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Q&A: Martin Depper, Forster Motorsport

Martin Depper talks about Forster Motorsport's move from MINI Challenge racing to the BTCC for 2010
Q:
Martin, you are a new team to the BTCC and it is a big step up from the MINI Challenge, so how did the deal come about?

Martin Depper:
It's one of those things really. It is the pinnacle of tin-tops in the country and we have proven ourselves to be successful in Mini racing and the chance has come up for us to have a go. And here we are.

Q:
Why the BMW? Was it a case of it being the best car available for the money?

Martin Depper:
The car we feel will be best for us really. With all the development BMW Motorsport do, there is a lot of help and assistance behind the scenes for a team like ourselves who still have an immense learning curve to achieve. At least we have some support along the way.

Q:
The first car arrived early and there has been some running in the car, albeit it with some problems along the way, but how have you and Arthur found the car so far?

Martin Depper:
A bit like we expected. The big change for us is to rear-wheel drive from the Mini so there are different characteristics for us to get used to but we always expected it to be a big step up and a large change for us. The early tested was there to help us get an early feel for the car and how it goes around the track and the grip levels you have. Now we can just go from there.

Q:
What's the biggest change as a driver with the BMW?

Martin Depper:
It's the car handling and throttle response mainly and how you go round the bends – it's different to front-wheel drive. With time in the car, it is nothing that can't be mastered and we are happy to report we are making progress. Our early sessions at Brands Hatch we were pleased with although our pace isn't anywhere near where we want it to be as we get used to the car. At the moment, it's a case of getting used to the car and its characteristics.

Q:
What's the plan for the remainder of pre-season?

Martin Depper:
We'll be out at the end of January and will be doing as much testing as we can. The idea is to get as much track time as is possible as we still have some handling work we need to sort out and then we need to get our heads down so we are where we want to be, which is competitive within the grid.

Q:
What do you think is a realistic aim?

Martin Depper:
To finish! The BTCC is a tough grid and is very competitive and it isn't for the faint-hearted. The first objective is to finish the race and we are being realistic with our objectives. We'll set different targets as we go on, but to start with we want to be on the grid, be competitive and finish the races. Then we'll build our pace from there and start to come through the grid.

Q:
Are you looking at a long-term relationship with the BMW or possibly build you own cars to the new rules in 2011?

Martin Depper:
We are looking for at least the next two seasons with the BMW. We'll look at the new rules and see what is coming out, but we plan to be in the BMW for 2010 and 2011.

Q:
Does the MINI Challenge programme continue?

Martin Depper:
We have a great relationship with them and it's a great series. Myself and Arthur will pop along and we might do a guest drive here and there, but only for some fun.

Q:
So you wouldn't look at running someone there as kind of a junior team with the chance to move up to the touring car?

Martin Depper:
Not at the moment, Arthur and myself are fully focused on our own driving in the BTCC and our own aspirations of what we are hoping to achieve as drivers.



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