drivers and media running around. To be honest, for the first maybe 30 minutes I was desperately trying not to get in the way of anyone.
When we first arrived in the pits, we had a chance to chat to a few of the drivers as everyone was getting ready for the incredibly popular ‘Class of 2017’ photo. We managed to grab Josh Cook, Jack Goff, Jake Hill, Daniel Lloyd and Matt Neal all before the photo was taken - keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook channels over the next few weeks for more of these interviews.
In amongst all the drivers we also spotted Tim Harvey, who Simon was keen to chat to again. We thanked him for signing the car for our Test Track competition and updated him on the model and how well it was doing! We were also able to chat to him and got a few bits on camera, which you can see below.
Our favourite bit of this interview was definitely that almost as soon as Simon starting talking to the camera, an aeroplane flew overhead, which is the “big toy” Tim is referring to. We even managed to take this great snap of both of them looking fairly miffed at the interruption.
However, eventually all the drivers were summoned to the grid, just in front of all their cars and people soon headed over too. It was great seeing all the drivers chat and mingle and I’m sure there must have been some vicious banter in there, as there were many loud laughs and big smiles all round.
However, my favourite part of the session, and possibly the whole day, was being able to walk amongst all the cars lined up on the grid after the official photos had been taken. The drivers were still milling about, doing interviews or chatting and being that close to the cars was a real treat.
Whilst we were walking between the cars we were able to chat to Rob Collard and show him the latest sample of his 2016 car. His face lit up and, as you can see, he seemed pretty chuffed with it. Rob’s a bit of a favourite with a few of the guys here (hint: Luke seems a little star struck in his photo!) and it’s always a pleasure to chat to him, on camera or off of it.
Back in the pits we saw an opportunity to chat to Ollie Jackson and got some great footage with him. Soon after we were able to get chatting with Chris Smiley, Tom Chilton, Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington. Just when we were thinking our luck couldn’t keep up, we managed to find Tom Ingram and had another BTCC/Scalextric interview.
Not long after we finished recording with Tom, testing was back in full swing and it was definitely time to get out of the pits and let the cars through.
After some more car watching, reluctantly we had to start packing our gear for the trip home. However, there was one last hurrah before we made it to the car - Simon and Alistair spotted the young Aiden Moffat and asked for a quick chat, and like everybody else that day he was amazingly nice and accommodating and spoke to us for a few minutes.
After saying our goodbyes to Aiden we headed for the car and the trudge down the M1 and on to Scalextric HQ.
We're still buzzing from our day out, and we’d like to thank BTCC who have continued to support us and organised the event with Donington Park, and also Team Dynamics for their hospitality on the day. Being in the mix with all the teams, drivers, mechanics and other media was a huge privilege and one we hope to repeat!
We can’t wait for Brands Hatch, which is being set up as you read this (well for anyone reading on the Friday!). There’s still plenty we have to show you from the Media Day, plus I’m sure there’ll be some great things coming from Brands. Make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for the most up-to-date news, but we’ll be covering all the best bits here in Test Track too.
All that brings us nicely to the winners of our classic BTCC competition! It’s been four weeks since we offered you the chance to be one of the lucky winners and we can now announce exactly who’s scooping these fantastic, and quite unique, prizes.
Many congratulations guys and we’ll be in touch soon to grab your details and get your prizes dispatched.
Thanks to everyone who entered (there were 2,000 of you!) and for anyone disappointed they’ve missed out, you can be sure we’ll have more to give away soon!
It was quite a trip up to Donington and I sincerely hope you’ve all enjoyed reading about our time there. It was a real treat for all of us to be involved and we can’t wait to do more in the coming months. We’ll have all the best bits from Brands for you next month, and don’t forget that we’ve got a great feature from the Development team on artwork coming up, it’s just finding a time to include it!
Be sure to let us have any feedback on this edition of Test Track as we’d love to hear who you think will be competing for the BTCC title this year. You've heard from a number of drivers, but do you agree with them? Do let us know on the Forum, or on Facebook or Twitter.
We’ll see you next month (or sooner if something comes up!) and until then,
The Test Track Team
© Hornby Hobbies Ltd. All rights reserved.