Ashley Sutton setting sights on Jack Sears Trophy honours
March 23, 2016
Ashley Sutton has set his sights on capturing the Jack Sears Trophy this year as he embarks on his debut season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for 2016.
Once again being awarded to the top rookie entrant over the 30-race campaign, the reigning Renault UK Clio Cup champion will look to keep the title within the MG Triple Eight Racing camp due to new team Josh Cook emerging as the winner in 2015.
Introduced in 2013, the coveted award has previously been handed to the highest placed S2000 competitor and the Independent that completes the most overtakes over the course of the season.
For Sutton, landing a plum deal in a manufacturer-constructor seat in only his second season racing tin-tops has fuelled the fire for success under the watchful eye of Ian Harrison and Triple Eight. The 21-year-old enjoyed his first outing in the car at yesterday’s season launch where he impressed everyone by finishing the four-hour test session in second, a mere 0.091 off of triple-champion Matt Neal.
“Despite the little running we are going to have heading to Brands Hatch, the Jack Sears Trophy is my aim,” said Sutton to BTCC Crazy. “I obviously want to win like everybody else but that will take time, the important thing is that we as a team move in the right direction and I’m confident that can happen. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
“Josh has a year under his belt, so between myself, Josh and the Triple Eight guys I’m sure we can make some positive steps forward on the few days that we have planned. Graduating to the BTCC has always been a dream of mine from a very young age and I think we are set for a strong first season.”
Competition for the Jack Sears Trophy however will be tough with five other drivers setting their sights on the prize like Sutton. The big name from the list of rookies is TV star Kelvin Fletcher, who is best know for his role in Emmerdale. Having had previous experience in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Fletcher graduates to the BTCC with Power Maxed Racing.
Matt Simpson has been one of the most prominent drivers on-track during the off-season and his lengthy testing programme will surely keep him in good stead in his rookie year. Mark Howard will also look to learn as much from Team BKR team mate Aron Smith as possible as he gets to grips with the rough and tumble nature of the BTCC.
Rounding out the Jack Sears Trophy contingent is Chris Smiley and Michael Epps, both driving Toyota Avensis’ for Team HARD.
Virtue of competing in the championship in the past, both Jake Hill and Andy Neate are not entered as rookies.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Sayle Photography
Good luck MG!