It won’t surprise you to learn that everyone at Autoglym is over the moon to have been involved with Team BMR and Subaru UK over the last two years, with 2017 being the most enjoyable and productive to date – for obvious reasons! Despite a challenging start to the year and near constant drama (including being forced to re-mount and re-locate their engine before the beginning of the season), the Team BMR Levorgs have risen to become the class of the field, able to take the fight to the likes of Team Dynamics (Honda), West Surrey Racing (BMW) and Motorbase Performance (Ford). The result were hard-fought championships for both Team BMR and Ash Sutton, cementing their respective positions at the top-table of the BTCC.
The dust might have now settled on the 2017 BTCC season but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t work to be done, far from it. To celebrate the team’s success and to demonstrate the effectiveness of our products on even the hardest working of cars, we popped down to the team’s HQ to give Ash Sutton’s Levorg – a car which hasn’t been touched in any way shape or form since its last outing at Brands Hatch at the start of October, a thorough detailing session.
We really can’t stress just how little attention Ash’s title winning car has had since it crossed the line at Brands at the start of the month. OK so it passed a post-race inspection by the BTCC’s scrutineering team and was given the green light, but other than that it’s in precisely the same condition right down to the scuffed bumper, fly-covered windscreen and infield caked wheels. Poof of just how little attention the Levorg has had over the last few months could be seen in the faces of the Team BMR engineers, all of whom were champing at the bit to get to grips with the car – but they couldn’t, not before we’d let one of our finest Technical Service Support (TSS) technicians loose on it, Ryan Bowden.
“I’ve certainly tackled dirtier cars so from that point of view it actually wasn’t too much of a challenge,” explains Ryan. “The trickier aspect was working out which Autoglym products to use on some of the more exotic materials used throughout the Levorg”
It’s worth noting that Ryan wasn’t tackling the Levorg alone, he could also count on the support of none other than multiple race winner and 2017 BTCC Champion, Ash Sutton. While it’s probably fair to say that Ash is far more adept behind the wheel than a machine polisher he more than made up for his lack of detailing experience with sheer, unbridled enthusiasm, so much so that at times it was tricky to get him away from the products!
“There was one further complication we had to contend with, the Levorg’s lack of wheels,” chuckles Ryan. “All four wheels and suspension uprights had been removed by the team post-race, meaning we had to conduct all cleaning without moving the car. This meant we effectively had to clean it without any access to water.”
The Autoglym is nothing if not versatile however, hence why Ryan was able to turn to a product that can largely be utilised without any water whatsoever, Rapid Detailer. We should of course make crystal clear that we at Autoglym are staunchly anti-waterless wash products as we feel they’re inefficient and ineffective, but the Levorg’s race-prep’d, battle-scarred nature (not forgetting its total lack of wheels) forced us to make an exception.
Not only does Rapid Detailer maker short work of dirt (even caked on dirt acquired by hammering down Paddock Hill bend) with surprisingly little elbow grease, it has been specially formulated to leave a layer of polymeric protection in its wake. Not only is it a versatile product, Rapid Detailer is safe to use on all manner of materials, which in the case of the BTCC Levorg meant paintwork, plastic and carbon fibre.
Rapid Detailer had the Levorg looking far better in an impressively short space of time, which in turn allowed Ryan to turn to phase two of the plan, Fast Glass. Safe to use on all types of glazing, Fast Glass removes dead insects, road (and race) grime, salt and anything else that’s likely to cake your car’s windows! It’s also safe to use on plastic composites allowing Ryan to get to work on the Levorg’s polycarbonate windows.
“There is an added bonus to Fast Glass, one which not everyone is aware of – it’s brilliant for cleaning matt vinyl, which is as well when you realise that the whole rear of the Team BMR Levorg is covered in a grey vinyl wrap.”
Fast Glass’s multi-talented properties meant that, with Ash Sutton’s continued help, it wasn’t long before the overall exterior of the car was looking far better, though this did serve to make the various imperfections and battle scars all the more obvious.
“There were an array of dings and cracked composite panels dotted around the car and some were simply too big or too deep for us to deal with,” says Ryan. “That being said, it is amazing just how effective Complete Scratch Remover can be when applied correctly, so that’s what we used for the rear bumper.”
Said bumper was sporting a series of deep looking scuffs and scratches, a legacy of Ash’s somewhat frenetic racing last time out at Brands, and it would therefore be an ideal test for one of our most popular products. A generous application was followed by yet more effort on Ryan’s part, with even pressure and careful up and down and side to side motion applied to work the product into the bumper.
“I think everyone was impressed by just how effective Complete Scratch Remover was, even me,” laughs Ryan. “It’s amazing how little effort it took to have the bumper looking good as new, and further proof of the innate ability of Autoglym products.”
The icing on the cake, certainly as far as the exterior was concerned, was an application of two of our signature offerings, Super Resin Polish and HD Wax. The former has been designed to leave an impressive all-over shine, while HD Wax was applied as a protective layer, sealing in all Ryan’s hard work and ensuring that the Levorg will look its best for many months to come, perhaps even its next test session at Donington Park in March. Well, if Team BMR don’t repaint it first, of course!
Ryan and the rest of the Autoglym team next turned their collective attention to the Levorg’s wheels, all 4 of which were stacked nearly in a corner of the workshop looking decidedly second hand after a full day of racing last time out at Brands Hatch. Many of you reading this will already be familiar with the Autoglym range and the numerous products designed to keep wheels looking spotless it contains, which is why Ryan first turned to Custom Wheel Cleaner.
“I was obviously keen to avoid damaging the centre-lock BTCC wheels in any way as they’re stunning bits of kit in their own right, which is why Custom Wheel Cleaner was such a handy tool. It’s totally safe to use on alloy and lacquered alloy and, as the pictures prove, it had no bother eating through the baked-on brake dust and track grime coating all four wheels.”
The wheels were then treated to applications of Ultra High Definition Shampoo and High-Performance Tyre Gel. Ok, OK, we’re not going to pretend that the latter has any place on a race car about to take to the track and probably isn’t a product you can expect to see littering Team BMR’s pit garage in 2018, but there’s no denying that it made the tyres look sensational.
The final piece of the puzzle was also one of the most time consuming, the interior. While nowhere near as obviously dirty as the exterior, the inside of Ash’s Levorg had seen some serious use over the course of the last 12 months of high-octane racing, which is why all agreed that it would be best for Ryan to treat it to another impressively open-ended Autoglym offering, Interior Shampoo.
So there you it, the most winningest BTCC car of 2017 looking almost as clean as it did at the start of the season. More importantly from our point of view and that of Team BMR, it would take a brave individual to bet against them adding a few further victories next year. Ash Sutton and Jason Plato fighting tooth and nail for the biggest prize in British motorsport? Sounds like a compelling prospect to us.