“To me, you are just ballast,” Andy Priaulx warns with a mischievous smile just before he climbs in the BMW 320si World Touring Car that has placed him well in contention for this year's title.
He is about to get reacclimatised to the Brands Hatch
Indy Circuit he has grown up racing on through the Renault Spider Cup, the British Formula 3 Championship and the British Touring Car Championship.
The only thing different about this blast around the Kent circuit is the fact that there will be a journalist sat alongside the double World Champion, the said journalist confidently smiling as the fearsome engine is sprung into life. Even a rather ungraceful attempt to thread his way into the passenger seat through a deceptively small opening has not dulled this journalist's enthusiasm.
Smiling turns to concern as Andy plants the throttle, the fact that his garage is near the end of the pit lane meaning there is no need for a speed limiter, the Guernseyman slithering his way around a concrete chicane on the way out, proceeding relentlessly towards Paddock Hill Bend.
The smile has returned, although the stomach feels as though it has been left somewhere in the pit lane as the car bottoms out around the first corner. Indeed, Andy is not holding back, pointing the car at the cones placed on the apexs, braking fearsomely late and skipping over kerbs that are more scathing than they look. Just two laps of the circuit over with and Andy brings the car down to a more docile speed in the pit lane before coming to a stop, getting ready to silence another confident journalist.
With the stomach back in its rightful place, calmer surroundings greet my next meeting with Andy, this time to answer a few questions about his return to home soil for the first time since being crowned a World Champion for the second time in a row.
“It is nice to be coming home,” he says leaning back into his chair. “I grew up racing in Britain so it feels like home and when you are home soil you have that piece of mind that you know the circuit well and you know what to do and what not to do.
“At the same time though there is the added pressure of the media attention and the attention from fans as well. Everyone seems to come to one race and it is your home race, so it is going to be a big one.”
Reflecting on the day's activities, Andy admits he enjoys indulging in some of the corporate activities that often come with his World Champion status. Not that he is any less professional.