The BTCC's recent trip to Knockhill was doubly-special for Power Maxed Racing as they celebrated their 250th race in the competition with a long-awaited overall podium finish. Despite starting 15th on the grid in race one, Andrew Watson took advantage of the early call to change to wet tyres ahead of most of the pack to initially cross the line fourth.
However, after Bristol Street Motors with Exceler8 Motorsport duo Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton were both disqualified from the result for failing to meet the post-race ride height requirement, Watson saw himself promoted to take the runner-up spot as well as claiming victory in the Independent Driver's competition, whilst team-mate Árón Taylor-Smith took the Independent's honours in race two after his fourth-place finish.
Andrew Watson (#11) said: “This weekend at Knockhill has been a complete rollercoaster, but obviously the main news is my first podium in the BTCC. It was incredible to get that with a second-place finish, what a day!
“I just want to say a huge thank you to the team at CarStore Power Maxed Racing, especially my car crew for that massive result earlier. We’ve scored a lot of points, and in general, it was a great day in very tough conditions.”
It was a particularly poignant result for the Bidford-on-Avon outfit, who are also celebrating their 10th year in the competition.
The team debuted in 2014 with driver Chris Stockton running in a Chevrolet Cruze before expanding to a two-driver set-up the following year with BTCC fan-favourite Dave Newsham and a debuting rookie by the name of Josh Cook.
Since then, the team have boasted some very attractive and exciting driver pairings including Hunter Abbot and Kelvin Fletcher (2016), followed by another tin-top journeyman-and-rookie tandem with Tom Chilton Senna Proctor (2017). It was Proctor that earned PMR their first major silverware that year by winning the Jack Sears Trophy in his debut season.
In 2018, Josh Cook returned to the fold to partner with Proctor in a season which saw Proctor earn his first BTCC victory and Cook two victories of his own and four further podiums en route to finishing sixth in the overall Driver's championship. Power Maxed also finished an impressive third in the Team's championship, equal on points with second-placed Honda Yuasa Racing.
It was in 2019, however, that Power Maxed returned with perhaps their most star-studded pairing with BTCC legends Rob Collard and two-time former champion and race-win record-holder Jason Plato, who would take the Vauxhall Astra over the line to win the final race of the season.
Plato would return for the team the following year - only the second driver to do so for PMR - where he would partner Dan Lloyd for the 2020 campaign.
It is Power Maxed Racing's penchant for giving rookie drivers their start in the premier tin-top competition which tends to set them apart from the others who boast more established driver bases, and this is no more evident than this year. Increasing to an all-new three-driver line-up, eight-season veteran Árón Taylor-Smith made the switch after two seasons with Team HARD. Racing, alongside BTCC debutants Mikey Doble and Andrew Watson.
With the rookie pair already boasting a wealth of experience between them in competitions such as the Ginetta GT5 Challenge (Doble) as well as the World Endurance Championship and British GT series (both for Watson), the new line-up wasted no time in making their mark in the BTCC when the season finally got underway earlier this year, each of them earning a top-ten finish across the three races at Donington Park.
Since then the trio have bagged a further eleven top-ten's between them, including Watson's Knockhill podium, with Taylor-Smith already enjoying a better points tally than his previous two seasons collectively since returning to the competition in 2021, with the team having already surpassed last year's total points haul by the time the mid-season break arrived.
If the current standings are any indication, PMR could also be on course to reclaim the Jack Sears Trophy this year, with Mikey Doble maintaining his lead in the standings, with only a single point separating him from team-mate Watson.
With Árón Taylor-Smith registering the second-fastest time at the recent Goodyear tyre test event at Donington Park last month, sights will surely be on another strong showing there as the next leg of the competition returns to the famed Grand Prix circuit loop for the first time in 21 years this weekend.
BTCC Journalist @ F1 Journal