Last February, we already posted about the Proton Persona or Gen-2 in UK that will enter the British Touring Car Championship this year under the Welch Motorsport.The car already make its debut at the second half of the season, at the Snetterton round yesterday.Built to the BTCC’s latest Next Generation Touring Car regulations, the Proton, will be driven by Daniel Welch, a proven front-runner in SEAT Leons. He will race the car for his family-run team that is managed by his father and former rallycross legend John. The outfit is also bringing its long-term sponsor, hotel chain Marriott, into the BTCC.
Welch was happy with the progress that team has made, with the car only started for the first time at a shakedown run yesterday.
“The aim was always to get to the Snetterton round,” said Welch to TouringCarTimes.
“We haven’t quite got here in the fashion we wanted – we’re not quite as organised and everything, but we’re here and everyone from the team and the guys from GPRM all worked really hard to get us here and so far everything all seems to be okay.”
“For us it’s a new car, new circuit – I haven’t actually raced anything myself for six months so I’m a bit rusty and need a few laps to get back into it.”
“We’re going to come here use it as a shakedown, learn what’s going on, learn the car – it’s a totally new concept for everybody so we need to learn and we’re already a bit closer than we thought we’d be, so it can’t be bad.”
Below are the links for our previous post.
Read the full news By Jamie O’Leary and Kevin Turner from Autosport below.
WELCH MOTORSPORT PROTON GEN-2 BREAKS COVER AHED OF BTCC DEBUT AT SNETTERTON.
Welch Motorsport’s Proton Gen-2 has broken cover ahead of its British Touring Car Championship debut at Snetterton this weekend.
The car, which has been built to the BTCC’s cost-cutting NGTC regulations by John Welch’s team, received its shakedown at a private location in Northamptonshire on Friday. Experienced tin-top racer Dan Welch, who will race the car at Snetterton, was behind the wheel.
The Proton, which is powered by the TOCA engine, will become the third car built entirely to NGTC-spec to compete in the BTCC, following the Toyota Avensis and Audi A4.
Proton last appeared in the BTCC in 2004, the final season of a three-year works programme for the Malaysian manufacturer.
JOHN WELCH SAYS HIS NEW PROTON GEN-2 CAR CAN BE A FRONT RUNNER.
British Touring Car team boss John Welch believes the new Proton Gen-2 can be a future frontrunner in the series after its first track appearances at Snetterton on Saturday.
Daniel Welch drove the front-wheel-drive Swindon-engined NGTC car in both free practice sessions on the Snetterton 300 circuit.
With no track running beforehand, the car suffered some minor teething problems, such as high water temperatures and power steering issues, but completed 16 laps. Welch eventually achieved a best time around 4.5 seconds off the pace.
The Welch Automotive squad plans to run a single car for the rest of the season, ahead of a two-car attack in 2012.
“We haven’t even done the tracking yet,” said John Welch ahead of qualifying. “We got here after just three straightline tests.”
He nevertheless believes the car has potential. “We’re not six months behind for this season, we’re six ahead for next year,” he added. “Looking to next year there will be a good product.
“Potentially it can win the championship, as any of the NGTC cars can.”
Welch Jr, who confirmed there would be a bodywork update ahead of the next round at Knockhill, said: “We’re not expecting anything this weekend. Our target is to finish three races.”