Youngsters are often told that it’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part and that was the approach taken by Nick Halstead as he embarked on his rookie season in the British Touring Car Championship.
Joining the BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 team as the oldest driver on the grid, having turned 51 shortly before the opening rounds, Halstead was starting out on the biggest season of racing in his career having previously been part of the support package in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup.
Whilst a race win in British GT had shown his pace, the move into touring cars would provide a whole new challenge as Halstead took his place against the rest of the field at Donington Park.
The opening meeting would exceed all expectations as he made the most of an inspired tyre choice to secure a hugely unexpected seventh place finish in the second race of the weekend, putting points on the board first time out.
P20 in the final race would be the best result from round two at Brands Hatch before a tricky weekend at Snetterton, where mechanical gremlins hampered his Saturday running.
A solid 22nd place in the final race was an encouraging way to round out the weekend, with the following two meetings at Thruxton and Oulton Park ending with Halstead scoring his third top 20 result of the campaign.
After another top 20 finish at Croft, Halstead broke back into the points in the rain-afffected opening race of the weekend at Knockhill before the return to Donington saw him score a pair of top 20 finishes on a single weekend for the first time.
Another top 20 finish at Donington Park, secured thanks to strong race pace in the final race of the weekend, would prove to be an indication of progress made, with Halstead then rounding out his season at Brands Hatch with another two top 20 finishes.
Points: -5 (Engine penalties)
Qualifying Average: 26.10
Laps Led: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Places Gained: 76