If finally managing to graft his way onto the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship grid was the realisation of a dream for Jonny Adam, then the Scot now has his sights firmly set on ticking the next box on his 'to-do' list – becoming a regular race-winner.
Adam is arguably a race-winner already in the hotly-contested leading tin-top series, having stood atop the podium in the opening meeting at Brands Hatch early last month, but in what he described as a 'Felipe Massa Moment', he was subsequently deprived of victory after being adjudged to have been the guilty party in the coming-together that pitched Jason Plato into a half-spin and prompted one of the greatest saves in modern touring car history.
Though the second outing at Thruxton three weeks later was a rather more low-key affair – out-qualifying team-mate Rob Collard but going on to take a best finish of just eleventh position in race two in what he described as 'a bit of a struggle', as the driver of the sister car notched up a brace of fifth places – it has nonetheless been a quietly impressive start for the reigning double SEAT Cupra Cup UK Champion and the man who will go down in the history books as the last-ever winner of the one-make series.
“It's been 'welcome to touring cars' really!” he joked, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio
. “Obviously the first weekend was up-and-down; we didn't do well in race one, and when you don't do well in race one you're always on the back foot really for the rest of the meeting. It came good in the end, though – we came through from the back of the grid to finish ninth and luckily get the grid reverse, and we did win race three on the road.
“It was a weird feeling really, because obviously I was up there [on the podium] with two of the biggest names in touring cars in Matt Neal and Jason Plato. For me to stand there with just three races under my belt in touring cars was a dream come true. It's always been a dream to get here in touring cars, and to actually at that point capture a victory was absolutely awesome.
“Unfortunately we then got a four-second penalty, so it was victory in one hand and then we got it taken away in another, but again it's just one of those things and it was still a good debut. There was contact between myself and Jason – it was purely unintentional; I didn't think about what would happen really – but we've moved on from that now and we just have to try and concentrate on the rest of the year.”
It has indeed been an encouraging start to his BTCC career, with sixth place on the grid for the Brands curtain-raiser replicating the feat of Cupra Cup UK predecessor Mat Jackson two years previously – and Adam is full of praise for the role both Motorbase and Collard have played in that, as he continues to learn whilst simultaneously taking the fight to some of the finest touring car drivers the world has to offer. There has also been the small matter of switching from a front-wheel drive SEAT to a rear-wheel drive BMW 320si, a different beast altogether...
“That has taken a while to get used to really,” the 24-year-old confessed, “and I am learning the car a little bit more every weekend. Pre-season testing was quite limited really – we only got two or three days in the car – and it does take a while to get used to rear-wheel drive from front-wheel drive, especially with five years of front-wheel drive behind me in the SEATs and Clios.
“Rob has been helping me a lot, and it's good to have somebody like him as a team-mate, because he's getting results and it's good to have his experience in the background. He had last year with the car and so did the team, so they can relate back to certain issues or problems they had then.