Charlie Robertson - BTCC Toyota AvensisCharlie Robertson, the reigning Ginetta Junior Champion, had the opportunity to sample Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship machinery for the first time in his racing career at Silverstone on Tuesday, 5th March, with an outing in a Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Avensis.

Provided by Ginetta Cars Ltd as part of his prize package for winning the 2012 title, Charlie – who makes the move to single-seaters this year in the new BRDC Formula 4 Championship – thoroughly enjoyed his maiden test at the wheel of a BTCC car, describing the Toyota as a “serious bit of kit.”

Taking place as part of the annual Ginetta ‘Media Day’, the outing was not only the 16-year-old’s debut in a touring car but also his first ever run in a front-wheel drive racing car. Adapting without any troubles at all, the Whyteleafe-based youngster was certainly impressed by the Avensis.

“It was a really good experience and the car didn’t take too long to get used to”, he said, “The main thing for me was the size compared to what I’ve been used to in Ginetta Junior and to the Formula 4 single-seater I’ll be racing this year. It’s definitely a fast car and really good fun to drive.

“Compared to my first run in the F4 car last week, I think the BTCC car has similar power really but it has a lot of torque and is obviously much heavier. It’s a serious bit of kit, that’s for sure, and the run has given me a good insight into front-wheel drive and touring cars. Our focus is on single-seaters but this test has definitely shown me touring cars could be something to consider for the future.”

Charlie added: “I’d definitely love the chance to have another run in a touring car at some point and I must say a massive thank you to Lawrence [Tomlinson – Ginetta Cars Chairman] and all the guys at Speedworks Motorsport for giving me such a fantastic opportunity.”

The MSA Academy racer’s attention now returns to his preparations for the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship season and after a strong initial test outing in his HHC Motorsport-run MSV F4-013 last week, the Investigo-sponsored driver is counting the days until the campaign gets underway.

Officially timed pre-season testing will take place at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk on Tuesday, 23rd April, with Silverstone’s Grand Prix Circuit hosting the curtain-raiser to the brand new series just a few days later, over the weekend 27th/28th April.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.