The thoughts of Chris Gurton on motorsport, his photography, his work and his life in general. The thoughts, views and opinion's expressed in this blog are those of Chris Gurton and not necessarily those of any publication that he contributes to.

Finally Back Trackside

The World of motorsport has well and truly kicked into life. Last weekend I was at Snetterton for the first race on the new layout and you can read my report here. People have asked me what I think about the new layout and to be honest, I’m still not sure. Obviously it will look a lot better when the grass has germinated and it looks less of a building site, but that’s not the issue I have. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that bugs me but there is something I’m not overly happy with regarding the new layout. Maybe it’s just change and it will take a bit of getting used to but it just feels like there is too much in such a small space. Yes it’s good from a photographer’s point of view and for the spectators, particularly those on the new viewing banks but it gives it a bit of a go-kart track feel. It’s good that the circuit is being developed and Jonathan Palmer wants to bring bigger and more exciting race series to the Norfolk track and I understand there is a lot more development needed such as the pit and paddock area before these big race series will be attracted but after being there I am not totally convinced. I am very fond of Snetterton as a race track and always felt it had a unique charm, but to me it feels like that charm has gone.

Racing is underway on the new Snetterton layout

So on to this weekend, Formula One makes its much anticipated return and I am actually watching the free practice on BBC iPlayer as I write. (Other television Channels are available) It looks like it will be a great season with a number of drivers fighting for the title and I’m sure, a few surprise packages along the way. At least at the time of writing this, the McLarens seem to have surprised those who seemed to write them off already with their fast pace in FP2. I guess we will only know for sure how well they are running come the Chequered flag at Albert Park.

As for me, I’m off to Silverstone on Saturday to cover the first round of the Britcar Championships and it will be great to be back with a great racing series. A big grid is confirmed and a great selection of cars will be on show so I hope to get some good photo’s. I’ll be looking forward to see the Synchro Motorsport Honda Jazz. I had a bit of an obsession with that car during the 24hr race last October and it was fantastic to see it keep up with an Aston Martin Vantage for a number of laps until it came in to pit. Also, amazingly for a Honda Jazz, there wasn’t a pensioner in sight!

The battled scarred Honda Jazz of Synchro Motorsport at last years 24hr race

The BTCC media day took place on Thursday and a huge grid was announced to be lining up on the grid this season. The fantastic YourRacingCar.com team announced a huge coup in the form of last year’s championship contender Tom Onslow-Cole. The VW Golf struggled a bit last year in their first season but if anyone can get the best out of the car then Tom can. I’ll be looking forward to seeing him battle for points with the fan backed team. Other good news is that of TechSpeed running two ex RML Chevrolet Cruze’s with John George and fans favourite Paul O’Neill. Paul got a couple of podiums last season in an older Honda Integra so perhaps he will consistently be a front runner in a very competitive car. However, I point this out to those getting too excited. If O’Neill is fighting for the championship come the end of the season along with the likes of Jason Plato, I don’t think we will see O’Neill fighting too hard against Plato. Let’s not forget who supplied TechSpeed with the cars and have given a lot of assistance to. Yes, Plato’s RML guys!

Finally, a quick update on my Juke Challenge. A very respectable amount of £80 has been raised for Comic Relief, so as much as I hate the car and the experience, I am happy to have been able to raise the money for a very good cause.

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