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Q&A: Simon Blanckley - EXCLUSIVE

22 March 2007

In amongst the well document rumours for the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, Simon Blanckley was never mentioned before announcing plans to enter a new team in the series this season.

Blanckley, who raced a Supertouring Honda Accord in recent seasons, will run under the Sibsport banner, with the car being run by the Graham Hathaway Engineering squad that won the Independents' title some ten years ago.

Crash.net Radio caught up with Blanckley to find out more about his plans…

Q:
How much are you looking forward to the season ahead?

Simon Blanckley:
I'm very much looking forward to it. I think it's a bit daunting to be honest and is certainly a step-up from what I'm used to championship wise. I've raced Supertourers in the past which are a bit quicker in a straight line but these things take some driving so I'll have to learn how to drive it!

Q:
Like Jim Pocklington, you come into the series having driven the older BTCC machinery in recent seasons, so what made you decide that now was the time to come into the BTCC?

Simon Blanckley:
A lot of it was down to the availability of the cars, with Dynamics moving on and having three cars for sale. I think the actual cost of running these cars is comparable with the much smaller club level racing that we were doing with the Supertourer. With Graham Hathaway, we have the expertise to run the car so we thought we might as well jump in at the deep end and buy a modern machine.

Q:
How important will the involvement of a team with BTCC experience be for the season ahead?

Simon Blanckley:
I think it is very important, just with the organisation and how streamlined everything is – down to the time to park your truck up and the flags you have to have. I think there is a bit of wrist slapping if you don't do things at the right time! I think it is important, certainly for me, to have the right guys involved.

Q:
Now there have been plenty of rumours doing the rounds over the winter about who was doing what, but you managed to keep everything under wraps until it was officially announced. So how did the deal come about to get hold of the Integra?

Simon Blanckley:
Graham and I were at the Autosport Show and the car was for sale. We were sitting having a sandwich on his stand and Jim came up to me and said he was doing the BTCC and I shook his hand and said how fantastic it was for him. When he left, I said to Graham how great it would be to do it and then we went and looked at the car and ended up buying it.

Q:
So it was very much a spur of the moment decision then?

Simon Blanckley:
Very much so, absolutely.

Q:
You've put a lot of the finance for this programme in yourself, so much so that you've even sold your house. So you really want to make sure this goes to plan…

Simon Blanckley:
To be honest with you, I was selling the house anyway but rather than spending the money wisely on a new house I thought I'd live in the transporter for the season – or at least live somewhere smaller and spend the money on this! So yes it is important, but we aren't under the illusion that we will be winning races and right up there. We will do our best and enjoy it really.

Q:
So what would you be happy with?

Simon Blanckley:
I think, if we can get into the top half or top ten then it would be absolutely fantastic but it won't happen in the early races!


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