Huddersfield’s rising star Daniel Lloyd hitting top gear

Croft winner: Daniel Lloyd. Picture: Jakob Ebrey.
Croft winner: Daniel Lloyd. Picture: Jakob Ebrey.
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Huddersfield’s Daniel Lloyd believes his maiden British Touring Car Championship victory at Croft Circuit last month could be a springboard to realising his dream of securing a full-time drive in Britain’s premier motor sport series.

Despite joining his new team, BTC Norlin Racing, at short notice and having completed no testing in the car, 26-year-old Lloyd qualified 11th at the Yorkshire circuit and picked up two top-10 finishes in the opening two races, before claiming a dominant lights-to-flag victory in the final race.

Daniel Lloyd on his way to victory in the third BTCC race at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire, last month. Picture: Jon Hobley/Network Images.

Daniel Lloyd on his way to victory in the third BTCC race at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire, last month. Picture: Jon Hobley/Network Images.

The performance was all the more admirable given the fact that Lloyd’s Honda Civic Type R car was badly damaged during the final race of the previous meeting at Oulton Park and he almost did not make the grid at Croft.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s latest round of the BTCC at Snetterton, Lloyd told The Yorkshire Post: “It was amazing to get that victory. It was one of the best wins I’ve ever had in my career. It was the way I did it really. It was a bit of statement to show everyone I could do it. The fact that it took place in Yorkshire just added to it, really.

“I really want to be in the BTCC and have a proper shot at a full season. That’s my ultimate goal.”

Lloyd’s love affair with the British Touring Car Championship began at the age of 16 when he started competing in the Ginetta Juniors series, quickly followed by drives in the Renault Clio Cup and the Porsche Carrera Cup alongside the main BTCC meetings, allowing him to brush shoulders with all the top drivers.

I really want to be in the BTCC and have a proper shot at a full season. That’s my ultimate goal.

Daniel Lloyd

“I started motor racing at the age of 11, racing go-karts in Batley,” said Lloyd. “I had a feel for it quite quickly. Even in indoor karting, I set lap records quite early on. Then I won a scholarship to go into junior Ginettas.

“So, ever since I was 16, I’ve always had the bug for BTCC because my races were always on the same package, competing on the same days.”

It was not long before Lloyd got his first taste of driving a touring car when he was invited to a test drive in 2010 and immediately ended up racing in a round of the championship.

“An opportunity came up to do a test with the BTCC Triple Eight team,” added Lloyd. “It was the official mid-season test at Rockingham and I jumped in the car and in the afternoon I was fourth quickest out of everyone, which was amazing.

Daniel Lloyd celebrates his victory in the third BTCC race at Croft Circuit last month. Picture: Dan Buckel.

Daniel Lloyd celebrates his victory in the third BTCC race at Croft Circuit last month. Picture: Dan Buckel.

“The team were impressed and I managed to get the money together to do one round of the championship. It was at Croft and it was a good weekend because I got in the points in the first two races – including seventh in the first race, which was mega.”

With the costs of going motor racing spiralling, Lloyd struggled to get back into the championship after that and despite brief flirtations with the series in 2016 and last year, he focused his attentions on the new TCR UK Championship this season.

That championship has already seen Lloyd rack up seven wins from eight races, so when BTC Norlin Racing came calling, the Huddersfield driver was only too happy to oblige and get back into the series he loves so much.

Fortune certainly did not shine on Lloyd in his return to the series at Oulton Park last month as he got caught up in a start-line incident which caused heavy damage to his car but when he was drawn on pole position for the final race at Croft he was determined not to waste his change of luck.

“The guys were working on the car for two weeks to repair it after Oulton,” added Lloyd. “They think about £70-80,000 of damage was done to the car. They were still repairing it until 2am on the Saturday morning at Croft.

“As soon as I got pole position for the third race, I was just really confident. I pushed hard at the start and Tom Chilton kept up with me for five or six laps and then I started to pull a gap. I won by 5.8 seconds and set the fastest lap. It was just a mega race.”

The next challenge for Lloyd is tomorrow’s meeting at Snetterton where the BTCC will be celebrating its diamond jubilee by holding a one-off ‘double distance, double points’ race.

“It’ll be tough this weekend,” explained Lloyd. “There’s a lot at stake with the double points on offer and the two qualifying sessions on Saturday could make things interesting. Unfortunately, we missed the official tyre test at Snetterton so we will be on the back foot, but we’re all up for it, though, and the extra points give us even more to aim for.”

After a stop-start BTCC career thus far, Lloyd is hoping his victory at Croft and his current run of form will help him to secure a long-term future in the series.

He added: “I just want a period of stability and consistency in the BTCC and, hopefully, this win will give me the chance to have a proper stab at it next year. I just need to perform as well as I can and work as hard as I can so if I do get an opportunity next year then I can go to sponsors and backers around Yorkshire and see if they can help me realise that dream.”

Also in action in the BTCC this weekend at Snetterton will be Lloyd’s fellow Yorkshire drivers Sam Tordoff, Dan Cammish and Senna Proctor.

Tomorrow’s opening two races are scheduled for 11.30am and 1.50pm, with the extended double distance, double point contest from 5.15pm. The races will be shown live ITV4 from 10.30am.