Speedworks has confirmed it will head overseas to start its pre-season testing programme ahead of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
While both Honda Yuasa Racing and Pirtek Racing have kickstarted their pre-season running in the UK – with both running at Thruxton this week having previously been on track at Rockingham and Brands Hatch respectively – the Toyota squad will instead head to Portugal for a two-day test at the Portimao circuit in the Algarve.
The test will give Dave Newsham – a double winner last year with ES Racing – the opportunity to spent plenty of time at the wheel his NGTC-spec Avensis, with team boss Christian Dick insisting that testing abroad would be more beneficial to both team and driver.
"We've decided to go to Portugal rather than test in the UK because we expect the conditions to be similar to what we will see during the season," he said. "Last year we did something like 14 test days before the season started, but a lot of the time the weather was against us, and even when it was dry, the track temperatures were so low that it was difficult to collect a lot of meaningful data.
"When things did improve weather wise towards the start of the season, a lot more people then went testing and the circuits were busier, so by going to Portimao, we'll be able to benefit from the weather and also from a quieter circuit to give Dave plenty of time behind the wheel."
The test comes on the back of a brief shakedown session at Blyton, where Newsham was tasked with also shaking down the car raced by Adam Morgan last year – which has been rebuilt over the winter following his sizable shunt in the 2012 season finale at Brands Hatch.