Season’s best finish for Jade Edwards on her return to One Motorsport
Jade Edwards has enjoyed a positive return to One Motorsport at Croft, missing out on her first points finish of the season by just half a second in race 3. After just one weekend back in the Honda Civic Type R, Edwards showed that a push towards the top-15 is a realistic possibility in the upcoming rounds.
Jade Edwards has enjoyed a positive return to One Motorsport with Starline Racing after an encouraging weekend in the British Touring Car Championship at Croft. Missing out on her first points finish of the season by just half a second, Jade made significant improvements across the weekend with a smart tyre strategy call in race three enabling her to make progress through the field from 23rd to 16th.
With two full British Touring Car Championship campaigns under her belt in both 2021 and 2022 for One Motorsport, Edwards switched to Team HARD Racing for 2023 driving a Cupra Leon as part of an expanded six-car team. Limited testing prior to the first round of the season at Donington Park led to the opening races being an opportunity to hone in on a setup while learning the characteristics of the new car. Mechanical issues meant that Jade failed to be classified in any of the three races, however encouragement was to come in the second round of the championship at Brands Hatch.
Two-trouble free practice sessions on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit set Jade up for an excellent qualifying session where she set the 19th fastest lap, despite her limited seat time. She backed up this speed with a first top-20 finish of the season, in a race featuring a fantastic battle with teammate Nicolas Hamilton as Edwards found a way past her fellow Cupra Leon driver on the final lap. A second top-20 of the day looked on the cards in race two as she crossed the line 20th, before an out-of-position start penalty dropped her two positions.
After two challenging weekends at Snetterton and Thruxton with mechanical issues limiting her progress, Oulton Park saw Jade enjoy her best meeting in the Cupra Leon. Qualifying just eight tenths of a second away from the top-5, Edwards and team made a tyre strategy call which paid dividends.
With the British Touring Car Championship using three compounds of tyre across the season and drivers required to use the unfavourable hard tyre for one race at Oulton Park, Jade chose to use this in race one, being just one of four drivers not to save it for the final race of the day which was forecast to be wet. However, dry conditions in race three gave Edwards a performance advantage and she took full use of this. Despite an early safety car period, in addition to an off-track moment on lap five, Jade drove through the field from 24th to finish in 16th, setting the fourth fastest lap of the race, missing out on the bonus point for fastest lap by just one a half tenths of a second, while claiming her first Jack Sears Trophy podium of the season for drivers who came into the season without an overall podium finish.
Following the summer break, Jade switched teams in a return to the newly rebranded One Motorsport with Starline Racing, the team whom she competed for in both 2021 and 2022, while reuniting with former teammate Josh Cook. Although it would also be a return to the Honda Civic Type R, the car would feature the Neil Brown Honda engine as opposed to the M-Sport TOCA engine and therefore the characteristics of the car would be different and adjustments to the setup would be required.
Arriving into Croft aiming to reacquaint herself with the Honda Civic Type R, Jade made a promising start to the weekend by finishing both practice sessions in 24th, before also qualifying in this position. With all three tyre compounds in play at Croft, this enabled Edwards to be smart with strategy once again, choosing to run the hard compound tyre in race one. Finishing in 24th, Jade’s fastest lap was among the fastest of those on the hard tyre and by setting a quicker time than fellow hard-tyre runner and teammate Aiden Moffat, this underlined her potential for the rest of the weekend.
Choosing the medium compound tyre for race two gave Jade confidence to move her way through the field and enjoyed a brilliant battle with former Team HARD Racing teammate Jack Butel for the majority of the race, holding off the Cupra Leon driver to cross the line inside the top-20. With Edwards receiving a ten second penalty for a false start, this dropped her to 23rd, however with the soft tyre for race three, points would be the target.
Lining up 23rd for race three, an early safety car was called as Jade made a fantastic start to gain five positions on the opening lap. After being shuffled back to 20th on the restart, Edwards was finding the limit of the car on a soft tyre which she had not run on the Honda Civic Type R in race conditions this season. Steadily moving her way forward during the season half of the race, Jade ran her quickest lap on lap 10 as she moved into 17th a lap later. Finishing 16th just half a second away from the points, this was a great end to the weekend for Edwards who displayed her racecraft and adaptability.
The conclusion of race three also meant that Jade was a classified finisher in all three races across the weekend for the first time this season. Adapting superbly to the Honda Civic Type R, Jade’s progress was extremely impressive and great credit must be given to both her and the One Motorsport by Starline Racing team.
“I was making decent progress in race two but I had gained a false-start penalty which I will hold my hands up to – I was creeping on the grid a little bit as the lights went off." - she explained. "There was some redemption in race three as I was able to go from 23rd up to 16th at the finish – which was oh-so-close to that magic points-paying position."
“I will take the positives from the weekend,” Jade added. “We have finished every race and the car has been improving. The One Motorsport with Starline team around me is working really well and it is great to be back with the squad. I feel we have made some progress and I am looking forward to taking that momentum forward with me.”
With the next round of the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill just over a week away, Jade will be aiming to score her first points of the season. After just one weekend back in the Honda Civic Type R, Edwards showed that a push towards the top-15 is a realistic possibility and with action-packed racing guaranteed north of the border, she will be aiming to move her way up the order while also challenging for podium places in the Jack Sears Trophy.