Mike Epps enjoyed a second visit of the season to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium after securing a hard-fought Jack Sears Trophy success during the penultimate meeting of the year at Silverstone this weekend (17/18 September).
Bouncing back superbly from a nightmare Saturday at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’, Epps fought his way into a richly deserved seventh points finish of his maiden BTCC campaign in the second encounter alongside two other top twenty finishes.
The 24 year old got his weekend off to a positive start with some competitive lap times in mixed conditions in FP1, however FP2 wouldn’t go to plan with a combination of balance issues and an alternator problem leaving him unable to post a representative lap time.
It would go from bad to worse in qualifying however, with Epps only managing to lap the Silverstone circuit twice before an unfortunate driveshaft failure on his Team HARD Toyota Avensis ended his session abruptly and left him at the back of the grid for race one.
The Hemel Hempstead-based racer enjoyed a hugely positive start to the opener though as he scythed his way up nine positions in just two laps to settle in 19th, however his progress was halted when he received a drive through penalty for being out of position at the start.
Put to the back of the grid once again, Epps showed more promising pace as he picked his way through the order to 20th position at the chequered flag, which then became 18th post-race when the top two finishers were excluded from the results.
Epps would go on to make more forwards progress in the second race of the day in front of a bumper trackside crowd and the live ITV4 cameras. Cleanly picking his way through the field, he emerged with a superb twelfth place finish to end his barren spell of points finishes.
The final encounter would be a difficult one for Epps though, with a slipping clutch on the start-line immediately losing him ground, before he battled with the soft compound tyres on his way to sixteenth at the finish.
The three race finishes for the weekend mean that the RCIB Insurance, AutoAid Breakdown Cover and Anytime Fitness-backed racer remains in contention for the overall Jack Sears Trophy honours heading into the Brands Hatch GP season finale next month (1/2 October).
Mike Epps: “About 6pm on Saturday evening, I was ordering myself a large pizza and generally feeling a bit sorry for myself. We’d had an okay FP1, but FP2 the car was all over the place and then qualifying was a disaster with the driveshaft snapping.
“So to come back from that and turn things around the way we did, I’m delighted. I feel like maybe I relaxed a little more heading into the races and found I was able to race with people rather than against people.
“There were the same old squabbles that proved it is only certain people out there that give you problems, but when I was battling around the points positions I was able to enjoy some good racing and go nose-to-tail cleanly with the established names.
“We’ve shown again that the car has real promise and hopefully we can bring the season to a close with another trophy or two at Brands Hatch in a fortnight’s time.”