David Bartrum's Blog
Post Donington, 18 May 2009
I believe the idea of a blog is to keep everyone up to date and I did one last October when a few people had a test in one of the BMWs at Brands Hatch. We tested Jonathan Adam, James Nash and Michael Caine, and Gary and Andy Britnell went out as a thank you for their help over the year.
I said then that I'd keep everyone informed…Well, I suppose it's a bit late now. But guess what? You may have noticed that we signed Jonny Adam.
The reason I haven't sat down and put it all into words is that I can't really describe the first part of 2009. You've got to do it all, live through it and then try to put in into words. I'll now make a conscious effort to do more regular blogs and keep everyone more up to date and informed. Thanks to everyone that follows us, the people who have sent e-mails and texts and have come up to me at race meetings and wished us well.
We came into the New Year with the world in a pretty negative state and wondering where it was all going to come from. Then, suddenly, we got the chance to go in and sit down with Airwaves and put something together. That happened very rapidly in February and we had just five weeks to get the whole thing finished off.
At one point it even looked like we were going to run just a one-car team, as it was all down to funding. But suddenly we had Airwaves, Leyland Paint, SAS International, TAG Worldwide and a host of other supporters, and so it was all possible.
Getting back into the Carrera Cup was another big thing for us and we were trying to get Michael Caine into the team. We already had Ollie Jackson confirmed and George Richardson, although sadly George has had to put things on hold for the moment. So we signed Michael and the year came alive.
But you just can't believe how much you've got to do. We had to plan the test programme, get the cars ready, engines, gearboxes, design and sign write the trucks, get the team kit, go testing and then get rebuilt ready for the first race weekend. It's all a whirlwind.
With us putting two teams out, I had to have a good look at the staff. I've got a great bunch of people and I managed to set up two teams that I'm very proud of, adding a few people and bringing in Richard Townsend from Team Dynamics. I had a bit of luck with Ollie Collins, because I was sitting there thinking about how I was going to do it all and saw on btcc.net that Ollie was going back to Essex to work in his father's garage after years at Dynamics.
I thought 'there is a God' and rang Ollie to find out that his dad's garage was 30-minutes from Kent and a little deal was done, meaning that Ollie is part time with his father and part time with Motorbase. That gave me the help I needed. He's officially touring car team manager and I'm Carrera Cup team manager. But then I'm team principal of the Motorbase empire and so far it's been unbelievable.
We've got the best team we've ever had and I'm very proud of the guys I've got. Nothing would be possible without the guys in both teams, the touring car and Porsche squads. There are a lot of determined people in both camps who want to win. We're not going out to make the numbers up; we've worked long and hard to get to this point and we want to be out there, winning.
To go to Brands for the first round and get that first BTCC win out of the way was great, because that was the monkey off the back. And I still class Jonny as winning the third race, so I was proud of those two wins.
Thruxton was a tough weekend and one that we wanted to get out of the way early. 'Cainey' won the Porsche and Ollie Jackson got a podium. He'd only done one Caterham race round there before the weekend, so it was a big learning curve for Ollie. 'Cainey' did us proud with a first and a second, so it wasn't a bad weekend.
In touring cars, Jonny had a tough weekend, but he can build from there. Rob had two fifths and a bit of a bad first race, but he drove fantastically at Thruxton and he was the hero of the event for me. He diced with the main men and did us proud, because Thruxton is not a BMW circuit. We'd only been there once with the BMW and that was very early on last season. Both drivers worked very hard that day and the luck went with Rob.
We had a very good race day at Donington. We had a win in touring cars and a win in Carrera Cup on the same day, and we've never done that before. Two championships and two wins is superb. The weather made it hard work all day and the second Carrera Cup race didn't go right for us. That might have been an inspired tyre choice, but it didn't work out.
I believe the last BMW to win at Donington was a Schnitzer car in 1993 and so we're the first BMW to win at Donington for 16 years. I'm very happy about that. Jonny did a good job at Donington, but he just didn't have the luck go his way. Obviously we were over the moon with Rob's win in the third race.
If you'd said to me in February when nothing was settled, that I'd be sitting at Donington in May with third place in the paddock; Vauxhall, RAC and Motorbase, and chasing the lead in Carrera Cup, I'd have taken that deal!
I think 2009 is going to be a really strong building block for 2010 and I hope that the Airwaves deal will grow with us and that we can keep the momentum going. Motorbase is on the up!