April 12, 2024

John Newell: accelerating ambitions in the Goodyear FIA ETRC

As the 2023 season roared into action, a new contender emerged, ready to challenge the established order. Stepping onto the Goodyear FIA ETRC grid for the first time as a race-by-race entry in the final rounds of the 2022 season, newcomer John Newell, piloting his #18 MAN truck, swiftly made his presence known.

In his debut full season in the European series in 2023, Newell surprised everyone in Misano with an unexpected pole position: "It was a brilliant start, completely unexpected straightaway," Newell said, recalling his reverse-pole position and nerve-wracking moments on the track. “We didn’t expect our first race weekend to go that well. I had done two race weekends as a race-by-race entry the year before and I thought it was okay. But the gap was a little bit too much and everybody was saying it's going to take you two or three years to get into the flow. Then next thing I'm on pole and I'm thinking, what's happening here?”

Newell went on to take 11 podiums and finished a commendable third in the Promoter’s Cup category. One race stood out for the Brit, as a testament to his tenacity and skill, fending off his competitors with only one back tyre left to fight with. "I only had one tyre left on the back axle and I had four or five drivers behind me,” he recounted, describing the thrilling battle in the third race at Le Mans.

Ahead of his first full season last year, Newell spent countless hours to prepare himself on the simulator, getting up to speed with the unfamiliar tracks in Europe he hadn’t raced on before. "You can gain track knowledge, braking and turning points, which helped me big time," he explained, highlighting the importance of the sim in honing his skills.

In the close-knit ETRC paddock John also found friends and mentors like Sascha Lenz. "Sascha gives me a lot of driver coaching," he said, underlining the camaraderie and the unique #onetruckfamily spirit that fuels their success.

“We spend a lot of time on the simulator together and also at the races, through my head engineer Stefan Honens, who also does Sasha's data. We both sit in a room after and analyse our data together and see where we can learn from each other. Sascha gives me great input.”

Off the track, Newell's involvement in the European series has had a positive impact on his family business, RTN Clayton Vallely which specialises in the manufacture of specialist tankers for the environmental, food and chemical industries. Newell's team has forged new partnerships with companies across Europe, enhancing their business prospects and strengthening their presence in the industry.

“We leverage our involvement in the Goodyear FIA ETRC as a powerful marketing tool,” John explains. "We have a haulage company in Sheffield and we invite our customers and partners to the truck races. It all falls in line with everything we do. It's a great way to connect and show what we're all about.”

As the new season approaches, Newell and his team are hard at work, fine-tuning the truck and embracing regulatory changes. With eyes set on the upcoming season, Newell’s aim is clear: “We want to consistently make it into the top eight, into Super Pole and get some reverse grid poles. Our ultimate goal is to challenge for the top spot in our category.”

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