Its quite possible that the only reason you might have already heard of Fast Exocet fuel additives will be because of their sponsorship of Rob Austin and Hunter Abbot’s Dunlop British Touring Car team that’s become a regular fixture on ITV4. As company chairman Dr Bob Hall will freely tell you, sponsoring a team at the pinnacle of British production car racing is not cheap but in their three year experience, the cost has been worth it in elevating the company to become the market leader in fuel additives to particular markets. The boost in custom the partnership has brought them has elevated the company to now be the primary producer and supplier of additives in the domestic heating and range cooking markets.
You might think it strange, therefore, that the company are leaving the BTCC arena after three years but the move into new product areas means that sponsorship money has had to be redirected – at least for the time being.
Last Sunday, Exocet invited a select band of journalists to Silverstone to experience a BTCC car with Rob at the wheel. I’ve raced the International circuit myself and I can honestly say that these cars move – and brake – at a pace far higher that I was expecting. Its no wonder the sport is such a big draw both on TV and at the circuits.
Rob Austin, referred to by some as the James Hunt of the BTCC paddock, is probably the sport’s most hands-on driver, acting as team principle as well as being the team’s race transporter driver! His 70s throwback style was no doubt one of the reasons why Rob landed a role in Ron Howard’s succesful F1 movie ‘Rush’ that tells the story of Hunt and Niki Lauda’s famous rivalry of that era.
Hunter Abbot moved from British GT and Ginetta G50 racing into BTCC in 2014 and shot instantly to fame through extensive coverage of his major crash at Oulton Park. Fortunately this incident was a blip and since 2008, Hunter has established himself as a front-line GT and sportscar competitor at both national and international levels. Keeping himself fit through skiing and mountain climbing, he is also MD of the UK’s leading breathalyser company AlcoSense – the other lead partner of the team.
Word and photos: Chris Valentine