Infiniti's Martin Donnelly says not to judge his race performances just yet following the former Grand Prix driver's debut BTCC foray at Thruxton.

The former Lotus F1 driver was announced as Richard Hawken's shock replacement prior to the Thruxton meeting and scored a duo of top-20 results aboard the Infiniti Q50 machine before recurring power steering issues curtailed his race three running.

Although the Q50 remains someway off the front running pace, Donnelly was left encouraged by how the RWD Infiniti challenger handled through the low speed corners but says the gulf in class in comparison to the front runners through the high speed areas was an eye-opener.

Related Articles

"We haven't got the speed yet to be at the front but when I follow the quick guys around the complex and the final chicane, we're as good as any of those guys," said Donnelly.

"We just got nailed every time around Goodwood and Church. We're probably losing the best part of a second and a half plus there, easy. If we can tap into that we'll be there.

"The teams like Triple Eight and West Surrey Racing have had the cars for a number of seasons now so they've got over the power steering issues and things like that, they know how it works.

"What we need more than anything is seat time. A good two day test program somewhere in the UK, whether at Brands Hatch or somewhere else. I feel confident in saying that if we get those two days out of the way, we could be easily qualifying between P15 and P8, easy.

"If we can find that second, we're sniffing around the points. It's just about getting to that point."

Indeed, it's because of the Q50's untapped potential, Donnelly says his current pace and results won't paint a clear picture of his true performance until the later rounds of championship.

"So don't judge me now but judge me in four race meetings time when things in this team will totally be changed. Then come back to me at Snetterton and ask me 'well Martin since Thruxton what do you think?'"