Having dominated the 2006 SEAT Cupra Championship, Mat Jackson
will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for the first time since 2001 after purchasing the BMW 320si that carried Andy Priaulx to last seasons WTCC title.
Jackson had his first run in the car at Oulton Park on Valentines Day, where Crash.net Radio
took the chance to grab him for a quick chat…Q:
Mat, you're completing the shakedown of the car here at Oulton. How's it been going?Mat Jackson:
It's going well. Obviously the car itself is a lovely piece of kit and today is really just to come here and make sure that everything is running fine and also get me used to the car. Its rear-wheel drive and I haven't driven a rear-wheel drive race car as such for three or four years now, I've done a lot of work with BMW in terms of passenger rides in the M3 but this is a totally different kettle of fish when you get out on the circuit. So it's a case of tuning back into that and just seeing how it goes.Q:
How easy or difficult do you find that switch back to rear-wheel drive after a couple of years with the SEAT?Mat Jackson:
It's just a slightly different change and takes a little while to adapt to it. Front-wheel drive is such a strange way of driving really and its unnatural when you lose the rear end and give it more power! To learn that and go from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive is more difficult than it is to switch back because rear-wheel drive is the natural thing.Q:
The car is the one that Andy Priaulx drove to the WTCC title last season. How did it end up in your hands for 2007?Mat Jackson:
Well we made the decision many months ago that we needed to move to British Touring Cars. I feel we have a good package in the team and it is where I want to be, I want to be back on the grid as we haven't been there for some five or six years now. 2001 was the last time I appeared and we want to get back out there as part of the top package.Q:
The car is obviously a very good one so you must be quite confident of hitting the ground running with it and having a good season.Mat Jackson:
Hopefully yeah. Obviously Andy and Bart [Mampaey – RBM team manager] have a great relationship and they have won three titles in three seasons. They are a good package and at the end of the day there is more to a team than just the car. I believe we have got a decent car and it is all down to how we can work with it. I'm confident in myself, confident that we have the best car in the world in the hands of Andy and Bart and I'm confident that we can have some good results in the BTCC.Q:
Team RAC are going to be running the same car as you this season and will be getting some support from BMW. Will you get anything similar from RBM as you start with your programme?Mat Jackson:
I think for the first three rounds that BMW have offered support to the BMW guys. They are a good company and know how it all operates. We have a good car and hopefully we can hit the ground running and have some good results.Q:
When you were last in the BTCC it was in the production class so this is your debut in a touring car proper. As someone who has been watching on for a few seasons you must have been dieing to get back out there…Mat Jackson:
Absolutely! It's obviously the pinnacle of British motorsport and is now run to the same regulations that they use around the world so I feel it is the way to go. I just can't wait!